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Van Halen: Exuberant California, Zen Rock'n'roll by John Scanlan
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  1. #1
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    Van Halen: Exuberant California, Zen Rock'n'roll by John Scanlan

    Sorry if this is a repeat thread, but has anyone read this?

    Reviews, opinions?
    "we sound like a goddamn rock band!"

    --David Lee Roth, Stockholm, Sweden, 1984

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    It's GREAT! Easily the best book about VH ever written. It's a "real" book, as opposed to a collection of information from articles and interviews, that you have likely already read. The writer analyzes the band, and tries to place them in a historical and sociological context. I can't say enough good things about this book.
    It can't be "Van Halen" without Roth, any more than it can be "Van Halen" without Eddie.


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    Looking at Amazon, sounds like it's more about the environment around Van Halen that helped them to happen rather than a biography.

    Having just visited Los Angeles a couple of times, I could see how Van Halen, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and No Doubt would emerge from a place like that. All three of those bands embody that city. It also made me start seeing how you get more "earth tone" bands like the Black Crowes and R.E.M. here. So I realized for a band to succeed, it has to somehow blend in and be representative of where it came from.

    And that's what this book sounds like it's about.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ice Cream Man View Post
    Looking at Amazon, sounds like it's more about the environment around Van Halen that helped them to happen rather than a biography.

    Having just visited Los Angeles a couple of times, I could see how Van Halen, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and No Doubt would emerge from a place like that. All three of those bands embody that city. It also made me start seeing how you get more "earth tone" bands like the Black Crowes and R.E.M. here. So I realized for a band to succeed, it has to somehow blend in and be representative of where it came from.

    And that's what this book sounds like it's about.
    It's a biography too! It's just more insightful than the color by numbers bios that are typical of most band bios. The best part for me is hearing more about Roth's connection to the underground music scene in LA. These are people and places that I sometimes run into, and Roth was more adventurous socially than the rest of the band (cough). He had a social life "off the Strip", and beyond just hanging out at the Rainbow.
    Last edited by 1234over; January 27th, 2013 at 05:08 PM.
    It can't be "Van Halen" without Roth, any more than it can be "Van Halen" without Eddie.


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    Quote Originally Posted by 1234over View Post
    It's a biography too! It's just more insightful than the color by numbers bios that are typical of most band bios. The best part for me is hearing more about Roth's connection to the underground music scene in LA. These are people and places that I sometimes run into, and Roth was more adventurous socially than the rest of the band (cough). He had a social life "off the Strip", and beyond just hanging out at the Rainbow.
    I recently heard a spoken word thing from Henry Rollins that was posted at the Links, and he says he was at a gallery dropping off some of Raymond Pettibon's drawings and David Lee Roth said, "Black Flag, right?," and approached him. I thought, I find it kinda hard to believe Dave was keeping up with who Black Flag and Henry Rollins were, but on the other hand, he wrote an ode to Top Jimmy, so why not?

    (Here's a tangent.) I remember in the mid-80's David Letterman was interviewing Iggy Pop, and Iggy said something about being in L.A. Dave said, "Have you ever heard a band called Top Jimmy and the Rhythm Pigs?" Iggy said he had, and they were great! I thought that was kinda funny, even button-down Letterman was onto Top Jimmy. Must've been great.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ice Cream Man View Post
    I recently heard a spoken word thing from Henry Rollins that was posted at the Links, and he says he was at a gallery dropping off some of Raymond Pettibon's drawings and David Lee Roth said, "Black Flag, right?," and approached him. I thought, I find it kinda hard to believe Dave was keeping up with who Black Flag and Henry Rollins were, but on the other hand, he wrote an ode to Top Jimmy, so why not?

    (Here's a tangent.) I remember in the mid-80's David Letterman was interviewing Iggy Pop, and Iggy said something about being in L.A. Dave said, "Have you ever heard a band called Top Jimmy and the Rhythm Pigs?" Iggy said he had, and they were great! I thought that was kinda funny, even button-down Letterman was onto Top Jimmy. Must've been great.
    You didn't read this book ICM?

    I have seen some Youtube footage of Top Jimmy, but I think it was something you had to be there to really get. Roth was never a metal head, and SoCal Hardcore was a big deal, and on the news a lot, etc. (I can't stand SoCal Hardcore music, but I love plenty of punk rock). Roth kept his finger on the pulse, and was a silent partner in an art gallery/afterhours club that featured many DIY/punk bands (NOT METAL!). It pisses me off that so many punks think they are too cool for VH, but DLR was instrumental in developing that scene.
    It can't be "Van Halen" without Roth, any more than it can be "Van Halen" without Eddie.


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    Quote Originally Posted by 1234over View Post
    You didn't read this book ICM?
    Oh, yeah! When his radio show went off (not that I could get it here, I burned the MP3's to CD and listened to it) I bought the book off of E-Bay in hardcover. I especially love the few pages where he gives music business advice. "Visit your lawyer's office after noon and see if his pants are wrinkled. If they aren't, he isn't working."

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ice Cream Man View Post
    Oh, yeah! When his radio show went off (not that I could get it here, I burned the MP3's to CD and listened to it) I bought the book off of E-Bay in hardcover. I especially love the few pages where he gives music business advice. "Visit your lawyer's office after noon and see if his pants are wrinkled. If they aren't, he isn't working."
    I mean the John Scanlan book. It gets more in depth about this stuff than "Crazy From The Heat". I dare say this book is BETTER than Roth's, because Roth can't really talk about himself in the same way. Roth can't say "I was very important to the underground music scene in LA" he can only allude to it. I swear I posted links to interviews with the author (maybe a deleted thread?). He is also the author of a book about ...garbage. Garbage and what it reveals about a culture. He is an interesting guy (from Scotland!). Hear is a radio interview (if you care)... http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/...arbage/3343084
    It can't be "Van Halen" without Roth, any more than it can be "Van Halen" without Eddie.


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    Quote Originally Posted by 1234over View Post
    I mean the John Scanlan book. It gets more in depth about this stuff than "Crazy From The Heat". I dare say this book is BETTER than Roth's, because Roth can't really talk about himself in the same way. Roth can't say "I was very important to the underground music scene in LA" he can only allude to it. I swear I posted links to interviews with the author (maybe a deleted thread?). He is also the author of a book about ...garbage. Garbage and what it reveals about a culture. He is an interesting guy (from Scotland!). Hear is a radio interview (if you care)... http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/...arbage/3343084
    Oh, I took "this book" to be a typo for "his book," meaning Roth's. No, I haven't seen the Scanlan book. It sounds "up my alley," though. I get into pondering those aspects of things myself.

    On Top Jimmy - I just checked out some YouTube clips. Would you say there's a lot of bands doing that type of thing in L.A., or no?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ice Cream Man View Post
    Oh, I took "this book" to be a typo for "his book," meaning Roth's. No, I haven't seen the Scanlan book. It sounds "up my alley," though. I get into pondering those aspects of things myself.

    On Top Jimmy - I just checked out some YouTube clips. Would you say there's a lot of bands doing that type of thing in L.A., or no?
    Not really, that generation is a bit out of my neighborhood. Maybe in the Valley, where rockers of that generation bought homes. Nowadays i would say the equivalent are bands along the lines of Vintage Trouble. A fair amount of "older" musicians (like me) playing kind of early 70's Soul-inflected Rock.
    It can't be "Van Halen" without Roth, any more than it can be "Van Halen" without Eddie.


 

 

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