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Tag: Bond films

Episode Six – The Anthony Burgess Van Halen Connection

“Talk about extremes, Gary Cherone joined Van Halen! Got to play with the old Edward Van, as Anthony Burgess woulda said had he written ‘Clockwork Orange’ in the 80s, you know 1984, and then Anthony Burgess had that 1985 book, and Van Halen are Dutch, what’s the national colour of the Dutch? I think you’ll find it’s orange…”

Young Southpaw traces the not-so-hidden connections between the British novelist and the ultimate hard rock band, taking in along the way the idea that Bad Brains should do a James Bond theme, Billy Joel & Billy Joe Armstrong should duet, using the Eiffel Tower as a unit of measurement, and much more.

“Has Billy Joel figured out why he goes to extremes yet? I mean you think he woulda let us know, you know. I mean figured it out written another song, helped everyone else who has that problem you know. I mean maybe for him it’s just a song but to some people it’s a way a life. I mean to Jovi, you’ll remember last episode, that second Bon Jovi album bein’ called 7800 degrees Fahrenheit, I mean that seems to be the very definition of extreme. Well, I guess you got the band Extreme, you know More Than Words etc. And then for Gary Cherone, their lead singer, I mean talk about extremes, he joined Van Halen! Got to play with the old Edward Van, as Anthony Burgess woulda said had he written Clockwork Orange in the 80s, you know 1984. And then Anthony Burgess had that 1985 book, you know. And you know Van Halen are Dutch and what’s the national colour of the Dutch? I think you’ll find it’s orange. So that woulda made sense, you know. And remember Alex’s eyes are all bug-buggin’ in that one when he’s watching the film? I mean what if he had been watchin’ the Pretty Woman video? I mean who’s eyes aren’t bug-buggin’ as they say when they see that video? It’s like givin’ everyone the Ludovico technique. And I mean doesn’t Alex Van Halen play Ludwigs? I can’t make this stuff up! The old Alex Van playin’ Ludwigs. Man, it’s gettin’ too real!

I mean what did Anthony Burgess write in the late 70s when Van Halen first started releasin’ records? He was probably workin’ on Earthly Powers. Well 1985 came out in 1978. Confusing I know but also the year the first VH record appeared. Then you had Van Halen II in 1979 and then Gary Cherone joined years later for Van Halen III. Years later so it’s kinda like releasing  a book called 1985 in 1978. But I’ve still never heard Van Halen III, I’ll be honest with ya. But you know, I appreciate the legacy. When I saw that Sam & Dave tour back in 2002, Gary Cherone joined Sammy Hagar on stage for some songs. Top Of The World I think, you know, I love that song. I mean people draw lines and of course I mean you know I love Roth but I’ll still listen to Van Hagar, I mean I still love 5150. And Top Of The World, you know. I remember being in the line for the bathroom at that show, you’ll excuse my bathroom talk but it hit me when I was there, like a ton of bricks. The realization that, well I saw this dude I went to college with. Jamie we called him, that was his name. He was in that same line, the one at the show, I don’t remember there bein’ any lines for the bathroom at college. Well not at the university buildings themselves but obviously at parties you know. There were lines as long as the Eiffel Tower. Well you know what I mean, horizontal lines not vertical, but the same distance for both. But if you prefer to look at it like the line to get into the Eiffel Tower well then you’re free to see it that way too. But anyway we weren’t in college anymore, though I’m sure at the same concurrent time – this was 2002 remember, and even nowadays I’m sure – that there are lines for the bathroom while concerts are going on even in the places the concert isn’t. You know what I mean…

So anyway I saw Jamie and he yelled across the line ‘who are you here to see?’ And the question just totally shocked me, you know like that KISS song. But KISS wasn’t playin’. But you know that Gene Simmons recruited Alex and Eddie to play on some demos back in 1976 or so, and I’ve been waitin years for them to come out. Christine Sixteen and a couple others, three in total I do believe. You’d always hear the rumors but now they’ve released that Gene Simmons boxset and it costs $2500 you know. So anyway Jamie asked me who I was there to see and said ‘well Dave of course’. And then this started a whole big argument in the bathroom line – again I’m sorry about the potty talk, but – well that but was an interjection to change the subject, not more bathroom talk, so I didn’t realize that people were there to see Sammy. And it wasn’t like I wasn’t there to see Sammy, you know I love a lot of those songs and it was a good show, Sammy was real good. But it never occurred to me that Dave doing all those songs again wasn’t the main draw. It certainly never occurred to me that there’d be people screamin’ about it across a line for the bathroom, again I’m sorry…

