Reviewed: April 2018
Released: 2001, Writers Club Press
There are several Metal books on the market that call themselves an encyclopedia, but in reality they are just big opinionated coffee table books, listed alphabetically. There is nothing wrong with that but a true encyclopedia is less and more. Allow me to explain. Traditionally in an encyclopedia there will be fewer photos and it remains factually neutral. There is also much more content and is more comprehensive. So when I come across a true encyclopedia it always catches my eye. Such is the case with THE VAN HALEN ENCYCLOPEDIA that I recently found used in my local book store.
Published in 2001 by Writers Club Press this big paperback apparently also comes in a hard cover version as well. This beast is well over 450 pages long, crammed with facts and figures about mighty Van Halen. It has a boring cover and has very little in the way of extras. There is a brief preface, a discography, a 26-page timeline which hits all the major highlights. Then we get into the meat of the book, alphabetical entries about an insane amount of detail about the band. This section stretches for 317 pages and lastly we get a list of virtually every show the band has performed dating back to 1974.
Author C.J. Chilvers must go down in history as one of the most obsessive (but not in a bad way) fans in the history of the band. The Encyclopedia section pretty much as it all. If you want to know what ‘Baluchitherium’ (the instrumental from BALANCE) means, you got it. Do you want to know Sammy Hagar’s nickname for Eddie? It’s here. Do you have a burning need to know the name of Eddie Van Halen’s dog? You have come to right place. What were the occupations of the various members of David Lee Roth’s 1980’s outdoor adventure club, The Jungle Studs? Chilvers has got your back. And of course, all Van Halen fans should know what Valerie Bertinelli’s personalized license plate on her black Mercedes Benz, once read. Aside from all the neat and interesting trivia, all the main stuff is here, chart positions, gear stuff, comprehensive lists of magazine and TV appearances, major events in the band members lives, both personal and professional.
I hope Chilvers updates this thing. There hasn’t been too much activity in the band camp since 2000, just one studio album and one live album in 20 years, so it would not take long to update. It goes without saying THE VAN HALEN ENCYCLOPEDIA is pretty much for fans only and I’m probably not going out on a limb when I say it is the most comprehensive collection of VH facts ever published. I’m ranking this book pretty high just for the sheer volume of research. How much someone wants to read this or needs to read this is another matter altogether.
Format Reviewed: Paperback
Publisher: Writers Club Press