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Van Halen: 10 Things You Didn't Know (or Don't Want to Know) About Van Halen!

by Trent McMartin

Van Halen: Photo by Rob GrabowskiWith the latest Van Halen reunion tour in full swing, UnRated decided to do something special for all those diehard VH fans that remained loyal to the group during the dark years, also referred to as the Gary Cherone era. Nah we kid, Gary has kept busy since leaving Van Halen so we promise not to take anymore potshots at the former Extreme singer. Besides, there are other Van Halen alumni who deserve our ridicule more than him.

So without any further delay, here are ...

10 Things You Didn't Know (or Don't Want to Know) About Van Halen!

1. Although founding member Michael Anthony had officially parted ways with Van Halen in 2006, the bassist's ousting from the group can be traced back to 1998's pitiful Van Halen III. Anthony played on only a handful of tracks on III and had little, if not zero input in the writing process despite being credited with full songwriting involvement.


2. In 1977, future "Family Jewels" reality series star Gene Simmons saw one of Van Halen's shows and financed their first demo tape. Simmons supposedly wanted to change the band's name to "Daddy Longlegs" and had even designed possible album cover art depicting a daddy longlegs wearing a top hat. Realizing the name was ultra lame, the band stuck with the Van Halen moniker.


3. Sticking with the KISS theme, according to Gene Simmons, Eddie Van Halen reportedly approached the bassist in the early eighties about the possibility of joining KISS as their new guitarist, replacing a strung out Ace Frehley. Simmons ultimately convinced Eddie to stay with Van Halen while KISS decided to go with Vinnie Vincent (yes folks, you read that right).


4. None of the group's David Lee Roth era albums ever hit the coveted #1 spot on the Billboard album chart, while all four "Van Hagar" studio albums did, starting with 1986's 5150.


5. The infamous "M&M candy" removal stipulation did in fact exist. In the early eighties, the band's contract rider specified that a bowl of M&M candies, with all of the brown ones removed, was to be available in their dressing room. In his biography, Crazy From the Heat, David Lee Roth refuted this demand as not one of diva behaviour, but a safety precaution signifying that the concert staff was correctly reading and honouring the technical and safety provisions in the contract. (When it comes to safety, rock stars are always ahead of the game).


6. Eddie Van Halen was not paid for that killer solo he did on Michael Jackson's mega hit "Beat It." The guitarist performed two takes, supposedly the better one was chosen, and the rest is history.


7. Eddie pissed off Kurt Cobain. One night backstage before a Nirvana show in L.A., a highly intoxicated Eddie Van Halen asked Kurt Cobain if he could jam with the grunge band. When Cobain refuted, seeing that Eddie was to inebriated, Van Halen apparently made a series of racially bigoted comments directed at Nirvana touring guitarist Pat Smear. Suffice to say, Eddie was nowhere to be seen on stage with Nirvana when the concert began.


Van Halen Photo by Rob Grabowski8. Not only is Sammy Hagar wealthy from his successful tenure as frontman for Van Halen, but also the singer recently sold an 80% interest in his Cabo Wabo Tequila to Gruppo Campari, the seventh-largest spirits company in the world. Hagar reportedly received a cool $80 million for the deal.


9. David Lee Roth is a trained EMT and has been on hundreds of individual ambulance rides in New York City. The current Van Halen singer and former radio host even once used a defibrillator on a Bronx woman who suffered a heart attack, consequently saving her life. Now if only he could shock his solo career back to life.


10. Eddie Van Halen once composed music for a porno flick. The guitarist wrote and performed two songs in 2006 for the Michael Ninn adult film Sacred Sin. "I like his (Ninn's) work," said Van Halen to the adult site AVN.com last year. "Michael Ninn is like a Spielberg to me: the imagery, the way he makes things look, just...sensual." Yeah, and Peter North is like Harrison Ford. Give us a break.