If you are like me, you surely remember that time back in 1978 when you dropped the needle on the very first Van Halen record and, in a few short moments, thought “What the hell is that?” as "Eruption" literally erupted from your oversized speakers. The brothers Van Halen were innovators to be sure and, as Greg Renoff points out in his new book Van Halen Rising, may well have resurrected heavy rock in the midst of the disco era. Renoff takes you through the early days of the band and, in fact, the story ends after the 1978 tour with headliner Black Sabbath. But the early days, some would say, are the most interesting.
Follow the brothers in their family’s move to southern California and their formative days playing backyard parties that eventually attracted over a thousand fans! Hear stories relayed by high school friends like the band’s dedication to practice, the legendary instrument switch by Alex and Ed and more. Gear junkies will appreciate mention of the early 60’s Marshall Super Lead amplifier cranked to blast its full 100 watts and how that contributed to Ed’s now-famous “brown” guitar sound. Find out about the hiring of David Lee Roth and how that propelled the band forward to its eventual Warner Brothers signing and that monumental first record. Some nostalgic pics of bell bottoms and platform shoes as well! All in all this is an easy to read and entertaining book that should be on the shelf of every Van Halen fan.