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Van Halen Off Key
October 22, 2007 9:57 AM   Subscribe

The worst sounding thing ever? Van Halen, on a show of their reunion tour in North Carolina, attempting to match up their pre-recorded background synths for "Jump" with their live instruments & vocals. The pre-recorded material is accidentally being played back at a higher pitch, approximately 1.5 semitones sharp of the key from the guitar/vocals.
posted by jonson (148 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm pretty sure that's what happened to that lady playing the trumpet to the Star Wars theme.
posted by poppo at 10:02 AM on October 22, 2007


Ouch!

To pick a nit straight away, the part about the difference being "non-musical" is perhaps not the right wording, it's just in between two given semitones in our good old standard Western concert tuning.

Also, shades of this (link to own post).
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:04 AM on October 22, 2007


I have never seen such careful analysis (2nd link) of an out-of-tune song. And what a terrible song it is...

The keyboard's master tune knob probably got tweaked.
posted by chuckdarwin at 10:06 AM on October 22, 2007


I found it strange, too, how Eddie just keeps on playing the song. The show must go on and all that, but somewhere along the line you'd cave in and sacrifice continuity to just *try* to get at least a few strings in tune in order to get a sort of tune going, no?

Surely the backing track not being in concert tuning will have complicated such an operation, but blissfully continuing to jam out wolf chords like that seems less preferable in such a situation.

Perhaps the backing track was low in his monitors, or not at all? The vocals seem reasonably confidently in tune with the backing track, too.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:09 AM on October 22, 2007


It's not the master tune knob. That would be easy to fix. Instead, they apparently played the sampled part through the synth at a sample rate of 48k instead of the redbook standard 44.1k sample rate used to record it. I imagine changing the sample rate would require the transport to be disengaged, possibly even a relaunch of the software, so they would sort of had to of stopped the song, figured out that was the problem, and reloaded very quickly.

That's a nightmare, I feel for them. And whoever the synth tech was is getting fired for not normalling the board properly before the show.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:11 AM on October 22, 2007


Surely the backing track not being in concert tuning will have complicated such an operation, but blissfully continuing to jam out wolf chords like that seems less preferable in such a situation.

He may be slightly deaf.
posted by chuckdarwin at 10:13 AM on October 22, 2007


goodnews, the problem wasn't one that could be fixed by tuning. The sample rate differences meant the spaces between notes played back from 'tape' wasn't the same as the spaces between notes played live. Now if eddie had been playing fretless, then he could have adjusted, theoretically. No tuning knob tweaking was ever going to save this one though.
posted by nomisxid at 10:14 AM on October 22, 2007


That would be easy to fix.

On the fly? I can't imagine that Diamond Dave could handle such a weird modulation in real time!

*tries to imagine it*

*head asplodes*
posted by chuckdarwin at 10:15 AM on October 22, 2007


A similar problem happened to DEVO back in 1982. Their 1982 tour for "Oh, No! It's DEVO" featured a video backdrop with synchronized images. Unfortunately, during the first show, the televised "3-DEVO" concert, someone knocked the video and backing audio out of sync... oddly, not during the song "Out of Sync." The band tries, gamely, to play along to "Speed Racer", but "Big Mess" becomes just that.

Enjoy.
posted by SansPoint at 10:18 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


If it couldn't be handled by whooping, prancing, and/or posing, then yeah. He probably couldn't handle it.
posted by Wolfdog at 10:18 AM on October 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


Pause. Walk over to pedal board, hit bypass on tuner pedal, crank E, A, and e up 1.5 semitones, unbypass, and soldier bravely the fuck on using three strings.
posted by The White Hat at 10:19 AM on October 22, 2007


Being the proud owner of a M-Audio Audiophile USB, I can say with certainty that this is a sample rate issue. In one of the poorest engineering decisions in recording hardware history, this thing was designed without any ability of the user to select the sample rate, and when it randomly decides to switch from 44.1khz to 48 khz it sounds exactly like the Van Halen debacle.
posted by bunnytricks at 10:20 AM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


chuck: I mean to say, if the out of tune sample was the result of the master tuning knob being tweaked, when Eddie started playing it would be pretty obvious and he could theoretically just turn the knob down. I imagine he probably has a good idea of where home base is on the modulation knob on the synth and could probably find it pretty quickly.

As nomisxid said, however, even the timing was slightly sped up, which coupled with the weird C#/D key modulation means it was most likely a sample rate issue and much more difficult to fix than a master tune knob on a synth.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:20 AM on October 22, 2007


nomisxid: "goodnews, the problem wasn't one that could be fixed by tuning. The sample rate differences meant the spaces between notes played back from 'tape' wasn't the same as the spaces between notes played live. Now if eddie had been playing fretless, then he could have adjusted, theoretically. No tuning knob tweaking was ever going to save this one though."

Well, upon reflection I doubt he would have ever figured out what exactly was going on during the song, at least with regard to the nonstandard tuning. But for the sake of argument, assuming he was in fact aware, he could have retuned at least to a degree of success - common guitars may have discrete intonation by the grace of being fretted instruments, but over a given range of tension for a given string, it can be tuned to different pitches continuously.

This may be an academic argument, but right now I don't see any reason to concede that it was somehow physically impossible.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:20 AM on October 22, 2007


And what a terrible song it is...

Blasphemer. (It's far from Van Halen's best, but it's not bad at all for what it is).

Truth be told, I'm kind of surprised that Dave didn't try to make a joke out of it. This is a man who, when hit by a lighter thrown from the audience, said 'that's OK, I know who did it, and I'm gonna fuck your girlfriend after the show. Surely, he could've come up with something here.
posted by jonmc at 10:20 AM on October 22, 2007


lazaruslong writes "I imagine changing the sample rate would require the transport to be disengaged, possibly even a relaunch of the software, so they would sort of had to of stopped the song, figured out that was the problem, and reloaded very quickly."

In the now disappeared video clip at the second link, there was a piece of sampling equipment with a bunch of rate push-buttons on it: 48k, 44.1k, a couple of others. It looked like the sampling rate could have been switched on the fly just by hitting the right button...
posted by mr_roboto at 10:22 AM on October 22, 2007


Pause. Walk over to pedal board, hit bypass on tuner pedal, crank E, A, and e up 1.5 semitones, unbypass, and soldier bravely the fuck on using three strings.

