1978. AC/DC puts out the classic Powerage. Judas Priest release Stained Class. Scorpions drop on the public Taken By Force. What do these three albums have in common?
They all stalled on the American Charts! None of them cracked the Billboard Top 100 unlike the four long hairs from Pasadena California calling themselves Van Halen.
David Lee Roth/Eddie and Alex Van Halen along with Michael Anthony did what AC/DC,Judas Priest and Scorpions couldn’t do in the United States and that’s sell records.
Van Halen’s debut titled simply enough Van Halen got as high as 19 on the Billboard Album Charts selling over 2 million copies. If your thinking overnight success not really and Greg does a very in-depth detailed look at the years leading up to 1978 and the release of the debut album. That’s as far as the book goes and it’s a awesome representation of the early years and struggles of Van Halen. Believe it or not they worked there asses off and it as we all know paid off in spades but getting there for these guys was tough.
Van Halen Uprising explains it all!
Greg did his homework here. Well over 200 interviews with people associated with the early years of Van Halen. Plus as an added bonus there are pictures of the earliest incarnations of Pre VH of photos who played with Ed and Alex and also pics after Anthony joined.(pics I have never ever seen) Too be honest I’m not big on unauthorized books except for this one as Greg interviews key people to give this book a ton of legitimacy like Pete Angelus (who toured and worked for Halen and with Roth when he went solo) Neil Zlowzer(photographer) and the two biggies to gain street cred with me and that’s Ted Templemen(VH’s Producer) and Michael Anthony(VH’s bass player)
One of the many great things about this book are things that I didn’t even know about Van Halen is that Ed and Alex had auditioned David Lee Roth as far back as 1971 and he failed 4 auditions with the brothers. I’m not gonna give it away but the friction between Roth and Van Halen was boiling long before 1978 rolled around. Some of the earliest band names of VH were Trojan Rubber Company,Genesis(until they heard about the British Genesis) and Mammoth(which I had read about).
The Brothers VH went through a few bass players before settling on Michael Anthony and the real deal of this book for myself is Greg goes at detail when VH opened for U.F.O and better still when the one and only Gene Simmons shows up and begins working with VH! For every Kiss and Van Halen fan out their was always talked that Gene had Ed play on some Kiss demos around the time of Love Gun. Greg goes into great detail on this time frame of the Simmons/VH alliance fallout and disappointment that VH were dealt with. (Course we know the ending) this part is the Meat And Potatoes of the book!
We also get to read how Warner Brothers Records came to signing the band. It’s all here. No stone is left unturned!
What’s another real slick move on Greg’s part is his breakdown almost dairy like of the recording of the debut album. Greg places dates and this is not a bunch of B.S as its Ted Templemen (VH’s producer of the first 6 studio albums) giving the timeline of the debut albums recording.
Of course there’s also the tour details of Van Halen’s first Arena Tour opening for Black Sabbath and countless others. Also In true record company fashion you can read about the sordid details of how VH sells 2 million copies of their debut yet owe Warner Brothers 1 million dollars!
Welcome to the biz boys!
This is a totally awesome read! Hunt this book down its well worth it. Greg digs deep with interviewing a ton of people associated around VH(Templemen) and in VH (Anthony). I have even seen with my own eyes Billy Sheehan and Gregg Bisonette (Roths Bass Player and Drummer on the Eat EM And Smile Album and Skyscraper releases) even call Uprising a must read!
I could go on but Nope…buy this book and support a music fan (Renoff) who took the initiative to tell the story of Van Halens origins to a fan (myself) who has followed Van Halen for 36 years yet new little about their pre 1978 history.
Bravo Mr Renoff!