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Van Halen Rising Book - Forbes Article
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  1. #1
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    Van Halen Rising Book - Forbes Article

    Van Halen Rising Book article by Ruth Blatt.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/ruthblat...-entrepreneur/



    The Early Days Of Van Halen, David Lee Roth's Entrepreneurial Streak And Why Every Creative Team Needs An Entrepreneur


    Entrepreneurial skills aren’t crucial just for starting companies. They are crucial for initiating any creative commercial endeavor. A new biography argues that without the entrepreneurial skills of David Lee Roth, none of us would have heard of Van Halen.

    Histories of Van Halen invariably begin in 1978, when the band released their debut album. Not much is known about the band before then other than that they had gotten their start playing back yard parties and moved up to playing clubs in Los Angeles.

    That is about to change. Greg Renoff, an Associate Professor of History at Drury University and author of The Big Tent: The Traveling Circus in Georgia, 1820-1930, is writing a book about Van Halen’s early days.

    David Lee Roth with Eddie Van Halen (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Renoff explores in depth Van Halen’s reluctant journey from back yard band to superstardom and, in particular, the role of David Lee Roth’s ambition and entrepreneurial skills. Unlike the Van Halen brothers (Alex on drums and Eddie on guitar), Roth came from money. He owned amplification equipment, and he used it to work his way into

    “The Van Halens were always looking to scrounge equipment because they didn’t have a lot of money,” told me Renoff. “One thing that Roth did was use his PA system as leverage. He’d say things like, ‘You guys can use the PA system but how about I sing a song tonight?’” Eddie Van Halen was the band’s singer at the time, and even though he didn’t have a great voice, the band was not impressed by Roth’s vocal abilities either. But they eventually let Roth joined the band, which consisted of Eddie and Alex and bassist Michael Anthony, in 1973.

    Roth’s presence stirred up the band. Whereas the Van Halen brothers were into heavy metal, Roth loved the Beach Boys, Motown and funk. “Those guys wanted to have Roth sing Black Sabbath, but Roth can’t sing Black Sabbath. He wanted to do things like James Brown’s ‘Cold Sweat.’” The outcome of this negotiation was a hard rock band with a pop sensibility.

    Roth also began pushing the rest of the band to think beyond playing back yard concerts. According to Renoff, the Van Halens were content making good money playing shows in the Pasadena area that they would promote themselves for thousands of kids at a time. Roth pushed them to audition at clubs and expand their reach. He also pushed them to start dressing up. He wanted them to become rock stars, and for that they needed to look the part.

    “They were wearing jeans and t-shirts, flannel shirts. It was grunge wear before grunge. They would wear Pendleton shirts and overalls,” said Renoff. “Roth told them they needed to glam it up, to wear stage

    Eventually they end up getting a gig playing in a Hollywood club called Gazzarri’s, which became the epicenter of hair-metal in the 1980s. “At the time Gazzarri’s was a dying club. Its moment had passed. It was much more of a 1960s go-go dancer place,” said Renoff. “But the owner, Bill Gazzarri, would advertise on a local radio station and they would say ‘Tonight at Gazzarri’s, Van Halen.’ Their name was on the marquee and it was a start for them.”

    Gazzarri’s was a cover band club, not the kind of place where bands that write original songs get discovered and signed by record labels. Record executives look for bands that have an album’s-worth of original material. But at Gazzarri’s, Van Halen was expected to play disco songs and pop hits.

    Yet Roth was a savvy networker and created opportunities where there were none. He would take advantage of the occasional visit to Gazzarri’s from people like radio DJ Rodney Bingenheimer and Kim Fowley, who managed The Runaways. Roth was a relentless self-promoter and got Van Halen on their radar. “I’m not saying the brothers were completely clueless about business, they weren’t,” said Renoff. “But Roth was the guy who was willing to get out front and promote, promote, promote. Of course they never would have made it without Eddie writing the songs and without their talents. But Roth was the guy who said, ‘Look at me!’”

    Van Halen had original songs, and through Bingenheimer they got a gig playing their songs at the Starwood, a club owned by the infamous Eddie Nash. According to Renoff, the Van Halens were again hesitant about leaving their comfortable Gazzarri’s gig. But Roth convinced them to make the leap to a place where they could showcase their original material and play alongside bands like ZZ Top. It wasn’t long before a deal with Warner Brothers materialized.

    David Lee Roth’s entrepreneurial spirit eventually rubbed off on the Van Halen brothers. In the early 1980s, Eddie Van Halen formed a relationship with Kramer Guitars to make the Eddie Van Halen Guitar and later he created the EVH brand that offers a complete line of guitar, guitar straps, amplifiers, strings and other gear.

    “Eddie’s evolution is really interesting in that he went from a guy who was reticent about promotion, who didn’t want to dress up in stage clothes and who didn’t want to take risks to where now he realizes that you’re a business you have to market yourself,” said Renoff.

    When David Lee Roth left Van Halen in 1985 to pursue a solo career, they replaced him with someone just as entrepreneurial: Sammy Hagar. Hagar founded the Cabo Wabo Tequila brand and restaurant chain, in partnership with the Van Halen brothers, as well as Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, which he sold to Gruppo Campari for $91 million.

