You probably remember hearing “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats or “Focus” by Hocus Pocus at some point in your life. Most likely you heard these songs and thought they were freaking amazing, even though they may have been about the oddest songs you’ve ever heard.”It’s safe to dance?” Really? I still remember the first time I heard “Focus.” The song was so odd, yet I could not bring myself to turn it off.
And then after it was finished, I immediately wanted to listen to it again. As weird as it was, the song was still magnificent in its own right. Rock and roll has a lot of songs like that. They are the strangest things we’ve ever listened to, yet they are so enjoyable that we want to hear them over and over again. I’ve decided to reminisce for this edition of Vie’s Verses. Take a stroll down memory lane with me as I try to recall the oddest hard rock songs that still rocked like no other.
David Lee Roth – Hot Dog And A Shake
After parting ways with Van Halen, Diamond Dave went out on his own and released a fantastic album in Eat ‘Em And Smile. He then followed that up with the brilliant Skyscraper. The addition of Billy Sheehan and Steve Vai as band members only added to the greatness of each of these records. And while not every song was a huge hit or an unforgettable anthem, there was always one song that stood out to me as a great tune that I never understood lyrically—“Hot Dog And A Shake.” According to Dave, that’s what you’re hungry for. And while the lyrics may be ultra-corny, the music was so fabulous, that I found myself singing along after just a few listens. Steve Vai’s solo is one of the greatest on the entire album and the riff just made this song so addicting. And yet, it’s about hot dogs and shakes. To this day, I still move my feet and sing along whenever I hear this tune. And yes, I know there are plenty of innuendos in this song. 13 year old me, did not, Okay?
Queen – Bicycle Race
When it comes to Queen, there are several songs that could be chosen as odd and yet still addicting. “Fat Bottomed Girls” came to mind immediately, and while that is a weird song, there are plenty of men with a fetish for big bottomed women. To me, “Bicycle Race” was always the strangest Queen song I had ever heard. And yet, I loved it as much as I loved “Another One Bites The Dust,” and “We Will Rock You.” All Freddie Mercury wants to do is ride his bicycle—yes he wants to ride his bike. “Bicycle Race” could lyrically be one of the dumbest songs in existence, and yet Queen made it a memorable hit that I still enjoy.
White Zombie – Thunder Kiss ’65
I think the biggest part of what makes this song so odd is the fact that without looking up the lyrics, I have no idea what Rob Zombie is singing. Whenever I hear the song I sing along as such: “Blah, blah, meh, meh… NINETEEN SIXTY FIVE…YEAH!!!” Looking at the lyrics to the song just makes me more confused. Pig sweat a million miles? I’ve got a heart atomic style? What the hell does all of that mean? Truthfully, it doesn’t really matter, because “Thunder Kiss ‘65” is one of the hardest rocking songs I’ve ever heard and I will always scream “NINETEEN SIXTY…FIVE…YEAH!” at the top of my lungs any time this song is played within my general vicinity. Zombie may be strange, but he’s a master when it comes to music (and horror movies).
I’m The Man – Anthrax
At the end of the 80s, rap and metal came together and in a creative outburst, “I’m The Man” was born. As a pre-teen, this was one of the coolest songs I had ever heard and it made me fall in love with Anthrax. As a well-seasoned hard rock loving adult, I think the song is just plain silly. And yet, secretly, I still listen to it every now and again to make sure that I remember the lyrics—don’t worry, I do. The song was meant to be campy and comical, and it certainly succeeded in that regard, but the song was also a great rocking tune. Everyone wanted to sing along when this song came on. Everyone. So we learned the lyrics and did our part. To this day I still know the sexual organ located in the lower abdominal area…..! No man, it’s, dick! Not! Not!
Baby Snakes – Hurricane
This is a song about a high school guy that fails miserably in trying to attract a girl he is lusting after, as told through telephone conversations and jaw dropping guitar solos. This song basically summed up my freshman year of high school, so naturally the first time I heard it I was in tears from laughing so hard. Jenny is the subject of the narrator’s lust interest, and as the song opens he is psyching himself up that today is his lucky day, he’s going to ask her to go out and she’s going to say yes. And in his nervous confused state, he dials the wrong number. Enter hard hitting drums by Jay Schellen and some amazing guitar riffs from Robert Sarzo. “Baby Snakes” takes off from there, documenting the failed attempts of the narrator continuing to call Jenny and annoy her to no end. Cleverly put together, “Baby Snakes” remains one of the oddest, yet coolest, rock songs that I have ever heard. If you’ve never heard the song, you need to seek it out. It’s worth the effort.
