Released: 2007, John Wiley & Sons Inc.
It was a bit surprising that it took someone this long to write the biography of Van Halen. Although they have been the subject of a number of coffee-table /art books no one really tackled the bands story. It took me a few years to get around to writing this review but even so it was still 2007 when Christe tackled this monster project. Where do you even begin trying to document 30+ years of one of the world’s longest, best-selling, most influential Hard Rock bands of all time? A daunting task to say the least. Christe was up to the task. If he can handle the entire history of Heavy Metal, one band, Van Halen should be no problem right? I’m pleased to say he really pulled it off.
I picked up the 320+ page paperback with bonus chapter on the comeback tour and enjoyed every page of this fun, easy summer read. There are a couple dozen, colour photos from all eras shot by longtime Van Halen shutterbug, Kevin Estrada. The book also comes with six really cool appendices, called the ‘Bonus Tracks’ each one of them just loaded with cool Van Halen trivia. They are well researched, informative and most of all fun. Some of them are ‘Van Halen in The Movies’, ‘Van Halen Tribute Bands’ and Eddie Van Halen’s extended discography, and more fun facts like that. The book comes in three main parts delineated via timelines, The Rothozoic Era (1950-1985) the Hagar (1985-1996) and The Cheronean Era (with NeoRothozoic and NeoHagarlithic Eras) 1996-2007.
The stories. Man o’ man have these guys lead the life. The quintessential all-American Rock band (perhaps along with Aerosmith and Ted Nugent) were the progenitors of so much. Without David Lee Roth there would have been no Vince Neil or no Bret Michaels. Without Eddie Van Halen there would have been no Randy Rhoads or Warren DeMartini. The stories are all here of the pioneering days, the tours, the fights, the reunions, the celebrity wives, good, the bad, the ugly, and of course a smattering of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll to keep things honest. Culled from multiple sources Christe’s information is well presented and interesting. His prose is engaging and witty as he tells tales from across the ages. He is obviously a fan of the band but not to the point of being unable to point out some of foibles of the band, and there are many.
The title says EVERYBODY WANTS SOME and over the years I did want some more history and info on the band, but after reading Christe’s great biography on the mighty Van Halen, I left the party fully satisfied.