    “By the 1990s, Van Halen had gotten religion about how to run a business,” said Renoff. Having an entrepreneur on their team from the start helped Van Halen turn their musical talent into a successful

    Greg Renoff’s book, Van Halen Rising, will be published by ECW Press
    Last edited by Heisenberg; May 25th, 2014 at 11:59 PM.

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    Van Halen Rising Facebook Page

    https://www.facebook.com/vanhalenrising




    Last edited by Heisenberg; May 26th, 2014 at 12:04 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Heisenberg View Post
    Van Halen Rising Facebook Page

    https://www.facebook.com/vanhalenrising





    The above is pretty much true.......

    All of the older "dinosaur bands" were either on their way out or towards the latter part of their careers. Then you had established acts like Styx and Foreigner and the like which couldn't hold a candle to CVH as well as disco and punk.
    Ill have to get Roths book out of the cabinet and reread the bit and I quote "the brothers make the music and the jew sells it" or something like that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Achilleslastand View Post
    The above is pretty much true.......

    All of the older "dinosaur bands" were either on their way out or towards the latter part of their careers. Then you had established acts like Styx and Foreigner and the like which couldn't hold a candle to CVH as well as disco and punk.
    Ill have to get Roths book out of the cabinet and reread the bit and I quote "the brothers make the music and the jew sells it" or something like that.
    Yeah, that is exactly the quote.

    Mind you, I've often been perplexed by the idea that the hard rock acts were really on their way out. Look at all those huge stadium shows from the mid seventies right through to the early 80's.

    I guess what's being referred to is the record sales, and media attention of pop culture at the time, and niteclub scenes.

    Even still, there were always hard rock in most of the Creem, Circus, and other magazines that I read at the time. I remember it well. KISS, Aerosmith, Nugent, Cheap Trick, The Stones, etc, etc. Then the heavy metal of the early 80's. Kind of my favorite era of music in many ways, 1974 to 1984.

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    Definitely looking to buy this when it's available.
    http://imgur.com/Yij2gqN

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    Cool article, but some of it seemed like misinterpreted Van Halen legends, or overly simplified conclusions that were included to make the article an easy read. Nothing there that we don't already know. Did they "play alongside ZZ Top", or play ZZ Top songs? Were the Van Halen brothers "reluctant" to gain more success? Did Roth really ask to "sing a song tonight" while renting his PA to the VH brothers? Is it true that Roth "can't sing Black Sabbath" (I bet he could), or just that he didn't WANT to do Sabbath songs?

    We all know Roth was in the band BEFORE Michael Anthony....

    I know these are minor, and it's cool for the book to get some promotion, but it annoys me to see misinformation tossed around.
    It can't be "Van Halen" without Roth, any more than it can be "Van Halen" without Eddie.


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    Being the author is stating it's not your usual VH book....that's got me excited.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 1234over View Post
    Cool article, but some of it seemed like misinterpreted Van Halen legends, or overly simplified conclusions that were included to make the article an easy read. Nothing there that we don't already know. Did they "play alongside ZZ Top", or play ZZ Top songs? Were the Van Halen brothers "reluctant" to gain more success? Did Roth really ask to "sing a song tonight" while renting his PA to the VH brothers? Is it true that Roth "can't sing Black Sabbath" (I bet he could), or just that he didn't WANT to do Sabbath songs?

    We all know Roth was in the band BEFORE Michael Anthony....

    I know these are minor, and it's cool for the book to get some promotion, but it annoys me to see misinformation tossed around.
    I don't know,man....Dave singing Sabbath? I honestly don't hear it.Even if it's in his range, heavy music like that just doesn't fit his style.Dave,is just so bluesy,good time sounding.To pull off Black Sabbath,War Pigs,and the like....ya gotta give it a slightly evil tone.I just think it would come off as more bluesy sounding if Dave sang them.

    "I am Iron Man...let's sing a little bit,yeah"

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrideofPasadena View Post
    I don't know,man....Dave singing Sabbath? I honestly don't hear it.Even if it's in his range, heavy music like that just doesn't fit his style.Dave,is just so bluesy,good time sounding.To pull off Black Sabbath,War Pigs,and the like....ya gotta give it a slightly evil tone.I just think it would come off as more bluesy sounding if Dave sang them.

    "I am Iron Man...let's sing a little bit,yeah"
    Point is, there are some misleading comments and interpretations in the article. I don't think that the reason they didn't do Black Sabbath song's was because Roth "can't". He may not have been into them (or maybe they DID do Sabbath at some point...IDK). Roth was able to adapt to pretty much any song well enough for VH to cover it.
    Last edited by 1234over; May 27th, 2014 at 02:35 AM.
    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
    Point is, there are some misleading comments and interpretations in the article. I don't think that the reason they didn't do Black Sabbath song's was because Roth "can't". He may not have been into them (or maybe they DID do Sabbath at some point...IDK). Roth was able to adapt to pretty much any song well enough for VH to cover it.
    I agree.There are a few questionable comments.While,the Sabbath comment might technically be one of them,I don't see it that way.I truly don't think he could've sang Sabbath.I mean,he could've sang them but I don't see how it could've been good.And would've most likely resulted in,let's scrap that and do some ZZ Top,or something.It's like Jagger singing Sabbath...I just don't hear it.

    I do agree the "PA" and "ZZ Top" comments might be stretching it, but there could be other info related to these comments in the book. I'd like to read the book first to form an honest opinion.

 

 

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