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It is finally here! The album you have been waiting for since 1984…….. A Different Kind of Truth. It seems like I have been waiting for ages to hear David Lee Roth sing with Van Halen again. I enjoyed the tunes from the brief, but short-lived reunion in 1996, “Can’t Get This Stuff No More”, and “Me Wise Magic” . A Different Kind of Truth is exactly what I have been waiting for…… An album that sounds like classic Van Halen. While I enjoyed the Sammy Hagar years in Van Halen, I have always longed for Van Halen’s return to their classic sound. That is exactly what A Different Kind of Truth sounds like. Classic Van Halen! This album has a massive production, and will please most audiophiles out there.
I am sure there are many of you that would love to have an album that is on a par with Van Halen I. This album isn’t it. If you want a heavy Van Halen album, with tons of guitars and that fun party rock that Van Halen is known for, A Different Kind of Truth will put a big smile on your face.
I read where many folks were slamming the song “Tattoo”, and while I can understand other people’s opinions, I like the song. It kind of reminds me of David Lee Roth’s song “Sensible Shoes” from his 1991 album, A Little Ain’t Enough. It is a catchy song, but it is one of the lesser songs on this CD.
I have to admit that I like the original demo version of “She’s The Woman” better than this latest version. I miss Michael Anthony’s background vocals. This version is good, and if you haven’t the original unreleased version of this song, you will probably love it.
Alex Van Halen makes his presence felt on the song “China Town”. I have always though of Alex as an incredible drummer. He continues to show just how awesome he is by pulverizing his drum kit, with a super fast tempo, and pounding rhythms. This isn’t a song that would be used as a radio single, but it is one of those deep Van Halen tracks that long time fans of the band will appreciate.
“Blood and Fire” screams radio hit. This song isn’t super heavy, and this song could have easily worked in the Hagar years, but David Lee Roth owns this one.
“HoneybabySweetiedoll” has a strange intro, but this is the kind of aggressive VH tune I have been waiting to hear for years! I love this! “The Trouble With Never” is a catchy, heavy rocker that Van Halen should release as their second single. Those fans on the fence after hearing “Tattoo” will certainly jump on the Van Halen train, after hearing “The Trouble With Never”.
“Stay Frosty” has that same type of acoustic guitar style as the Van Halen classic “Ice Cream Man”, but nowhere near as good as that song (which is one of my Van Halen favorites). The song gets a little heavier towards the middle, but even with Eddie Van Halen’s awesome riffs, this song is still one the weaker tracks.
A Different Kind of Truth closes out in strong fashion with two heavy rockers back to back with “Big River” and “Beats Workin”. It often sounds like to be me that David Lee Roth is singing “Big Trouble” in “Big River”, but it is a cool song nonetheless. Eddie tears it up on “Beats Workin'” and rest assured, but the time this song ends, I am hitting repeat to listen to this CD again.
Thanks to the Van Halen clan and David Lee Roth for releasing the Van Halen album, I have been longing for. A Different Kind of Truth is a tremendous comeback album that I can’t stop listening to. All Van Halen fans should pick up immediately. Highly Recommended!
Rating: Out of 10
02. She’s The Woman
03. You and Your Blues
04. China Town
05. Blood and Fire
07. As Is
09. The Trouble With Never
10. Outta Space
11. Stay Frosty
12. Big River
13. Beats Workin’
Van Halen is:
Eddie Van Halen – Guitars
Alex Van Halen – Drums
Wolfgang Van Halen – Bass
David Lee Roth – Vocals
The wait is over! The first new Van Halen song with David Lee Roth in 16 years, “Tattoo” is now available for purchase at iTunes at this link! You can check out Van Halen’s new video for “Tattoo” below!!
If you believe the rumors, it’s a great time to be a Van Halen fan. With Chickenfoot’s new album, Chickenfoot III in stores on September 27th and the rumored David Lee Roth led Van Halen album completed, this fall could be very Van Halen heavy. Add in the Hurtsmile CD from Gary Cherone, who led the extremely underrated VH III, and there’s a whole lot of Van Halen-esque music available for ear consumption. (PS – if you haven’t heard Hurtsmile, you really should check it out).
There’s even a possibility that both Van Halen and Chickenfoot could be on tour at the same time. That idea got me thinking of what the ultimate Van Halen tour would be. While this is high fantasy at its most extreme, I ask you to indulge with me momentarily as we imagine what could be. How amazing would it be if the following actually happened? How much money would you pay to see this fantasy become a reality?
Van Halen on tour with Chickenfoot and Hurtsmile. Now, I know that it’s never going to happen. I know that there is way too much bad blood for this exceptional idea to grow into a completed tour. However, imagine if it did. This is how I would envision the scenario.
Hurtsmile would obviously open the evening. They could perform hits from their debut album and mix in a couple of Extreme classics. Chickenfoot would come out next (sorry Sammy fans, but this is Van Halen’s show all the way) and rip into their performance. Songs from both of their releases, perhaps a little Satriani solo, and maybe even a couple of solo Sammy songs for good measure. Then it would be time for the headliners of the evening – Van Halen. Performing nothing but classics and songs off their latest album, Van Halen would rule the stage. Then Eddie would provide a mind boggling, blistering solo that would wow the crowd like never before. And that would only be the beginning.