He uses a floyd rose with a locking nut... you'd have to unlock it with an allen wrench...
posted by chuckdarwin at 10:22 AM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Watching Van Halen fail to cockrock with that first guitar stroke made me bark with laughter. And man, DEVO on an off day is still better than anything Van Halen has ever done.
posted by Nelson at 10:23 AM on October 22, 2007


bunnytricks: None of the hardware interfaces I own have a selectable sample rate on the physical component. It's always a selectable option in the DAW. Are there USB interfaces with sample rate / bit depth options on the hardware itself?
posted by lazaruslong at 10:23 AM on October 22, 2007


Van Halen sucks, news at eleven.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:23 AM on October 22, 2007


Instead, they apparently played the sampled part through the synth at a sample rate of 48k instead of the redbook standard 44.1k sample rate used to record it.

I know I've got my technical hat on, but there's no real reason to assume this sort of material for some reason has to comply with Red Book. Unless it was played back from an audio CD, which I doubt if only because then the sample rate gaffe would have been very unlikely.

It could have been a hard disk system of sorts, or perhaps DAT, which does operate on 48 kHz as a common, but not its only, standard.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:23 AM on October 22, 2007


The White Hat: "Pause. Walk over to pedal board, hit bypass on tuner pedal, crank E, A, and e up 1.5 semitones, unbypass, and soldier bravely the fuck on using three strings."

Assuming I was aware of the nature of the situation, this is probably what I would have done to salvage and/or survive the song. (Probably E, A and D, but still.)

Again, it may have been very difficult to appraise the problem here, however.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:25 AM on October 22, 2007


The White Hat writes "Pause. Walk over to pedal board, hit bypass on tuner pedal, crank E, A, and e up 1.5 semitones, unbypass, and soldier bravely the fuck on using three strings."

At a different sampling rate, the distance between each note is going to be different. The synth box is no longer playing Western scales, but scales with a different spacing. You could fix the root note at each string so that it matches the notes coming out of the box, but the fret spacing is going to be wrong.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:26 AM on October 22, 2007


Blasphemer. (It's far from Van Halen's best, but it's not bad at all for what it is).

I was a huge fan back in the day (I learnt all his licks)... but I always hated Jump. I felt like that was the point where they sold out. The C Major figure itself is quite cheesy (and pat, for someone who can play piano as well as Ed).

Surely, he could've come up with something here.

*shrug* Maybe he feared the wrath of the brethren.
posted by chuckdarwin at 10:27 AM on October 22, 2007


chuckdarwin: "Pause. Walk over to pedal board, hit bypass on tuner pedal, crank E, A, and e up 1.5 semitones, unbypass, and soldier bravely the fuck on using three strings.

He uses a floyd rose with a locking nut... you'd have to unlock it with an allen wrench...
"

D'oh. Yeah that negates my solution completely.

(You can't tune it on the fly! It's a feature!)

[NOT FLOYDROSEIST]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:27 AM on October 22, 2007


And man, DEVO on an off day is still better than anything Van Halen has ever done.

Devo's OK, but please, don't make me have to commit you to the Home For People With No Taste.
posted by jonmc at 10:27 AM on October 22, 2007


mr_roboto writes "In the now disappeared video clip at the second link, there was a piece of sampling equipment with a bunch of rate push-buttons on it: 48k, 44.1k, a couple of others. It looked like the sampling rate could have been switched on the fly just by hitting the right button..."

You would think so. I didn't get a chance to see the clip in the link, but from the opening thumbnail it looks like Pro Tools. There are buttons in the software, and probably on a dedicated outboard sampler, that allow you to change the sample rate. They can be deceptive, though. Many things you may try to do in real time will not take effect until you disengage and re-engage the transport. For more serious changes, like sample rate and bit depth, it may even require you to relaunch the DAW in order to refresh the sound driver module, in my case with ProTools the CoreAudio manager.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:27 AM on October 22, 2007


He uses a floyd rose with a locking nut... you'd have to unlock it with an allen wrench...

Overthinking a plank of strings?
posted by fleetmouse at 10:28 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


mr_roboto: "At a different sampling rate, the distance between each note is going to be different. The synth box is no longer playing Western scales, but scales with a different spacing."

The difference is proportional, no? So a 8.85% pitch increase would result in A440 is to A880 as [A440 + 8.85%] is to [A880 + 8.85%], right?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:31 AM on October 22, 2007


At a different sampling rate, the distance between each note is going to be different. The synth box is no longer playing Western scales, but scales with a different spacing. You could fix the root note at each string so that it matches the notes coming out of the box, but the fret spacing is going to be wrong.

Quoted for truth. This is why you have a fretless guitar on hand at all times I guess. That would be a hella challenging song to play regardless, but I'm pretty sure he could have pulled it off.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:31 AM on October 22, 2007


*shrug* Maybe he feared the wrath of the brethren.

Well, the brethren's rigidity is probably the reason VH reunions have been disappointing. Dave's self-awareness and sense of humor is one of the things that set them apart from the 4 million other hard rock bands around. That and they exemplified (to East Coasters and landlocked folks) the California dream of sun, booze and babes better than anyone since the Beach Boys.
posted by jonmc at 10:31 AM on October 22, 2007


The synth box is no longer playing Western scales, but scales with a different spacing.

OK, now we've gone over the top.
posted by chuckdarwin at 10:32 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Put more simply, the synth part still sounded "Westernly" in tune with itself even at the wrong sample rate.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:33 AM on October 22, 2007


I've heard worse. (Granted, I was watching American Idol)
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 10:33 AM on October 22, 2007


lazruslong: the sample rate isn't even driver selectable and the device often overrides the DAW sample rate settings.
posted by bunnytricks at 10:33 AM on October 22, 2007


bunnytricks: Ouch, dude. Ouch.
posted by lazaruslong at 10:34 AM on October 22, 2007


I was a huge fan back in the day (I learnt all his licks)... but I always hated Jump. I felt like that was the point where they sold out.

Certainly the point where they successfully sold out. I'm pretty sure Dance the Night Away was an unsuccessful attempt.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:34 AM on October 22, 2007


Overthinking a plank of strings?

Ha! But, this is exactly why I got rid of my Kramer! I hate the things; you can't just TUNE THE BASTARD and you have to set the intonation whilst it's locked. There are some little screws on the bridge you can turn, but you can't easily do that in the dark. They SUCK, and the only advantage to them is the whammy bar, which is completely passe these days.
posted by chuckdarwin at 10:35 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure Dance the Night Away was an unsuccessful attempt.

Dude. You're giving me some rather nasty flashbacks. *ties bandanas*
posted by chuckdarwin at 10:36 AM on October 22, 2007


the whammy bar, which is completely passe these days.

