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New Van Halen is Old Van Halen? Cafe Wha???


Last November Sammy Hagar told Rolling Stone Magazine that the new Van Halen album is basically an Old Van Halen album filled with recycled material. Hagar ranted that Eddie Van Halen can’t write songs, he just writes parts. At the time it sounded like a bitter lead singer still hurt by his and Michael Anthony’s ouster. But with the release of Van Halen’s new single “Tattoo”, diehard fans are saying it sounds eeriely close to an unreleased song from 1977 called “Down in Flames”, making it appear as if Hagar was telling the truth.

Last week Van Halen performed another song from the new album called “She’s the Woman” at New York’s Cafe Wha?. That happens to be the exact same song that Van Halen released as a demo back in 1976.  But so what if the “new” Van Halen album “Different Kind of Truth” is old material. Everyone’s been saying that they want the “Old Van Halen back” anyway. And it wouldn’t be the first time that a band has rehashed old-stuff. Whitesnake’s 1987 smash “Here I Go Again” was originally recorded with a moog keyboard intro from Deep Purple’s John Lord back in 1982. Bob Seger and the Stones have gone back to the well for new material. Hell, the Doors just released a new song  40 years after it was recorded. 

Better that VH go back to glory days and recycle some old material than tarnish Roth’s legacy by releasing a terrible album. Plus it’s not like they are stealing material. This is music they wrote together.

“Tattoo” was a dissappointing listen the first time I heard it, but slowly it’s growing on me. Of course I really want this to be good. Even though I’m a huge fan of the Van Hagar years, I just love anything Van Halen that doesn’t have the word Cherone in it.

Plus, you can’t compare the new (old) songs to vintage Van Halen or even the first three Van Hagar albums. Too much time has passed. It’s just fun to hear Van Halen making music again. The last full-length studio album was in 1995 and you know the deal about Roth’s 27 year absence from Van Halen.

Let’s just hope Eddie has some unreleased gems when the new CD comes out February 7.  And if they don’t recapture the magic on the new album, who cares. The Reunion show March 9 at the First Niagara Center will still be the biggest rock show of 2012 in Buffalo and you’re going to want to be there (maybe you can get lucky and win them in our  freeloader club). And if the new songs aren’t exactly a sequel to 1984, they’ll still be great for beer breaks.

Listen to “Tatoo” and “Down in Flames” below and judge for yourself.

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