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Van Halen to Tour, “Best of: Volume 1″ Not Presumptuous?

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David Lee Roth Assless Chaps

It has been roughly a decade since my interest in Van Halen plateaued; Van Halen mind you, not Van Hagar. I was young, I was innocent and I was just learning the ropes of rock and roll. Having had recently picked up No One Here Gets Out Alive, the acclaimed Jim Morrison biography, I thought it would be fitting to delve a little deeper into the world of rock frontman grandeur with the (at the time) newly released David Lee Roth autobiography Crazy from the Heat. It blew my young mind; stories of crazy backyard parties (and sex), selling out headlining tours (and sex), and midgets (and sex). I loved Van Halen, and they must have loved me back because just as my interest was peaking the band released new original material with DLR for their greatest hits collection, Van Halen: Best of Volume 1. But even at the time I thought it a bit much to suggest that the best was yet to come, eventually to be showcased with “Van Halen: Best of Volume 2.”

And I was right. Roth was fired barely after finalizing the track’s production. Former Extreme singer Gary Cherone fronted what was to be a new era for the group, which shortly crumbled there after. Sammy Hagar reunited and toured with the band before quitting. Hagar and Roth even took a stab at a tour together in which they rotated the headlining position but that too didn’t pan out as their egos collided. Bassist Michael Anthony, who had joined Hagar and Roth for thier “Best of the Other Half Tour,” made it public that he had only played on three tracks on the Cherone-lead III album and was discouraged from playing with the group during its 2004 reunion tour before being officially fired from the band (to be replaced by Eddie’s fifteen year old son Wolfgang). Roth took time off from training to become an EMT to replace Howard Stern for what would be an extremely short lived radio show disaster. Oh, and Eddie Van Halen soundtracked a porn movie.

There is only one Van Halen.

But somehow, some way, through the past decade of ridiculousness I lost touch with the band, as many of their millions of fans have. But with the announcement of a new tour featuring Eddie, Alex, DLR and Wolfie was immediately a surprising amount of interest and buzz around the internet. I can’t explain it. The announcement of the band’s upcoming induction into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame seems to have reignited a spark in fans that hasn’t been seen since the soundtrack to Twister was released. And though he’s lost the long locks (still a brunette?), and Eddie has lost his mind (and much of his voice) Van Halen (the band) still apparently holds a place deep in the hearts of its fans. Turn on any mainstream rock radio station in the country and before long you’ll still hear some Van Halen (and to a lesser degree Van Hagar).

So, whether or not they pull this as-yet-to-be-made-official forty date amphitheater tour off, it has shown that there are still a ton of fans still getting their kicks from (personal favorite) “Atomic Punk,” “Panama” and “Runnin’ With The Devil.” It has also shown that in the minds of your fans, until Buckethead signs on for the reunion, Van Halen has not gone too far. So with that in mind, as Scott Stereogum insisted on flying splits, I think that if the tour does come together, it wouldn’t be too much to request at least one date with assless chaps.