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Thread: The van halen effect

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    The van halen effect

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    When I think of the "Van Halen Effect" it's not only just in terms of what Eddie did, but what the entire band did vs. the guitar players and bands - mostly in the 1980s and early 1990s - that were heavily influenced by both Eddie and Van Halen as an entity.

    Like, to me, Eddie was more than just Eruption or fingertapping, even back when CVH were active. Eddie had blazing speed and flash, but even strictly in terms of his solos he also had melody and restraint: contrast Eruption with the RWTD solo. Eddie was also an inventive rhythm player and had riffs and hooks just as stellar and memorable as his solos. As a group, Van Halen were much more diverse and able to essay styles outside of hard rock, very much unlike bands such as Ratt, who had a shit-hot lead guitarist heavily influenced by Eddie (and, to be fair, had a strong debut album) but stylistically Ratt had one mode of hard rock and weren't capable of doing anything that strayed from that. Same with Winger: shit-hot lead guitar player heavily influenced by Eddie but one mode of radio-friendly hard rock and they weren't really doing much one would call terribly inventive inside of that mode. Same with Dokken.

    For me, the changing shift of rock from the (for lack of a better term) hair band Van Halen clones of the 1980s to (again, for a lack of a better term) grunge bands of the early 1990s was a breath of fresh air in the respect that while at the time I wasn't as ga-ga over Nirvana, Soundgarden, AIC, STP and Pearl Jam as the media was, at least I wasn't being further bombarded with half-assed Van Halen clone bands or weak hard rock that was trying to emulate Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet formula of the likes that proliferated that commercial rock scene from 1985 to 1991. I think that's part of why I liked Appetite For Destruction so much, in that whatever one thought of G n R it was for sure that they weren't trying to cop a Van Halen or a Bon Jovi, and they had put together a full-length kick ass album of hard rock tunes (as opposed to one or two half decent tunes and the remainder of the album being uninspired filler).

    Far as the youtube effect, in general it seems like an electronic version of walking into a guitar store in the 1980s, where you inevitably saw someone wanking a guitar, showing off how fast they were...usually by copping Eddie's licks to do so. I'm sure I'm generalizing to an extent, where doubtless there are youtube clips showcasing people playing guitar that aren't merely "watch how fast I can shred!" or "look how accurately I can play this song!" bits.

    In the end, though, the Van Halen effect pretty much started and ended with Eddie and Van Halen, inasmuch as regarding that particular style of playing there have been many imitations with flash guitar players and showoff frontmen...but nothing is really springing to my mind in terms of bands that followed Van Halen and were clearly influenced by Van Halen where I thought "I can see this band was influenced by what Van Halen did, but they took that influence, mixed it with their own creativity and came up with something I find as compelling as Van Halen was."
    Last edited by Terry; 09-02-2019 at 03:24 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    For me, the changing shift of rock from the (for lack of a better term) hair band Van Halen clones of the 1980s to (again, for a lack of a better term) grunge bands of the early 1990s was a breath of fresh air in the respect that while at the time I wasn't as ga-ga over Nirvana, Soundgarden, AIC, STP and Pearl Jam as the media was, at least I wasn't being further bombarded with half-assed Van Halen clone bands or weak hard rock that was trying to emulate Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet formula of the likes that proliferated that commercial rock scene from 1985 to 1991.

    I have a theory that the whole grunge backlash was created by the first 20 seconds of this...


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    Which came first? That or this?
    I think this beats it by 10 seconds

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    For me, the whole genre - in terms of my own personal interest - peaked around 1984, which is really where the US hair metal genre started to take off.

    I liked Too Fast For Love and Shout At The Devil.

    I liked Out Of The Cellar.

    I liked Tooth And Nail.

    Didn't care much for what the genre was producing even as early as 1984, though: I never warmed to Twisted Sister, even at their Stay Hungry peak. Never thought much of Poison. Never cared for Bon Jovi, even prior to Slippery When Wet. Van Hagar was Van Halen made totally safe for teenaged girls and teenaged boys of the type who did all their homework assignments on time and never caused any disruptions in school.

    Bon Jovi, Poison, Winger, Warrant and the like were so obviously targeting the teenage girl demographic...I mean, there was nothing subtle about it. And it was understandable from a business sense, because teenaged girls spent the most money on records back then. But as a guy in his teens in the 1980s, these groups had no appeal for me. Stuff like Dio's Last In Line album, Iron Maiden's Powerslave...THAT was the kind of stuff of the time that I enjoyed. By the time 1985 rolled around, I was looking backward to stuff like The Doors, Zeppelin, The Who and the like.

    Those fucking power ballads were so ubiquitous from 1985 to 1990 or so...one hair metal band with a high profile in terms of exposure that surfaced post-1985 who I actually kind of liked were Cinderella: they had their power ballad cheese moment with that Don't Know What You Got Until It's Gone, but I thought Night Songs was a good rock album. Long Cold Winter had good stuff on it. Heartbreak Station had good stuff on it. Tom Keifer wasn't afraid to do bluesy stuff, and wasn't merely following a Bon Jovi template. Queensryche were another band that were trying to chart their own course and not content with being a bunch of power rock pop Bon Jovi balladeers. Bullet Boys. G n R. There was SOME good stuff coming out post-1985. But it had to compete with poser shite like Britny Fox for airplay. For every good band like Tesla that emerged, it seemed like you got 5 Winger-type poser acts.

    But Cinderella, Ryche, G n R, Bullet Boys, Tesla were the exceptions. For the most part, the American hard rock scene - at least in terms of the bands that were getting major label backing - had so devolved into something that was teenaged girl safe from the mid-1980s onward. Frankly, I didn't much lament seeing those bands go by the wayside in the early 1990s, and I'm not full of warm nostalgia for them now because that shit didn't age well. How could it? It sucked back then.

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