Well, it's due for a revival.
posted by jonmc at 10:36 AM on October 22, 2007


Oh man that was painful to watch. Too bad it wasn't on SNL.
posted by itchylick at 10:37 AM on October 22, 2007


Could EVH's style translate over to a fretless guitar? Those taps would be a bit too flabby, I'd imagine.
posted by bunnytricks at 10:38 AM on October 22, 2007


the whammy bar, which is completely passe these days.

Don't we have pedals for that these days, anyway? And don't we have modelling to emulate different types of guitars, amps and speakers? And don't we all have a tiny midget backstage operating our talkbox for us?

[GUITAR TROLL]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:38 AM on October 22, 2007


Van Halen sucks, news at eleven.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:23 PM on October 22 [+] [!]


Your favorite band ... ah, fuck it.
posted by pardonyou? at 10:39 AM on October 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


At a different sampling rate, the distance between each note is going to be different. The synth box is no longer playing Western scales, but scales with a different spacing. You could fix the root note at each string so that it matches the notes coming out of the box, but the fret spacing is going to be wrong.

No way--as goodnewsfortheinsane said, the distance is proportional. Under equal temperament, the ratio between successive notes is the twelfth root of 2 ~= 1.05946. Speed up the recording, and you're just multiplying every frequency by some constant. The ratios between the frequencies stay the same.

the sample rate isn't even driver selectable and the device often overrides the DAW sample rate settings.

Wow, that's insane.
posted by equalpants at 10:43 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


equalpants writes "No way--as goodnewsfortheinsane said, the distance is proportional. Under equal temperament, the ratio between successive notes is the twelfth root of 2 ~= 1.05946. Speed up the recording, and you're just multiplying every frequency by some constant. The ratios between the frequencies stay the same."

OK, now I'm just confused. This sounds right, though.
posted by mr_roboto at 10:47 AM on October 22, 2007


Actually, chuckdarwin, Dave sounded awesome, I thought - sounded to me like he was singing in tune with the keyboard and, I might add, HITTING THE NOTES. I haven't seen this tour, but I'm pleased to know that Dave is doing well...
posted by fingers_of_fire at 10:49 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


If it helps, one could easily reverse the argument:

If I take a DAT recorded at 44.1 kHz and play it back at 48 kHz, the pitch and speed are increased markedly from what would be expected at the original rate. However, the relative relationships between notes do not change: an octave is still an octave, the harmony of the chord progression is preserved, the melody is still basically the same. This goes for the VH synth part as well, and there can not be any other valid explanation than the one equalpants has given.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:51 AM on October 22, 2007


He uses a floyd rose with a locking nut... you'd have to unlock it with an allen wrench...

not to mention the floyd tension is set to offset the string at pitch. crank the strings 3 semitones sharp and the floyd is pulled forward. even if you could get 3 semitones using the fine tune screws, at that point you tune one string and the one you just tuned gets pulled flat.

my lil bro is a huge van halen fan, seen 'em dozens of times. i have asked him who plays the keys in that song and he insists eddie does. i try to explain why eddie can't be playing the keys AND the guitar on the live album and get nowhere.
posted by quonsar at 10:53 AM on October 22, 2007


Perhaps as a unicorn chaser, it's nice to remember that there are myriad non-technical ways in which a performance can go disastrously wrong.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:54 AM on October 22, 2007


I want you to imagine something.

Imagine that instead of closing the show with this, they opened with it. Like it was a statement, the cocksure optimism of the eighties warped over time, the dissonance increasing until it became maddening, forcing hands over ears in the audience and the band alike. The cacophony building and building. Dave screams into the microphone until the crescendo peaks and then...

..Eddie gently strums an E minor, then an A7. Dave comes in, almost at a whisper, "Breathe, breathe in the air..."

And then Van Halen proceeds to cover The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety.

The would would both sublime and historic. I'd pay Ticketmaster prices to see that show.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:59 AM on October 22, 2007 [13 favorites]


“I was a huge fan back in the day (I learnt all his licks)... but I always hated Jump. I felt like that was the point where they sold out. The C Major figure itself is quite cheesy (and pat, for someone who can play piano as well as Ed).”

What oneirodynia says about Dance the Night Away is certainly true, and VH had always done a number of very pop songs, but it was the capitulation to the synth in 1984, exemplified by Jump, that was the worst. It would have been tolerable, perhaps, if Eddie was an impressario on it as he was on the guitar, but he really didn't do anything interesting on the synth at all.

My high school buddies are excited about this reunion tour. I'm not. It couldn't possibly compare to the shows we saw between 1980 and 1984. I think it would just make me feel sad and old. Being middle-aged and reliving one's adolescence by going to reunion concerts is just sad and pathetic, I don't care what the group is. If all the Beatles were alive and they had a reunion tour, it would be pathetic, too.

But I'm especially not interested in going because of the replacement of Michael Anthony with Wolfie Van Halen.

And as much as I think the Roth-era Van Halen was infinitely superior to Van Hagar, and as much as I enjoyed DLR's considerable showmanship, it would be painfully embarrassing to hear him reusing lines that were already embarassing tropes of his performances twenty-five years ago. (The line jonmc refers to above was one of a number of pre-prepared lines that Roth would use every show.)
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:00 AM on October 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


it doesn't seem as if the audience really noticed, anyway
posted by pyramid termite at 11:05 AM on October 22, 2007


Don't we have pedals for that these days, anyway?

My friend Grubbs had one of those. We all rejoiced when it died.
posted by chuckdarwin at 11:07 AM on October 22, 2007


From comments on the linked "technical discussion":

The keyboard is in this same key in every show. All this talk of differing sampling rates, power spikes, midi malfunctions etc are dead wrong. The only thing that happened here is Eddie played the song on an out of tune guitar.

Sometimes the simplest answer is the correct one.

posted by chundo at 11:08 AM on October 22, 2007


Didn't sound any worse to me.

Joking aside - and keep in mind I am nearly-almost deaf, mathematically illiterate, and my knowledge of musical mechanics begins and ends with the fact that F is waaay easier to play on the guitar if I disregard the e string - I don't think it would have sounded so bad if only Eddy had had the common sense and grace to pretend that his pick-ups had conked out and got the roadies to pull the plug on him.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:09 AM on October 22, 2007


Ethereal Bligh - I remember seeing them several times in the same tour and being irritated that DLR used the same jokes every show.
posted by chuckdarwin at 11:11 AM on October 22, 2007


The only thing that happened here is Eddie played the song on an out of tune guitar.

Elementary, my dear Watson (this also explains why Wolfie is in tune)!
posted by chuckdarwin at 11:12 AM on October 22, 2007


Chundo: to be fair, some of those comments also suggest that someone "knocked into" the synth which apparently somehow put it out of tune. That is to say, the comments may not be the source of wisdom they appear to be.