But you know, it takes all types to make a world, people say. And then Roth didn’t play Unchained that night and it broke my heart, broke my heart you know. That’s what I wanted to hear. The most exciting rock song ever written, closely followed by Panama and Everybody Wants Some you know. And you know I think they’ve got the Top 5. Somebody Get Me A Doctor is a real good riff, but I’d put at number 4 Pavement’s Unfair you know, shake em like you just don’t care Steve Malkmus. That song’s real good, I love it. That’s a rocker you know, like that AC/DC song I’m a Rocker, I’m a roller, I’m a right down out of controller you know off Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. You got all the DCs in there you know, they should toured with Bad Brains. I mean that woulda been the best tour ever! Bad Brains, you got Dr. Know on guitar, Whooooooooah Nelly, you know. And Dr. Know, Bad Brains shoulda done a James Bond theme. That woulda been amazin’. They prolly coulda timed it right, you know, when hardcore was getting popular, right before emo, maybe done GoldenEye, or maybe Die Another Day. Madonna and Bad Brains, you know wow, let me tell you…

I mean that crazy Fall Out Boy band, I mean they remind me a Quicksand. Especially that crazy Sugah song you know, sugah-shoug-shoug. You know ‘down down’ etc. I mean Bond’s always fallin’ outta airplanes you know, maybe they shoulda done a Bond theme. Well I mean the first ones that come to mind are GoldenEye and The Spy Who Loved Me but they weren’t around then. But hey Anthony Burgress wrote an early draft of the screenplay for The Spy Who Loved Me, and I think the whole underwater lair thing was his idea. I mean obviously the ideal would be for Van Halen to do a Bond theme. You got lotsa eyes in the Bond titles, so I’m The One comes to mind immediately or I’ll Wait. I guess we’re all waiting for that. Were they talking about the wait that we’d all face for them to get asked by EON Productions? Did they know it would be this long? Maybe Fall Out Boy and Van Halen should collaborate. And Bad Brains and Madonna! Maybe that could be the whole film, just the four of them in the studio. A bit avant-garde for a blockbuster James Bond film I know, but the times they are a changin’…

But where was I..,oh yeah, extremes you know. Billy Joel. And then you got that Billy Joe from Green Day. That’s just confusin’, imagine if the two of them duetted. Call their song, El Billy. Get the mariachi goin’… or they should cover AC/DC’s Who Made Who, that’d be amazin’! Mariachi style or otherwise… Or do a whole mess a Billy songs – Billie Don’t Lose My Number, Dollar Bill by The Sceamin’ Trees, Billie Jean, I mean that song always confused me growin up. Cause you had that tennis player Billie Jean King, and Michael Jackson was called The King Of Pop and he was the one doing the song. So no, maybe they better skip that one. No need to lead to the Land Of Confusion, like Phil Collins also said. But I never cared for that song and that video you got puppets pressing the button for nuclear war like Anthony Burgess had that book The End Of The World News, and that video’s all too much for people to take who are dealin with the fact that David Lee Roth had just left Van Halen! Well they could do Big Bad Bill Is Sweet William Now, like Van Halen themselves did on Diver Down…

All these Ds… Thinkin back on it Anthony Burgess wrote The Doctor Is Sick, first one I ever read. And then you got Van Halen II’s Somebody Get Me A Doctor, like I said before. And then The Pianoplayers came out in 1986, spookily the same year as 5150. Which if you’ll recall was synthesizer heavy. Don’t get me wrong I love those songs but it was always conjectured that it was the move towards synths and away from guitars that led to the split with Roth. But I’m sure it was much more complicated than that. But what really gets me is that Burgess’ Mozart and The Wolf Gang came out in 1991, the very same year that Wolfgang Van Halen was born. I rest my case.”

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