After all of that greatness, Eddie and Satriani would step out on stage together for the first “encore”. It would be dueling guitars as they went back and forth. Joe versus Ed. The crowd, if they hadn’t fainted by this point, would be roaring so loud that the roof might cave in.
Then it would be time for “encore” number two. Van Halen back on the stage with Michael Anthony on Bass and Gary Cherone on lead vocals. They could play a song off VH3 (which hasn’t been performed live in 13 years). Next out, would be Sammy to take over the mic. Cue up “Dreams” or some other such beloved Van Hagar song.
And then, the ending of all endings could occur. Diamond Dave would walk out on stage while Sammy, Michael, and Gary are still there. Enter Joe Satriani and Wolfgang, and lead us into the all-star jam to end all all-star jams! Eddie and Joe on lead guitar. Michael and Wolfgang on bass. Alex on drums. Sammy, Dave, and Gary trading versus on some superior classic rock song (probably a Led Zeppelin tune). How amazing would that be?
Now, I ask you honestly, how much would you pay to see that concert? I know that I would pay top dollar and then some. How about you?
For you Van Halen fans that can’t get enough of “Diamond Dave”, check out the following link!
Van Halen’s reunion tour came to Cincinnati Tuesday night. This show has been long awaited by myself and many of the fans in the area, especially since this rescheduled show was originally supposed to take place on March 5th. This show was postponed so Eddie Van Halen could take care of an undisclosed medical condition. ( Turf Toe?, Male Pattern Baldness?, Erectile disfunction? the world may never know.)
I never had the chance to see David Lee Roth with Van Halen, back in the early 80’s and I have always regretted it. I wouldn’t dare miss this reunion show, especially with how volatile the bands’ relationship has been over the years.
The questions I had going into this show were the following:
Will Michael Anthony be missed? Can David Lee Roth still sing?
Can Eddie Van Halen still get it done live? Is Van Halen worth the over inflated ticket price?
I have heard and read a lot of good and bad things about this tour, from the cities where it took place prior to Tuesday Night’s Show.
I opted for the cheaper seats for this show, and by cheap, I mean the $49.50 ticket before Ticketmaster added their extortion rates to the ticket price. With the huge video screen behind the stage, there truly wasn’t a bad seat to be had for this show. U.S. Bank Arena was at near capacity. If this wasn’t a sell out, it was damn close.
The Stage set up for Van Halen was quite cool. The stage was set up in a Giant S configuration. The bottom part of the S reached out into the stands, and circled the people in the pit close to the main stage. The lighting, and monsterous video screen were pretty cool, in fact the video screen greatly enhanced my view from my nosebleed seats.
So as far the Answers to my questions…….
Michael Anthony was definitely missed. At times I thought they may have used his recorded back up vocals. Michael always was one to run around the stage and get the crowd going. Wolfgang Van Halen is not. The kid can certainly play bass, and his Frankenstein paint scheme was pretty cool. The bad thing is, the kid doesn’t have any stage presence. None, zero, zilch. This will come in due time, but it isn’t there in 2008.
David Lee Roth was the surprise of the night for me. Diamond Dave sounds great. He can’t hit all of those high notes he used to, but his vocal performance was spot on.
Eddie Van Halen was pretty impressive and boring all at the same time. While his fretwork was second to none, he didn’t move from his position on stage. I don’t know if his legs were chained down to a certain area, but Eddie was center stage for 99% of the show. He moved very little, and certainly did not make use of the cool ramps they had on stage. His playing and solos were awesome, especially when he played Eruption, but his lack of energy was extremely disappointing.
Aside from David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen had the most energy. His drumming was excellent all night, and his drum solo was very cool.
As a whole, Van Halen sounded awesome all night, they just didn’t have any energy on stage. Maybe I have been spoiled by seeing Airbourne’s high energy live show recently. Van Halen had about a tenth of the energy in their show that Airbourne had.
The energy from the crowd at U.S. Bank Arena was quite a different story. Tons of people were singing along and dancing. As a whole most people seemed to leave happy, and quite a few were hooting and hollering as they exited the arena.
So the Bottomline…..was Van Halen worth the ticket price. In my estimation, yes they were. I wouldn’t have paid the mega bucks required to sit on the floor ($150.00), but I was glad that I went. David Lee Roth called the band three quarters original, one quarter inevitable.
Maybe it was inevitable that Van Halen’s live performance would not quite live up to my expectations. The band is certainly past their prime. Van Halen is still one of the biggest hard rock bands to ever come from the United States. Past their prime or not, I am glad I got to see them with Roth as the singer for the first time. Even though they were not at their best, they still sounded great. The live music is what matters the most!