It defies belief that Eddie Van Halen would not be able to tune a guitar on the fly. The idea that a guitar god forgot how to tune his instrument is not the simplest explanation for me.
posted by lazaruslong at 11:14 AM on October 22, 2007


Imagine that instead of closing the show with this, they opened with it. Like it was a statement, the cocksure optimism of the eighties warped over time, the dissonance increasing until it became maddening, forcing hands over ears in the audience and the band alike. The cacophony building and building. Dave screams into the microphone until the crescendo peaks and then...

..Eddie gently strums an E minor, then an A7. Dave comes in, almost at a whisper, "Breathe, breathe in the air..."


Oh, go suck a fuck, hippie.
posted by sleepy pete at 11:18 AM on October 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


And then Van Halen proceeds to cover The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety

I'd sooner listen to the Scorpions covering Bridge of Sighs.
posted by Clave at 11:19 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


The M&Ms come out ok?
I heard (from some bodyguard dood) that the reason their contract stipulated no blue M&Ms or some such (whatever the actual detail is, whether it changed from time to time, etc.) is to make sure that the entire contract was read carefully and their safety and technical specs were being followed. In short - they throw in a goofy, easily checked, “no green M&Ms” type thing in some subtle place and check that it’s done as an assurance that the contract was read in full and all of the other 10,000 things (that they can’t check) are done properly. (IANARS)

(I like Van Halen, but boy, do they maybe need some more plastic surgery?)
posted by Smedleyman at 11:24 AM on October 22, 2007


"Dance the Night Away" was on Van Halen II, so they tried to sell out right away. According to Wikipedia, the song was inspired by Fleetwood Mac's "Go Your Own Way."
posted by kirkaracha at 11:28 AM on October 22, 2007


might as well SUCK

yeah go ahead and SUCK

...it was all downhill after Women and Children First anyway.

I am so old.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 11:29 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


attempting to match up their pre-recorded background synths for "Jump" with their live instruments & vocals.

The problem was that they are a guitar band that plays to recorded synthesizers. Not even a live synth player? In tune or not, they fucked up. He should have switched off the recorded stuff, said "Fuck synthesizers anyway!" and banged the tune out on his guitar.

But I suppose this was a sign from the guitar gods (no, not Clapton & Co.) that they can't match their old selves.
posted by pracowity at 11:30 AM on October 22, 2007


Clearly, Eddie should have just capoed 1.5 and had done with it.

And, yes, the non-Western-scale stuff is opium-den nonsense. An interval is an interval, and no sane playback box earth is going to change the proportions between notes like that.

Eddie out of tune? It'd certainly explain things, but I'm not sure I buy it as a plausible explanation. What the hell did he do between the previous song and that'n to knock himself so far out? Did a tech swap in a rigged-bad guitar?

For that matter, where was the savvy guitar tech with the rapidly-retuned-to-new-key backup axe to, if nothing else, swap in before the solo?

Has anybody compared the backing synth track at this show to other recent live recordings? To the album? Establishing whether or not it is in the normal key seems like it'd be pretty trivial.
posted by cortex at 11:31 AM on October 22, 2007


I have no idea what any of the technical jargon means, but this was fucking funny.
posted by desjardins at 11:33 AM on October 22, 2007


Whatever with all the guitar tuning nonsense...Where do i get myself a giant inflatable penis microphone?
posted by billyfleetwood at 11:35 AM on October 22, 2007


Too bad Ed wasn't playing his dorkariffic Steinberger with the TransTrem unit which would have put him back in tune within a second.
posted by melorama at 11:39 AM on October 22, 2007


Yeah, it sounded like shit but far funnier was the stage play:

- Eddie jumping about four inches off the ground (looked more like he just spread his legs and fell).

- Roth RIDING a giant inflatable phalllic symbol. I mean who in their right mind thought this was a good idea?! I burst out laughing.

- He then carries the mic around the ridiculous stage almost banging people in the head with it so that he can... what? Drop it on the stage like a trophy.

- And... wait for it... the crowd screams for more!

Man, thanks for the link. That video was hilarious on all counts. The only way it could have been improved would be to show the ticket stubs and reveal the entry fee.
posted by dobbs at 11:50 AM on October 22, 2007


Blasphemer

giovanni, a man of your taste and knowledge shouldn't confuse quality with nostalgia.
posted by matteo at 11:51 AM on October 22, 2007


Van Halen never needed any stagehands or guitar techs to fuck shit up -- just good ol' Jack Daniels. Hasn't anyone ever linked to these nuggets before?
posted by not_on_display at 11:55 AM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Roth RIDING a giant inflatable phalllic symbol. I mean who in their right mind thought this was a good idea?!

Jim Morrison came to him in a dream.
posted by cortex at 11:57 AM on October 22, 2007


Ethereal Bligh:
And as much as I think the Roth-era Van Halen was infinitely superior to Van Hagar, and as much as I enjoyed DLR's considerable showmanship, it would be painfully embarrassing to hear him reusing lines that were already embarassing tropes of his performances twenty-five years ago. (The line jonmc refers to above was one of a number of pre-prepared lines that Roth would use every show.)
"

I've actually been listening to the live boots of the VH reunion tour, and was pretty amazed at how, well...quiet and well behaved DLR is. The minutes of nutty between song banter that he was known for back in the 80s is all but gone. I have to wonder if one of the contractual stipulations of Dave's involvement is that just shut up and sing. It's pretty well known that Ed hated his extended bantering in VH, Mark I.

One of the very few redeeming things about the Van Hagar era is that the live shows were for the most part unscripted, and seemed much less choreographed (and to his credit, Eddie actually played his keyboards live on stage on the 5150 tour). The mechanical precision and choreography of the stage show is what I find most disappointing about this reunion tour, despite the fact that EVH is playing like a motherfucker now (well...at least compared to his horrifically bad playing on the 2004 Van Hagar tour)
posted by melorama at 12:00 PM on October 22, 2007


“I remember seeing them several times in the same tour and being irritated that DLR used the same jokes every show.”

He used the same jokes across tours. I think I saw the W&CF, FW, and 1984 tours.

“Has anybody compared the backing synth track at this show to other recent live recordings? To the album?”

The writer of the linked blog entry did this and talks about it in the link.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:01 PM on October 22, 2007


Can't they afford to hire a person to play keyboards with them live? On preview, also, everything pracowity said.
posted by Cookiebastard at 12:03 PM on October 22, 2007


The only thing that happened here is Eddie played the song on an out of tune guitar.

