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Biographies: Van Halen

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Reviewer: Iluvthe80s

The brothers Alex and Edward were born in Holland in 1955 and 1957 respectively, where they lived until 1965, when the Van Halen's moved to Pasadena, California. They were a musical family. Jan, their father, was an accomplished clarinet player and Alex and Ed were both originally trained as concert pianists. Their interests then shifted towards more popular music, so they changed their instrument of choice; Ed's being drums and Alex's the guitar. Ed had a paper route to pay for his drum set, so while he was out delivering them, Alex would play his drums. Eventually, Alex got better than Edward, so he started playing Alex's guitar. This seemed to work out rather nicely, so this way it stayed.

After high school, playing in various cover bands, Ed was handling the lead singing duties. They rented their P.A. from David Lee Roth, who was in a local band The Red Ball Jets. He had moved to Pasadena with his father from Bloomington, Indiana in 1972. Ed, hating to sing lead vocals, convinced Dave to join the band which was later named Mammoth.

One gig they shared the bill with a band called Snake, who's lead singer and bass player was Michael Anthony, from Chicago, Illinois. The band invited Mike to jam with them, then later asked him to join the band. Being very impressed with them, he agreed and joined Mammoth.

Realizing another band had layed claim to the name Mammoth, the boys tossed around some new names, (one of them being Rat Salade), until they finally decided upon Van Halen.

While playing at an LA club called The Starwood, Gene Simmons spots them and decides to produce a demo for them. (On it was an early version of "House of Pain" and "Runnin' with the Devil", complete with car horn which served as a transition between the two songs.) Ed was a little uncomforable in the studio, playing on someone elses equipment and not being used to the idea of multi-track recording. The demo is rejected by all major studios.

In 1977, a year after making the demo, Warner Brothers producer Ted Templeman spots them at the same club that Gene first saw them. He convinces partner Mo Ostin to sign the band, and in February 1978, Van Halen is released.

And the world was a little better place.

Six platium albums later, in 1985, Dave decided to leave the band to pursue solo interests. The band tossed around the idea of doing an album with different singers on each song, before deciding to look for a permanent replacement.

While at a Lamborghini repair shop called Claudio's, Ed mentions that he is looking for a new singer. Claudio, in turn, mentions Sammy Hagar, who was in the band Montrose and now a successful solo artist, who's Lamborghini is also in the shop. Ed calls him, and they set up a time for him to meet the band.

After a short business meeting, they decide to jam. Eddie plays a song he had been working on, which Sammy began singing impromptu lyrics to. This song, with much of these original lyrics intact became "Summer Nights." They got along great, and a new line-up was found. Their next album was 5150, which went to #1, a first for the band. After that they have had continued success, with every one of their studio albums being certified multi-platinum.

Now after 11 years with Sammy Hagar, Van Halen surprises us with a "new" singer, David Lee Roth returns to the band to be part of the Greatest Hits Album and records 2 songs to be included in the material, he is not member of Van Halen.

Gary Cherone former lead vocalist of the band Extreme became the new member of Van Halen replacing Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth.

SOURCE: VanHalen.com

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