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VAN HALEN's Third Lead Singer is Gary Cherone For Van Halen 3

Edward Van Halen Goes Perfectionist For Widely Misunderstood Van Halen 3







"Van Halen 3" is the most misunderstood, forgotten, underrated Van Halen album of all time.  We celebrate the "circus theme with the above "III", delivered in circus red and white striped fashion. Van Halen 3 has its own identity among the Van Halen albums and is just as strong in emphasizing it as any other Van Halen album ever.  Eddie had just hung out with Roger Waters and recorded with him on the "Legend of 1900" movie soundtrack album.  Additionally he had just worked on albums with Rich Wyman and Thomas Dolby.  Side projects such as these indicated the direction Edward was going.  The Rich Wyman "Fatherless Child" album had two songs, "Blinded By Pain" and "The Water Sings" that Edward played on and "The Water Sings" sounds like an early version of 1996's "Respect the Wind" and what would become Van Halen 3.  Eddie changes the band as he changes.

The entry of Gary Cherone into Van Halen did not complete the changes Edward wanted to make.  Van Halen 3 has 100 percent of the bass played by Eddie. 

He was in an odd mood, he was in odd MODE, and he went into a perfectionist kind of mode.  The interesting part of the album is "feeling where Ed's head was at."  There's a fun vibe, a serious vibe, and ultimately, I detect a sad and frustrated vibe coming through.  There is beauty in Van Halen 3.  There was always so much criticism that Gary Cherone was simply trying to copy Sammy.  The fact is he sounds like BOTH Dave and Sammy, as well as himself.  He always has.  In Extreme he showed the same flair. I think they were inspirations and favorites of his before he joined Van Halen and he was the happiest man in America when he entered Van Halen.  He remains a class act, refusing to verbally bash any member or moment of his stint in Van Halen.  Come on, it has to hurt.  It has to personally bother him to leave the greatest band ever and that it is a memory.  Something happened.  Warner Brothers didn't like the effort on "3" and they didn't like what was being created in its wake.  The parting agreement and statement from Van Halen and Gary Cherone, although what many wanted, is sad. 

"Neworld" kicks off the album in a slow, acoustic fashion and you can feel from the tension what's coming.  Piano is actually played by Mike Post whose studio was used for this.  Can you believe Eddie isn't the one playing piano on a Van Halen song?  It is a first.  It was a one-take-and-done beautiful instrumental.  Another instrumental, I believe called "To The Newborn" was a thought for putting on Van Halen 3 but it was never used because "Neworld" is too similar.  I put that demo on YouTube and took so much flack from people saying it wasn't Eddie I removed it and will never put it up again.  I don't know if many people have it.  It's better than "Neworld" by far.  It buries "Neworld".

"Without You" is a song that had one demo completed and few overdubs.  The song was written the day Ed and Gary met.  Gary brought poetry with him.  Eddie was impressed so they wrote one song, and recorded it that day.  Most of what you hear on "Without You" is from that first meeting.  It is a really good song.  It stands as the most popular song of the album Van Halen 3. 

The third track is "One I Want" which is the song Gary sounded best on live, of all songs on the album.  It suits him best and it is a really rocking song.  Believe it or not, when the keyboard of "Dreams" is played on guitar you hear a lot of the same sound of "One I Want".  When you play "One I Want" on keyboard it sounds a lot like "Dreams" and it's an unexpected similarity for sure but a reality. 

"From Afar" was done in three versions; electric guitar, which was the released version, but also it was done on an acoustic guitar and it was recorded on piano.  It is a very melancholy rocker and a fun song to play on guitar!  'Really fun!  Gary Cherone's lyrics are so different than Roth or Hagar, using lyrics like "the aforementioned" really turned off a lot of fans.  It's different, for sure, but very quality, in the studio. 

"Dirty Water Dog" was recorded several times before 1998, as "I Want Some Action" with Sammy Hagar on 5150 and also on "Twist The Knife" with Steve Lukather.  This was named after the habit the band got into of buying water boiled hot dogs which are "dirty water dogs".  Water Dogs (salamanders) are pretty impressive creatures themselves if you can find one. 

"Once" is probably my favorite song on Van Halen 3.  It's different, like the album, from what Van Halen usually does, but it's a great song.  Gary's singing, again, gets odd in that you can't tell what all his lyrics are.  It's just odd.  However that style meshed so well with this song's style, listen to it again.  You will like it, with an open mind, if you always had a closed one.

"Fire In The Hole" was taken from the album and used for Lethal Weapon 4.  This is one of the best rockers on the album even though, like on "Once," you can't decipher all the lyrics Cherone sings.  The end was inspired by Pink Floyd, as Edward called into the studio and said the lines at the end of the song.  Possibly hanging out doing "Lost Boys Calling" with Roger Waters influenced Ed?  I think it really shows the mode Edward was in during the time, like I say, and Gary Cherone is not the entire reason Van Halen 3 sounded how it did; Eddie made it the way it was, intentionally.

"Josephina" was put on the album, at the last minute, instead of "That's Why I Love You" which was inexplicably removed.  THAT is a good song and different than Josephina, possibly dare I say "better"?  The live version of Ed and Gary alone playing this song is really worth adding to your collection.

"Year To The Day" is probably the best song on the album.  Again, it's more so unique due to Gary Cherone's involvement.  It's a long song that, live, Van Halen liked to take his guitar solo in the guitar solo of this song.  Then the band would come out and end the song.

"Primary" is a very unique solo recorded on a sitar.  Originally it was recorded with mumblings by Edward that were apparently "too revealing" to leave it recorded as such and released.  It was to be an intro to "Ballot Or The Bullet".

"Ballot Or The Bullet" refers to the words of several great men, including Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, JFK and is probably the best guitar work on the whole album.  It is a rocker with the weirdest lyrics.  The direction they took this was odd.  Gary....  Better lyrics were needed.  "No truer words have ever been said".

"How Many Say I" is the only song Edward Van Halen sings lead vocal on of all Van Halen songs.  Initially in the old days before David Lee Roth and the boys were underaged teenagers Eddie was the lead singer.  Ed doesn't suck but he's no lead singer.  He does have a sound like Roger Waters, but the edge he carries as a musician he loses as a singer.  Fact.

Live, Gary Cherone was not liked by most Van Halen fans because he sings well, then goes goofy for a line or two, singing lyrics like Roth nor Hagar NEVER would have, then he sings well, then he goes goofy again!  He acted overtly weird at times.  People want to see a masculine, strong man with a lot of showmanship.

The best live recording of Van Halen 3 was going to be made into a live album but was nixed for unknown reasons.  Maybe the reasons I just cited?  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, July 24, 1998 was a pretty good show for the band, Cherone included. 

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