Elementary, my dear Watson (this also explains why Wolfie is in tune)!


Wolfie is in tune because the backing track is playing the bass throughout the whole show and Wolfie's not even plugged in (my theory, anyway).

You can't re-tune a Floyd Rose-equipped guitar to a different tuning on the fly, because the equilibrium between the springs and the strings keeping the floating tremolo afloat screws the whole thing up and tuning one string higher makes the other five go lower. Eddie can go to drop D on the fly because he developed the "D-Tuna" device for the Floyd, but you simply can't just retune the guitar quickly, no matter how good you are.

Now, with a Floyd, you can put pressure on the bridge with your palm that will raise the pitch just the right amount, and I've done that in the past when the issue arose, to moderate effect. The problem is that it doesn't raise the pitch of the strings uniformly, but you can get a couple strings tuned up together by palming the bridge just right. Also, I think Eddie keeps his Floyd pulled all the way to the body, so there is no upward leeway.

There are also fine tuners on the Floyd Rose bridge that you can tune up without wrenches, but they only go about 1/2 a tone, so they wouldn't have helped him much there.

There are days when I miss my old American Kramer with the great hardened steel Floyd Rose. You simply cannot do real whammy bar stuff with an outboard effect, and there are times when a vintage strat tremolo doesn't have the kind of subtlety that you can get by taking the bar off the Floyd and palming it. And the old hardened steel original Floyd never, ever went out of tune.

The problem is that by using the new model of the Floyd, made without the hardened steel, and using it on a cheaper guitar, the whole tuning stability thing goes out the window. Newer Floyd-equipped guitars don't seem to have the sustain or tone that the old American Kramers had, either.

These days I do just fine with a strat with 5 super-tight springs, since I almost never use tremolo, and I don't really miss it on my Gibson or Tele. But when I play someone else's cheap guitar with a Floyd, I miss my old, super-solid, invincible American one that never, ever went out of tune.
posted by The World Famous at 12:03 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Also, back in the "day," Eddie used to play the keyboard songs himself on a keyboard. They should have just done that.
posted by The World Famous at 12:04 PM on October 22, 2007


Roth RIDING a giant inflatable phalllic symbol. I mean who in their right mind thought this was a good idea?!

His proctologist and orthopedist?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 12:05 PM on October 22, 2007


This wasn't a mistake: Van Halen is going experimental.

Have people already forgotten the side project that David Lee Roth did with Phillip Glass on The Tonight Show?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:11 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


cortex, according to the the linked blog, the synth part was playing a key part way between C# and D instead of the expected C. Even if there was capo availlable, there's no way one could solve that problem.

I couldn't stand to listen to the whole clip, but I'm surprised Eddie didn't just give up on playing chords altogetherand play his solo in D using the whammy to get close enough to the synth for rock and roll. Of course, that wouldn't work if the bass player kept playing in C.
posted by timeistight at 12:16 PM on October 22, 2007


Have people already forgotten the side project that David Lee Roth did with Phillip Glass on The Tonight Show?

Oh, man. I completely forgot about The Phillip Roth Stain. I know opinions differ, but I truly believe they were at there best with that live cut of American Nastoral.

Even if there was capo availlable, there's no way one could solve that problem.

That was the joke, you silly goose.

The writer of the linked blog entry did this and talks about it in the link.

Ah! My bad; I saw it on that blog before the update was posted, didn't see the addition this morning.
posted by cortex at 12:21 PM on October 22, 2007


timeistight: "
I couldn't stand to listen to the whole clip, but I'm surprised Eddie didn't just give up on playing chords altogetherand play his solo in D using the whammy to get close enough to the synth for rock and roll. Of course, that wouldn't work if the bass player kept playing in C.
"

I wonder if Ed was hoping that the Doppler effect would take care of the pitch shift for him, for those in the nosebleed section.
posted by melorama at 12:22 PM on October 22, 2007


(And one thing going for them: booming bass in a goddam stadium is going to be more punch than tone, anyway. It won't sound right, exactly, but it's punching you so hard in the chest that you won't necessarily notice it's wrong, either.)
posted by cortex at 12:24 PM on October 22, 2007


I just threw up in my cochlea a little.
posted by CynicalKnight at 12:26 PM on October 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


“I wonder if Ed was hoping that the Doppler effect would take care of the pitch shift for him, for those in the nosebleed section.”

By “nosebleed section”, I assume you are referring to airliners that happen to overflying the stadium?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 12:30 PM on October 22, 2007


It reveals a lot about the guitar player's perspective, I think, that there is so much talk about retuning his guitar on the fly. The real solution would be to transpose on the fly. So, you start playing, realize that the synth is in a higher key, figure out how much higher, and start playing the song in that key. Which it sounds to me like Eddie tried, but the problem of course--as clearly identified by the links in the post--is that it wasn't an even transposition to an actual key, but rather up to C#-and-a-half. Which is a ridiculous adjustment to ask any musician to make.
posted by LooseFilter at 12:31 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Stupid Van Halen. My ears prick up when I hear people talking about Wolfie playing bass, only to be disappointed.
posted by Wolfdog at 12:33 PM on October 22, 2007


Ethereal Bligh: "“I wonder if Ed was hoping that the Doppler effect would take care of the pitch shift for him, for those in the nosebleed section.”

By “nosebleed section”, I assume you are referring to airliners that happen to overflying the stadium?
"

No I was referring to the people on the street who caught the band rocking out on the back of the flatbed truck whizzing by, ala U2, but much faster.
posted by melorama at 12:36 PM on October 22, 2007


Clearly, Eddie should have just capoed 1.5 and had done with it.

Could someone explain how exactly you would accomplish this on a fretted guitar?

I have a very good friend , who to this day, still tells me why Frank Hannon of Tesla is the greatest guitar god in history: He was playing a show, his G got knocked out of tune, so he bent the strings on every note to compensate. I call bullshit every time I hear that story.
posted by Benway at 12:44 PM on October 22, 2007


What Ed'd a had to do would be transpose it up and then bend every note a little bit, which he's certainly capable of. Improvise, adapt, overcome. It's all in the fingers, and he's got the fingers.

That said, I thought the performance was magical, perhaps the best I've ever heard "Jump" sound. Such tension!
posted by breezeway at 12:44 PM on October 22, 2007


Direct link to YouTube video (another source, as the blog prevents their clip from being viewed directly).
posted by zek at 12:48 PM on October 22, 2007


Good thinking, Benway, on the string bends, except for the calling bullshit part. It's possible. I do it just about every time I play along with a record. I wouldn't doubt that Frank Hannon or Eddie Van Halen could do that if they needed to.

