An Open Letter to Eddie Van Halen
On the Occasion of putting the final nail in the VH coffin
[please see update below]
MTV is reporting that next season's installment of Rock Star (the reality show that just placed a new lead singer for INXS) will be Van Halen. Apparently this was big news last night, as I received, oh, about 72 emails with various links to the many stories out there about this.
My first reaction? Ok, count to ten before you punch the wall. No, count to twenty before you hunt Eddie down and kill him.
[Deep, mournful sigh]
I'm just going to pretend to tell Eddie how I feel.
Well, you're at it again. The road to ruin takes another detour as you try to find yet another way to hang on to your rock star status before you self implode and end up in an alley somewhere.
I love you, Eddie - in that rock-star god kind of way. I appreciate everything you brought to the genre and I am the first to bring up your name in "greatest guitar players" conversations. But come on, man. Stop wearing your ass on your hat, if you know what I mean.
I think any time a lead singer leaves a band, that band should not carry on with its original name. A new singer changes the dynamic, the entire face of the band. It becomes different. So I was a little taken aback when you all decided to carry on the VH name without Dave. But, hey - your band, your prerogative. And this really has nothing to do with Sammy or Gary Cherone.
Well, yes it does. It has to do with you (and we know it's you, Eddie, and not Michael Anthony or even Alex, who most people couldn't pick out of a lineup) and the way you have bastardized the Van Halen name ever since the first break up. I don't want to get into the whole Eddie v. Sammy/Gary thing, but it's just part and parcel of the bigger picture. The fact is, Eddie, that you have never thought of anyone but yourself, least of all the fans who bought your records, went to your show, lifted you to rock god status, and stood by you even when it was apparent that you had become a belligerent, drunken jackass.
I'm not sure what you're trying to prove by agreeing to do this show. Is it that you want to hang on to rock and roll lifestyle for a bit more? Or is that you are finally read to let go of the last shred of dignity you might have had and just go down in blazing flames finally? Really, this isn't so much about the band appearing on Rock Star as it is with your insistence on carrying on with the Van Halen name. Yea, it's your name. But how hard would be to change the band to Eddie Van Halen and the Nancy Boys? Well, that's just an example, but you know what I mean. To keep pretending to be something you are not - the Van Halen of old - just makes you look like an old man who sweeps those few remaining strands of hair over his balding scalp. You can look in the mirror and pretend you are VH all you want, it doesn't make it so.
People are laughing at you, Eddie. They are reading this article and talking about it many rock forums and the words being used the most are pathetic and washed-up and fucking asshole. And this isn't just DLR fans like me, but from the stalwarts who stuck with you even through the abomination known as Van Halen III, and even the newer generation of VH fans, the young kids like my son who recognize the band for what they were, not what they are now. How am I going to tell him? This will be worse than when he found out there was no Santa Claus, worse than when the Yankees lost to the Red Sox. Reality tv? Searching for a lead singer on a weekly show filled with drama, fighting between band members, wannabe David Lee Roth's and, jesus, man, Eddie Van Halen doing his guitar god thing on reality tv. It sounds like a joke.
You should have quit trying to resurrect VH a long time ago. You should have given the band another name and moved on. You have turned one of the most celebrated hard rock bands into an embarrassment. I would have rather seen VH appear on an episode of "What Ever Happened To..," than to have them brought to life again in this incarnation. Embarrassing, Eddie. For you, for VH fans, for everyone except the producers of the show who know damn well that everyone will be turning in to see this train wreck.
Thanks for killing whatever good name VH had left, Eddie. Why don't you just f-f-f-ade away like most rock stars?
A former fan of yours
Update: Yes, I know this has been debunked and VH will NOT be appearing on the show. See my new post on that here.