Though putting an article like this on our own band blog is a little bit of off topic， I do this none the less， because Van Halen means so much for us and it has so much to do with our music， and in fact…to gain some internet access;)
Van Halen “A Different Kind of Truth” [Pre-release review]
by Tak Nakamine / Imari Tones (Japan)
“While other legendary rock bands are about to end their 50 years of Rockn’Roll history， Van Halen starts next 100 years!”
Eddie Van Halen was having a hard time while he played cover tunes at night clubs.
Because his sound was so much special and original.
He could never sound like other ordinary guitarists.
But he choose to play with his own sound and technique rather than mimic others.
He invented a whole new sound and technique which nobody could ever imitate.
And then their debut album “Van Halen” became a big hit all around the world.
He made a revolution in rock guitar world.
He changed the way rock guitar is being played forever.
Yes， he won the bet.
Eddie Van Halen was having a hard time because he was forced to play cover tunes on their album， and because he could not play songs featuring his keyboards.
So he built a studio called 5150 Studio， trying to get an creative environment in which he can make his music more freely.
They choose to produce their album mostly by themselves.
And then the album “1984” became a huge hit all around the world， and the song “Jump” went No.1 on hit chart.
Yes， he won the bet.
Eddie Van Halen was having a hard time because their splendid frontman had just quit the band.
But he brought in the new singer with powerful voice and wider voice range， so that they can play those melodic tunes which had been impossible with their previous singer.
Eddie unleashed his melody inside， and wrote songs more freely.
And then， the album “5150” reached to the top of the chart and became a big hit all around the world.
Yes， he won the bet again.
Eddie Van Halen create a new guitar and an amplifier， trying to achieve more massive， bigger and thicker sound which nobody had ever heard before.
Musicman EVH guitars had a huge impact on high end guitar craft in new generations.
And Peavey 5150 amplifiers changed the rock guitar sound all over the world with its new generation high gain sound. They had a huge impact on modern rock sound and many musicians are playing those 5150/6505/EVH amps today.
Eddie played those guitars and amps on the albums called “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” and “Balance”， they both went to No.1 and became big hits.
Yes， he won the bet again.
Eddie Van Halen was having a hard time because their powerful singer had just quit he band (or the band fired him， depending on who you ask).
He brought in the new singer.
A singer who is younger， with faith， sometimes naive， sometimes rough， yet with spirit.
It was because he wanted to pursuit his new music.
A new music with more personal message， with his highest skills and musicianship， which had been impossible with their previous singer.
Eddie’s musicianship， mind and skill were higher than ever.
And his music， its artistic quality reached its peak.
However， it was probably too complicated.
It was something more than beer and girls.
For several reasons， it didn’t went to No.1.
(It still went Gold， though.)
rejection from fans，
pressure from the record company，
those things forced the band to give up this project，
before they put out their 2nd album.
He lost the bet?
I don’t know.
But， at least for me， it was the end of Van Halen.
Eddie Van Halen，
he who had always been making music honestly to his heart，
now his best music was rejected by the world.
After that， Eddie’s tongue cancer and personal problems such as divorce put the band on hiatus for year.
The reunion with Sammy Hager in 2004 went wrong at the end.
Most of the first decade of 21st century， virtually there was no Van Halen in this world.
However， in my opinion， this record called “Van Halen 3” released in 1998， was predicting the next 10 years of Rockn’Roll scene.
In 21st century， it became an internet era.
Music industry went smaller and smaller， records selling less and less.
People started talking about Rock music with nostalgia.
Bands became smaller， and their music became more diverse， mixed， and segmented. It became more and more personal.
And yes， you can find some really good bands among those independent bands， which have nothing to do with commercialism.
“Van Halen 3” was predicting these things in our new generation.
Van Halen was the biggest band in the world.
And yet， they made this small and personal music with “Van Halen 3”.
It was a premonition of the first 10 years of 21st century， in which Big Rock is being broken down into small pieces.
Believe it or not，
with this message they left，
we have been making music for more than 10 years，
following the direction they had shown with their last record.
They showed us this independent rock spirit for next 10 years， in trade for their successful career. (At least that’s the way I feel.)
And after that，
I met quite a few great rock bands in 21st century.
Most of them were small bands， but they were truly special.
Music from those bands， they are more cutting edge， more complicated， so many elements mixed.
That’s the latest rock music in 21st century.
Latest rock music，
it is no longer played by a big rock band in a big arena，
but played by an independent band who sells only 2，000 records.
That’s the rock music in our generation.
Eddie Van Halen also must have wanted to do that.
And I know he can do that for sure.
Eddie Van Halen， he can play any type of music.
He can make music more cutting edge and complicated than any young musicians out there.
However， situation never allows him to do that.
Because Van Halen is too big a band in Rockn’Roll history.
Other hair metal bands from ‘80s， they can do that.
They can do this “once big but now local band playing small venues” thing in this indies-era.
But Van Halen was simply too big to do that.
It was ironic that those many bands from ‘80s， much smaller than Van Halen， reunite and start their career again in smaller places， but Van Halen the biggest band could never move and stay inactive.