I once saw a fifteen-year old violin prodigy play the national anthem before a Maryland basketball game. Her E string broke, and she made do without missing a beat.
posted by breezeway at 12:49 PM on October 22, 2007


Needs more autotune.
posted by Dr-Baa at 12:59 PM on October 22, 2007


I was in this band and it was a crazy show with people all over the place and the sound was awful. It was the first time we were playing this new song. Our sax player was singing it. I'm being a rock star and standing on a speaker stand so I was right in front of the house PA. Since the monitors sucked, I pretty much was the only person who could hear the vocals.

We get through the first verse and first chorus of this new song and we're doing pretty okay, it's good...and then, after the first chorus...our sax player/singer waited 4 riff repetitions to come back in on the 2nd verse instead of 2 like he normally did.

And I was the only one who could hear it.

There's video of it, and you can watch my eyes grow wide and my jaw drop just the slightest bit as I realize that he'll be concentrating on spitting out the last two lines of his verse when the rest of the band changes to the chorus...and since the sound onstage is so bad, nobody will be able to figure out where anybody else is in this new song.

I tried to get everybody's attention, I tried to make eye contact but there was nothing I could do. That was the scariest moment I've ever had on stage, waiting for that second chorus. I'll never let myself hear more than the rest of the band ever again.
posted by Brainy at 1:03 PM on October 22, 2007


It is hilarious to me that we are trouble-shooting Eddie's guitar rig for him. In the MTV video for Jump, the guitar isn't even plugged in.

You are all forgetting that Eddie built his signature guitar from crappy parts. He has patents on a number of guitar hardware, including a little drop-D thingy that gets added to the low E on a Floyd rose, and with a flick the E is dropped to D, no fuss, no muss.

The reason he didn't fix this is because (a) he's practically deaf, and (b) he probably only hears the drums and his guitar in the monitors. If he did hear the keyboard, I'm sure he assumed the idiot tech was going to fix the error. What if he retuned his guitar AND tech guy fixed the keyboard, he'd be back out of tune. And then you have to retune again, and now you've missed your bitchin' solo.

Eddie peaked at 18. It's been all downhill since Eruption.
posted by Pastabagel at 1:10 PM on October 22, 2007


FWIW, the bass line is simple and would be pretty easy to correct on the fly, even transposing up a fret and bending the rest of the way if need be.

The hard part would be overriding the muscle-memory -- they've probably played that song 10,000 times, esp. Eddie, so the fingers are pretty much on auto-pilot. Also working against Eddie: it's easy to bend-to-correct *one* string at a time (per the VH bass line or above violin example). Two is kinda hard. A full chord is freakin impossible.
posted by LordSludge at 1:27 PM on October 22, 2007


Eruption was recorded when Eddie was at least 22.
posted by saladin at 1:41 PM on October 22, 2007


There's no reason to assume that "Eruption" didn't belong to the "downhill" part.
posted by Wolfdog at 1:42 PM on October 22, 2007


A full chord is freakin impossible.

Maybe he could play a fret up and just bend the neck?

Bending chords with the fingers isn't impossible, but in this case, it wouldn't be an option.
posted by breezeway at 1:43 PM on October 22, 2007


In his autobiography, DLR corroborates the "Green M&Ms as a way to check that the promoters read the entire contract rider" story.
posted by andrewraff at 1:44 PM on October 22, 2007


Van Hagar. Nothing is worse to look at or listen to than Sammy fuckin Hagar. Oh I love to hate him.
posted by greenskpr at 1:58 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Watching DLR with that blow up microphone reminds me Mick Jagger did it onstage back in 1976 with an inflatable that actually looked like a penis. Been there, done that three decades earlier, even if it wasn't that great first time around.
posted by Lucy2Times at 2:05 PM on October 22, 2007


I get up on a giant phallus symbol, and nothin' Eddie's out-of-tune guitar gets me down.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:25 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


posted by Pope Guilty Van Halen sucks, news at eleven.

Ted Nugent, is that you?!

/obscure early Van Halen reference joke
posted by fandango_matt at 2:26 PM on October 22, 2007


Somewhere a roadie is out looking for a new job, RIGHT NOW!
posted by AndrewStephens at 2:39 PM on October 22, 2007


posted by andrewraff In his autobiography, DLR corroborates the "Green M&Ms as a way to check that the promoters read the entire contract rider" story.


Clearly, you did not read the contract. No BROWN M&Ms! Article 126 clearly stated: There will be no brown M&M's in the backstage area, upon pain of forfeiture of the show, with full compensation.

/me trashes hotel room
posted by fandango_matt at 2:56 PM on October 22, 2007


And then Van Halen proceeds to cover The Dark Side of the Moon in its entirety

I'd sooner listen to the Scorpions covering Bridge of Sighs.


My vote goes to having Rush cover Rocket To Russia by The Ramones.
posted by spoobnooble at 3:25 PM on October 22, 2007


Pixies cover A Night at the Opera. Life complete.
posted by cortex at 3:30 PM on October 22, 2007


Rush - Rocket to Russia

Track 1 - Cretin Hop
I. Overture
II. Diagnosis: Cretin
III. Remedial Dance Lessons
IV. The Grand Ball
V. Diagnosis (reprise)
posted by InfidelZombie at 3:43 PM on October 22, 2007 [9 favorites]


I have never seen such careful analysis of an out-of-tune song.

I just had to reiterate that.
posted by chuckdarwin at 4:01 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


After reading some of your tech and not so tech explanations, I'm also thinking that Dave and Eddie couldn't hear anything. I'm no great guitar player, but I imagine this wouldn't be terribly hard to improvise on guitar and vox.

20+ years ago we would have just said, "Awesome, they're so WASTED!!!!!"
posted by snsranch at 4:06 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Pastabagel writes "The would would both sublime and historic. I'd pay Ticketmaster prices to see that show."

The only way a show like that would ever happen is if Van Halen had never broken up and had continued to evolve. Eddie hasn't exactly been workin on his chops the whole time he was out of the loop. And the break up and dissolution of the band was inevitable ... I love the original Van Halen band for what they are, but Dave and Eddie are both such gigantic pricks that something like what you envision would never, ever happen. I could see Alex and Michael being into it, maybe.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:35 PM on October 22, 2007


And what a terrible song it is...

I could go a lifetime without hearing Van Halen's version, but the 1984 cover by Aztec Camera is a sweet and beautiful thing that actually shows it to be an inherently fine tune.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 4:41 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


He used the same jokes across tours.

