The first thing to know about this nearly-400-page celebration of the Van Halen legacy is that not only is it specifically written for Van Halen fans, it’s written by one of the most rabid Van Halen fans the world has ever known, Abel Sanchez. Perhaps this is why, in what may be an effort to keep things as authentic as possible, Sanchez eschews the conventions of formal prose and writes in the casual voice of a Van Halen fanatic posting in an online chat room. (“Complaining that Edward Van Halen’s solo spot is ‘excessive’ would be like complaining that your girlfriend ‘gives you too much h**d’” is one example that comes to mind.) It’s also worth noting that if the redundant sentences and unnecessary exclamation points in this text were left out, Van Halen 101 would be significantly skinnier.
That being said, with Sanchez’s devotion to the greatest rock band that Pasadena, California, has ever produced pouring zealously off every page, this inspired text—despite its Casual Fridays approach to biography—quickly won me over. Sure, you can find most of the quotes from EVH and other key members of the Van Halen camp herein in old interviews with GP and other magazines, but when it comes to the Van Halen brothers’ evolution from two Dutch immigrant schoolboys learning classical music into pillars of late-20th-Century arena rock, Van Halen 101 conveniently puts the whole story—every last known detail—under one roof. If you’re a veteran Van Halen fan, the book’s “Tribute” section (in which Sanchez delivers dozens of fresh interviews with a startlingly wide cross-section of guitarists including Phil Keaggy, B.B. King, Kerry King, Albert Lee, Sharon Isbin, James Hetfield, Allan Holdsworth, and others) will be worth the price of admission. And if you’re a newbie Van Halen devotee, then, as the term “101” in the title suggests, you can’t go wrong with this killer crash course on the band. Authorhouse. —Jude Gold
Bonobo Shares New Video for Bambro Koyo Ganda (feat. Innov Gnawa) (WATCH)
Rocket Surgeon Effect Pedal Laboratory Unveils the Seratone
Mike Watt and Big Walnuts Yonder Announce Debut Album, Premiere Single (LISTEN)
UVI Digital Synsations Vol. 2 Captures the Best "Digital Maverick" Synths of the '90s
Hip-hop Producer P.Morris' Quick Production Tips
Video: New PreSonus Quantum Flagship Thunderbolt Interface
RETRO AD REPRINT - Patrice Rushen and the Rhodes (1977)
Paul Shaffer - The Return of the Late Night Maestro
5 Questions for New Age Synth Master Kitaro
Third Annual Malibu Guitar Festival Returns to Southern California
TC Electronic Announces the PolyTune 3 Polyphonic Tuner Pedal
Don Felder: Five Things We Learned from His New ‘String Theory’ Episode
Tombs Premiere New Song, "Saturnalian"
Kobra and the Lotus Premiere New Music Video, "You Don't Know"
Wednesday 13 Premieres New Music Video, "Blood Sick"
'Leap of Faith': Timothy B. Schmit Talks Past, Present, Future and New Album
Ozzy Osbourne and Zakk Wylde Announce 2017 Summer Tour
NEXI Introduces DLY-01 Digital Delay Pedal
Copyright ©2017 by NewBay Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. 28 East 28th Street, 12th floor, New York, NY 10016 T (212) 378-0400 F (212) 378-0470