Sometimes things fall into place at exactly the right time; when Van Halen hit their peak in popularity with 1984, I was at that point in my life when I was really getting into music. Right from the intro guitar solo I was captured…the album (cassette) kept rolling along with one fabulous song after another: “Jump,” “Panama,” “Top Jimmy,” “Hot for Teacher,” “I’ll Wait,” etc. I connected with the music, the incredible guitar sounds, the smart lyrics, the thundering drums, and a beat that would not quit. I had found my band, bought the entire back catalogue, and would listen to them one after another.

Then there was the whole DLR solo thing – Van Halen kind of fell off the radar - what would happen? Who was going to do the vocals? Could a band recover from losing a showman like Dave? Then came 5150 – right from the screaming intro to “Good Enough,” a love affair was rekindled. What followed was thirty-four years of drama, frustration, and hope. How could I not read Eruption to find out why and how it had all gone so horribly wrong straight from the horse’s mouth (or as close as we can now get)?

I learned quite a bit about the internal workings of my favorite band: the dysfunction, the jealousy, the egos that made up my rock gods. I was disappointed with many of the things that my childhood rock and roll idols said and did (be careful what you wish for).

As far as the book and the writing, I was disappointed again. Within the three hundred and thirty-seven pages was a whole lot of repetition. The chapters are formatted with a well written, entertaining narrative that gave illuminating insights into the world of Edward Van Halen; this would be followed by an interlude, with some interview of someone involved in Eddie’s musical life and closed out with an interview with the guitar god himself. I found each of these sections to be redundant. Most of the details from the narrative were repeated in the interludes and interview; I was reading the same things over again. It felt like the authors were filling in space. If you’re going to write three hundred pages – give me three hundred pages – not one fifty.

In the end, I wanted to know why my dream never came true. That these adults could not put their egos aside and understand who it was that made them all the multi-millionaires they became: the fans! I wanted that live show where they could go seamlessly from: “And the Cradle will Rock,” to “When It’s Love,” to “Yankee Rose,” and “I Can’t Drive 55;” hell, I could even take Eddie and Gary alone on stage – it could be an epic “More Than Words.” I’m sure I’m not alone. I guess it never happened because of time.

*3.5 Stars


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Eruption: Conversations with Eddie Van Halen

By Brad Tolinski

& Chris Gill

    2 Book Lovers Reviews