I saw him for the first time on the Roth/Hagar tour a few years back and he's using the same jokes across decades.

and to his credit, Eddie actually played his keyboards live on stage on the 5150 tour

Having a lead singer who could play guitar helped. (Yes, I prefer Van Hagar. There. I said it. And I'm not the only one.) (Although I do prefer even more his hard rock Buffett-esque post Van Halen turn. I'm simple that way.)
posted by Cyrano at 4:51 PM on October 22, 2007


The song sounded strange because they didn't use "danceable" speaker cables.
posted by Tube at 4:59 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


And the crowd goes wild!
posted by Flunkie at 5:10 PM on October 22, 2007


Have people already forgotten the side project that David Lee Roth did with Phillip Glass on The Tonight Show?

That's not quite as bizarre an idea as you might think. Jump's use of synths was allegedly inspired the Who's Baba O'Riley. In addition, Baba O'Riley was named in tribute to the minimalist composer, Terry Riley. So Van Halen does have a connection to 20th century minimalist composition in a two-degrees-of-separation sort of way.
posted by jonp72 at 5:17 PM on October 22, 2007


Jump's use of synths was allegedly inspired the Who's Baba O'Riley.

They should use Jump as the theme music if they ever do CSI: Pasadena.
posted by fleetmouse at 5:34 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hah! You wanna hear the scariest moment I ever had on stage?

We were doing a show in our basement in the early days in Williamsburg when you could still get a massive loft for $1500 a month. We were pretty sophisticated and had video projections that we'd play along with (borrowed from NYU for the most part) and some home-brewed lights and lots of cheap effects and processing and a home-brewed stage -- not much audience but enough.

Our band was playing my song Svengali and I opened my mouth to start singing -- and was cut off by my own voice coming over the speaker system!

I panicked and looked at my main collaborator, Jeremy. It took him a moment to realize that there was anything wrong... and then he wigged! Though he kept playing the bassline, much to his credit (the bass is in 4 while the drums are in 4 and 5, so it's hard).

This was in the days before cheap digital sampling and we were playing live without a sequencer. I hadn't sung anything yet so it couldn't be a delay. ‫‬

I flipped out. There seemed no possible rational explanation for this. However, I did figure it out in an eternity -- perhaps 30 seconds.

What was it? You have all the information needed. (Answer next post)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 5:57 PM on October 22, 2007


Has anybody compared the backing synth track at this show to other recent live recordings? To the album?

I might do that if it didn't involve having to listen to "Jump" again.

I never want to listen to "Jump" again. Even atonal "Jump", which is the best "Jump" EVAR!!!!!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:00 PM on October 22, 2007


Paste the text below into a text program and it'll magically(*) reverse reveal the answer! (* no actual magic involved).

‫‬‭‮‪‫‬‭‮҉Remember I told you that we were "playing with video projections?" Well, the audio from the video tape had mistakenly been put into a channel on the mixer, and this tape happened to have a scratch track of my vocals on it: since we were synchronized to the tape...‭
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:04 PM on October 22, 2007


Have I broken mefi?!
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:05 PM on October 22, 2007


I can adjust my posting to match that backwards text by recalibrating the intonation on my Floyd Rose and re-leveling the keys on my computer as I play. I'm just that good.
posted by The World Famous at 6:10 PM on October 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


I hate us all so much right now.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:22 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


So what, who cares... Van Halen is just another trivial pop band.
posted by Huplescat at 6:43 PM on October 22, 2007


This kind of thing would never happen with 4'33", I'll tell ya that!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:49 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


What was it? You have all the information needed.
You are Ashlee Simpson?
posted by Flunkie at 7:01 PM on October 22, 2007


One of my best friends son’s is a rock star in down East NC. I think of the kid as my de-facto god son but I hate that he’s a rock star in a cultural vacuum and he gets ten times more worthless pussy there than is good for a normal human being.
posted by Huplescat at 7:48 PM on October 22, 2007


The tempo diff between 44.1 and 48 is not nearly so subtle as you might think. When you have heard that track as often as I have (and a lot of people my age have), it is burned into the brain pretty well. I'd bet good money the temp is on the money. The pitch is a little harder, but it still sounds pretty close; it always was a tinny over done bit. I'd say the guitar was whacked (bizaare tuning mistake? Electron tuner malfunction?), but the synth could have been tweaked (pitch only).
posted by Bovine Love at 8:35 PM on October 22, 2007


ANSWER: Encyclopedia Brown realized that it was Bugs Meany who snuck backstage and detuned Van Halen's synth before the show, due to the trail of brown M&Ms falling out of Bugs' pockets.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 8:59 PM on October 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Far away, across the field, the tolling of the iron bell calls the faithful to their computers...
posted by darkstar at 9:45 PM on October 22, 2007


This kind of thing would never happen with 4'33", I'll tell ya that!
Do you not understand anything about music? Not only would the ambient sound be more than a semitone out of tune, the work would finish in only 4'10'', completely destroying the basic artistic merit of the piece!
posted by AndrewStephens at 9:48 PM on October 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


>That's not quite as bizarre an idea as you might think. Jump's use of synths was allegedly inspired the Who's Baba O'Riley. In addition, Baba O'Riley was named in tribute to the minimalist composer, Terry Riley. So Van Halen does have a connection to 20th century minimalist composition in a two-degrees-of-separation sort of way.

Egad.
posted by philfromhavelock at 9:55 PM on October 22, 2007


I saw Van Halen once back in the day.

It sounded shitty back then, too.
posted by tkchrist at 10:12 PM on October 22, 2007


Egad

Love 'em or hate ‘em, both the Van Halen brothers have both considerable music talent and education. They're certainly not the sort of rock star that can't even read music. Their father was a big band era clarinetist. Both learned to play several instruments, including classical piano, from a very young age. Both, I believe, majored in music before dropping out of college.

I would have liked to have seen Edward continue on the type of stuff he did with Brian May on May's Star Fleet Project. EVH probably would have been happiest going his own way into Fripp-style experimentation and low commercial appeal.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:40 AM on October 23, 2007


In the thread about the announcement of this tour I said:
Sometimes I feel entirely in harmony with the universe. Just the other day I watched Spinal Tap again and now this is announced.

And now happens...
posted by juiceCake at 6:49 AM on October 23, 2007


Thats:

And now this happens...

(I was parodying the whole thing, I swear.)
posted by juiceCake at 6:51 AM on October 23, 2007


So I saw them last night (Detroit second show).