They were too big to make a move in this 21st century music scene.
Eddie Van Halen’s last achievement，
smaller in size but more personal and cutting edge.
The world rejected it.
From that moment， Van Halen is over.
They can’t make real music anymore.
In 2007， they reunited with David Lee Roth and did a big reunion tour through 2007-2008.
That was inevitable.
Because the only choice left for them was a reunion with Dave.
That was the only form the world approve.
I believe it was almost like stepping into his own coffin for Eddie Van Halen.
Because he could not pursuit his new music inside him anymore.
So I thought，
even if they would put out a new album，
it would never be something new，
but it would be just another merchandize with nostalgic feeling.
Van Halen was always king，
the royal road of Rockn’Roll，
leader， flag-bearer， they are the ones who make the future of Rock.
And they were always THE LOUDEST.
But they will never be in the lead again.
They will never be on top.
All they can do is， to make an old sounding record full of nostalgia with Dave.
I’ve been thinking that way for a long time.
I was wrong.
I didn’t know there was a way.
Such a beautiful way.
I didn’t know they still can do thing like this.
I didn’t expect it.
Eddie Van Halen surely understood the situation of 21st century rock music scene， too much progressed， too much diverse and segmented， and getting smaller and smaller， and he came up with the solution.
He made a record to break this dead end situation of our time.
A tremendous record.
This album is Game Changing!
This will change the rule of Rockn’Roll world and music industry in this era.
Rock music in dead end， unable to see future， in every aspect， commercially and musically.
But Van Halen they will show the answer for all.
For all the musicians， for all the music lovers，
they will show the answer for NEXT 100 YEARS!!
My expectation was， they would make an album with early Dave era sound， such as Fair Warning or Van Halen 2.
But I was wrong.
They went back even further.
They went to back to their pre-debut era， or even further.
And they successfully acquired the genuine essence of Rockn’Roll， or the genuine root of Entertainment.
In its purity and intensity now they look like even ahead of AC/DC.
When I saw the video of the song “Tattoo”， I thought.
“When is this band from!?”
It is 2012.
But I felt like I was watching a band from 1912.
Off course there was no rock band on this planet in 1912.
There was no rockn’roll yet.
However， in this simple song called “Tattoo”，
Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth，
these 2 old musicians are telling us a message.
This rock scene 2012，
everything segmented， complicated， broken down.
But is this just the new beginning for Rockn’Roll?
They are telling us.
“Hey it may be 2012. But isn’t this still 1912 for Rockn’Roll?”
This is just a beginning.
After now， blues will be born in a small club in Memphis or Chicago.
Jazz will be born and develop.
And there will be a new entertainment.
With this album more than classic，
Van Halen claimed their new estate as a legend，
a legendary entertainer for 100 years.
Just like some bluesmen who played before big mafia boss.
In this 21st century era，
Rockn’Roll is no more in big arena or stadium which holds 20，000 people.
But it is more in clubs which hold only 1，000， or few hundreds.
Van Halen understands the time for sure.
That’s why they did their rehearsals at ROXY in Los Angels and they did the video for the song “Tattoo” there. A very simple video.
That’s why they choose the New York venue “Cafe Wha?”， which holds only 250， for the place for their first public appearance for the album.
Van Halen， the biggest rock band in the world， went back to their club days and they acquired the essence of Rockn’Roll from the era Rock music was played in a small night club.
They have rebuilt the Rockn’Roll entertainment with their legendary extraordinary performance skill. And they will take this club gig excitement to big arenas!
Yes， because Van Halen is one of the few legendary rock bands who still is able to tour arenas.
Big arena tour with club gig intimacy and intensity.
Something only Van Halen can do in this era.
They， again， will show the world what Rockn’Roll is all about.
With the LOUDEST sound.
While other rival bands making records to end the history of Rockn’Roll， only Van Halen made an album which defines the next 100 years of Rockn’Roll.
I have no word to describe how great thing this is.
This is the right album for the right time. This will be the turning point of Rockn’Roll history.
Van Halen is about to start their new history of Rockn’Roll.
Van Halen is in the lead， again.
This is a “pre-release” review of the upcoming Van Halen album， “A Different Kind of Truth”.
It is based on the expectation， assumption， and guess.
I did this because I am a huge fan of Van Halen.
We are a Christian rock band from Japan.
Why is a guy from Christian band writing about Van Halen?
Because， off course， we were heavily influenced by them.
It is no secret our all time No.1 favorite band is Van Halen.
You say Van Halen has never been a Christian band?
Maybe you are right.
But maybe you are wrong.
Gary Cherone is one of the most famous Christian rock musicians in heavy metal scene， which gave the depth to the lyrics of Extreme songs.
(“Without You” clearly sounds like a Christian song?)
Sammy Hager was singing about his unique religious perspective in songs like “Best of Both Worlds” and “Mine All Mine”， but in his Post-Van-Halen works he sounds more like a conservative Christian. (If I understand his English correctly)
And… Wikipedia says Alex Van Halen is now a ordained minister and presided at the weddings of Eddie in 2009.
God bless Mighty Van Halen!
Tak / Imari Tones