Sammy vs. Dave: And the Better Van Halen Vocalist is…

music musings, beaverdamusa.comI have avoided this topic for my blog for a while now because I just couldn’t wrap my mind around how to present it, and it would probably be long enough for two blogs.  The topic? David Lee Roth vs. Sammy Hagar.  For the record, we will treat Van Halen III (with Gary Cherone) like a tequila-infused night at Panama City Beach’s Club La Vela.  Deny. Deny. Deny.

First some background – Van Halen has been my favorite band since their self-titled debut album was released in 1978.  I have been to probably close to 30 shows since the Fair Warning tour and often went to multiple shows on the same tour.  I have always been a fan of Eddie’s guitar work, Alex’s drumming, and Michael Anthony’s bass, and even DLR’s frontman antics for a while – then I got older.

When Sammy joined the band, he not only brought one of the best rock & roll voices, but he brought musicianship.  On his first tour, he was even gutsy enough to play guitar on stage with Eddie and even trade licks on “Only One Way to Rock”.  I was hooked on the Sammy era of Van Halen.  Looking back on the DLR era was like looking back at your high school shenanigans – they were childish and you wondered what the hell you were thinking.  All of a sudden, the martial arts moves, the sword twirling, and “I’m so f’ed up, I forgot the words” became an annoyance.  The sad thing about all the comings and goings of lead singers is that it keeps probably the greatest rock guitar player of all time from putting music out.

Eddie and Alex basically stayed in obscurity and didn’t put any new music out.  Sammy went on and put out several solo albums, created a new group called Chickenfoot (which rocks by the way), continued to tour, and just recently formed a new band called the Circle.  He would occasionally have Michael Anthony playing with him.  Eddie then kicked Michael Anthony out of Van Halen and replaced him with his son, Wolfgang.  While one can understand wanting to play with your son, bass players can be replaced, but the distinctive backing vocals of Michael Anthony can’t be replaced.

If you haven’t heard, Van Halen has released a live album recorded in Tokyo back in 2012.  Eddie was quoted in an article as saying they record basically every show, but they let DLR go through and pick the best vocal show.  Did they “fix” some vocals in post-production?  Who knows?  I do know that in 2012, they cancelled half the tour and played the Tokyo show after several weeks off.  Based on the Nashville show (which was about five shows before the tour ended), DLR’s voice needed rest or even retirement.

Van Halen kicked off their tour with an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s show where they performed on Hollywood Boulevard.  About that same time, Sammy releases a live cut of the Circle playing the Sammy-era classic “When It’s Love”.  It provides an opportunity to compare both lead singers (much like the highly-touted Sam and Dave tour).  Sammy’s voice still sounds great while sadly, DLR has become even more clownish in the way he acts on stage, his voice is shot, and he skips words on basically every song.  Between DLR’s crappy vocals and the missing sound of Michael Anthony, just give me a karaoke track of Eddie playing and I will be happy.  However, I will let you decide:

Musing in Nashville


P.S.  For EVH fans, the Van Halen New Desk ( has a great article on how DLR cut his nose on Fallon ().  The best part of the article was the fan video which captured about five minutes of EVH “noodling “while they kill time waiting on DLR to get his nose taped.

2014 Christmas Wishes

musings 250_edited-1Christmas. It’s coming, and in fact, it will be here within a week of when I write this.  Guess I had better be making that list for the Christmas Eve Wally World run.  I naturally thought about writing about my favorite Christmas songs, but then I wondered if I did that last year.  My crack investigative skills revealed that I mused about my favorite Christmas songs last year (    As I write this, Kenny Chesney just confirmed my musing for this week.  I was toying with the idea of compiling a musical Christmas list when KC’s “A Lot of Things Different” came on the iPod.  So here is my Christmas list of all things musical.

  • Another chance to see Glen Campbell at the Ryman – For some reason, I passed on his farewell tour when it stopped at the Ryman.  Wish I had that one back.
  • New music from Eddie Van Halen – Give me anything Eddie.  Transpose the phone book into music and send it out.  Been too long.
  • A Nashville appearance by Sammy Hagar – Sammy is slowing cutting down his touring schedule.  Would like to have one more chance to see him solo.
  • A clear way to store of my family’s music on the cloud and we all have access to it – but keep e-mails, etc. separate.  This is my project for the new year.
  • That year’s worth of concerts at the Ryman they keep advertising on Facebook – The Ryman has become my favorite concert venue and they are getting some great acts.  Of course, I realize I am now old – I don’t recognize the names of acts that sell out two nights there while my favorites wind up on Groupon.
  • Another chance to talk to Charlie Daniels – saw him in the valet parking line waiting for his car at Vanderbilt Medical Center this past year.  My car was there and traffic was waiting on me to get in and drive off, so I didn’t talk to him.
  • An unlimited iTunes card – I keep coming up with these songs to download…..

I realize that I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams, so I am content with just continuing to blog and have you read it – well, except for the Sammy show.  I will not be appearing on your monitor until after Christmas, so I hope that you have a great Christmas, enjoy time with loved ones, and think about those less fortunate.  Also, if you could, please forward the musing to your friends, post to your Facebook wall, or re-tweet.  It is the gift that is cheap and hopefully will make you think occasionally.

Merry Christmas!

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