DLR miffed it a couple of times - came in late, mainly. I can't remember what song, but at one point the rest of the band was so far ahead of him it was just obvious to the crowd.
The instruments are a LOT louder than the vocals (I am still deaf - seriously). This is a good thing, DLR's range is pretty diminished, I think.
Eddie and Alex are tight, very tight. People talking about Eddie losing his touch are nuts. He was very, very good last night.
Wolfie did a good job too, but it was workmanlike, not very inspired.

DLR? Not so much.

I'm not a huge VH fan but I got the ticket free, and I saw them for the first time in 1980. This performance was not that performance, but then again, I am not the 17 year old I was then, either. So it evens out.

For EB and those that think reunion tours are pathetic: When you hit your stride in your chosen career path when you are in your twenties, and then fade into something else for a while, it's a great thing to be able to do it again. They are able to do what they did best - again - in their fifties. I'll be jealous if I get to do that.

It was really evident that everyone on that stage was having a good time, with handshakes between songs, and y'all might think that's a staged thing. I don't. I think it was an honest, imperfect performance from an honest, imperfect band. And they had fun, and so did I.

Now
posted by disclaimer at 7:57 AM on October 23, 2007


...strike the Now in that comment.
posted by disclaimer at 7:59 AM on October 23, 2007


I don't so much mind bands doing reunion tours, though i guess I'd prefer they kept on maturing as artists rather than being retreads. My complaint was mostly about those in the audience trying to recapture something that can't be recaptured. Not everyone is doing that, of course, and its unfair of me to imply that they are. But especially in the case of Van Halen, for me the VH experience was me being 17 years old and getting drunk and partying and having that band reflect my life's ethos at the time. In the context of my 42 year old self...well, there is no context. The performance on a reunion tour would just confuse my memories of the shows I saw as a teen, which are special to me.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:32 AM on October 23, 2007


When I go see Maiden in 2008, the context is going be big fuckin' pyramids on stage, and I cannot imagine an age at which that will not be special to me.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:52 AM on October 23, 2007


I'm late as usual, but just wanted to say that Eddie and Alex are both essentially deaf. A few nights ago I listened to a phone interview with Eddie from 1982 on youtube, and he basically asked the interviewer to repeat every other question, sometimes two or three times.

He also subjected the interviewer to a very sloppy slice of "Jump", which he was working on at the time. It sounded just as bad as this performance.

Oh, and the other jarring thing was when he was talking about Allan Holdsworth (his favorite guitarist), and he casually referred to a "groupie cunt chick" with a rich father who had booked the shows for Holdsworth's American club tour. It made me wonder if there was something to DLR's claim that "Eddie Van Halen (without a guitar in his hands) is a shitty human being."*

Here's the first part of the eight part interview, for the masochists among you:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=GJWB5NHCqjw

I would have liked to have seen Edward continue on the type of stuff he did with Brian May on May's Star Fleet Project.

I own that, on vinyl no less! /old fart.

* In all fairness, Eddie did get Holdsworth a record contract with Warner when he was at a very low point in his career
posted by Devils Slide at 1:27 PM on October 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oddly (to thrash this on even more, because we all love a good argument) my immediate reaction that the keyboards sounded fine - then Eddie's guitar craps all over it is borne out by the Philly version:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=729LWzgqosg

The keyboards sound the same to me, it just sounds (in the nasty clip) that the guitar just doesn't quite get 'up' there. There is a comment (and a feisty one it is to) on the dodgy clip one where a claim is made that a Roadie confession that Eddie got handed a flat tuned guitar for a different song is the culprit.

You see Eddie immediately stop, struggle with the guitar and fuck about for a bit and then sort of shrug and clomp on. I reckon he figured he had got close enough and that the performance was more important. I don't think he was, er, necessarily right.

The idea that EVH is essentially deaf is extremely odd. How can someone do such virtuoso style guitar playing if he can't, very accurately, hear what it is he is playing? He very clearly reacted as soon as he hit a note, but seemed to give up after a few minutes.

ALSO. I'm sorry, but Diamond Dave is just too much of a prick for me. I WANT to like him, as I dearly love VH, but I think Sammy-baby is a much better singer - very consistent between live and recorded - he just doesn't prance about so much as DLR because he's too busy playing an instrument. Pretty damn well. Maybe it's dependent on when you were introduced to Van Halen, but that squeaky shit that Roth Of Khan does the whole time gives me the shits.
posted by Brockles at 5:49 PM on October 24, 2007


And (to go on) Sammy Hagar clearly ROCKS THE FUCKING WORLD because he sang the theme song for the totally awesome 90's film that was Over The Top.

Can you beat THAT Roth, can ya? Huh? Huh?

Thought not. Now piss off and take your inflatable shite with you.
posted by Brockles at 6:01 PM on October 24, 2007


The idea that EVH is essentially deaf is extremely odd. How can someone do such virtuoso style guitar playing if he can't, very accurately, hear what it is he is playing?

Well, he's deaf in the sense that he can barely (accurately) hear conversation when he's in a room with someone. I'm sure he can hear his guitar when he's playing at 8,000,000 decibels. Oh, and Alex has said in interviews that he can't hear large swaths in the upper and lower register, and I imagine Eddie is similarly afflicted, since Alex blamed his hearing loss on having some of Eddie's amps/cabinets positioned inches from his ears night after night.
posted by Devils Slide at 6:12 PM on October 24, 2007


I've thought about it for a bit and have to agree that it's the *guitar* which is flat as opposed to a sharp synth.

Also: metaphorical viking, fat people are cool but they need to be careful, smoking is a terrible affliction that has its peculiar but certain charms, Pitchfork is a horrid threat to discourse, language and civilisation but most bands they really like actually are amazing, moderation on Metafilter is inconsistent and sometimes misguided but the mods' case-by-case approach is their most admirable strength, John was a genius but Paul is underrated not in a small part because John happens to be dead, the 9/11 commission report is riddled with truths, the strong version of the Whorf hypothesis is indefensible but the weak version is true even if it's hard to prove, theism is bizarre but atheists need to be more tolerant of them if only in the interests of humanism, Dylan is brilliant and happened to be in many right places at many right times but he's still overrated in an absolute sense, penis size does matter but it's like 841th on a list of 842 priorities, college is a source of actual education for some and a source of social learning for all and hence not worth it for everyone, radical honesty doesn't work in and of itself but is a good lesson if you pay attention and think about it for a few weeks, and declawing cats is not nice but kind of understandable. YMMV.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:35 PM on October 24, 2007


The out-of-tune-guitar theory may have some merit, since he plays a guitar in an alternate tuning for Unchained, and, if memory serves, plays in concert tuning (a half step down) for non-keyboard songs.
posted by The World Famous at 6:44 PM on October 24, 2007


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