email   contact   Home   Van Halen Official Videos   Main VH Page  '78 VH Live  '79 VH Live  '84 VH Live  '08 VH Live  VH:The Early Days   Van Halen Unleashed   Sammy Vs Dave  Top Van Halen Songs  Open Letter to EVH   Van Halen Concert Review     Van Halen Album Reviews

NOTE: The irony of the announcement of Van Halen's new album recording sessions and the timetable for its release is that for the last days before it's announcement by Van Halen management I was writing this letter that I am sending to Edward Van Halen.  Additionally, MTV released an article with the same title "open letter to Van Halen" that has since been edited for posterity.  It initially said Van Halen 3 was released before the 1996 Best Of Vol. I, which is entirely inaccurate, and it remains crass in its delivery, slanted in its orientation, and perfect bird cage liner material.  What you are about to read is informed, cohesive and a whole lot better reading. 



Dear Eddie -

Please do what you do, PLEASE release anything you want, new, or old, that nobody's heard and PLEASE don't worry about public perception.  Fans are fickle. 

They will flock no matter what you put out - be it jazz, blues, death metal, grunge, piano, you as lead singer, me as lead singer; whoever. 

Their opinion about most things "Van Halen" is completely wrong.  Who can say whose opinion is right or wrong?  I think I can, crazy as it sounds, in this instance.  I will explain.

People know the first album was a collection of mostly original material that you knew was your strongest in its current form but they largely don't understand that the music that adorned alot of the old Van Halen albums was written before Van Halen I.  People don't know that even some of the sixth Van Halen album, 1984, consisted of material you had written over a third of a century ago, before 1978!  People don't expect progress or change.  People want you to time travel back, write more, bring it back and record it.  It's preposterous! 

For fans to say any lead singer changed the band, single-handedly, is ridiculous.  David Lee Roth is the greatest front man with "the voice" people like.  I think Sammy Hagar is powerful in a different way...'different but I don't think he changed the band, single-handedly.  A lot of that music still gives me chills today like it did in the first weeks I ever heard it. 

I don't believe Gary Cherone changed the band as much as the public thinks because your changes were evident in the work you did with Rich Wyman and Thomas Dolby and it sounded a lot like Van Halen 3.  I think you, single-handedly, turned the band into a truly beautiful direction that is largely unappreciated and Gary Cherone was only the singer who truly wasn't as good live as Roth or Hagar but if you started out with him and only had him as the singer nobody would think that!  Everything has a reason. 

People around could have inspired you to new directions but they did not change the band.  I think every single Van Halen album is beautiful in its own way.  I believe YOU made the band as perfect as humanly possible, the way you did it, when you did it, and the result of the band was always the way you wanted it and you did it right every time!


I say if people want to hear Van Halen I, it's out there; go buy it, and listen to it.  Don't expect new Van Halen to be the same sound as a third of a century ago!  I think if you wanted you could make the "oldest" sound and "oldest" methodology in song creation and you could pull it off beautifully. If you WANT to make that album, a total throw back, you could do it.  It still would resonate with new sounds.  Everyone thinks the 1996 material with Dave is the sound  that was on Van Halen I.  The guitar technique and fast picking style sounds a lot like your oldest work but other than that, in my mind, it's totally different because it still sounds new.  People don't appreciate Sam but "Can't Get This Stuff No More" was Van Hagar's "Back Door Shuffle" with vocals reworked by Dave so it's COMPLETELY different than "old Van Halen"!  They love "Can't Get This Stuff No More" but hate all Sam's stuff?  It's ridiculous!  Unbelievable!  Fanatics have no sanity by definition which goes hand in hand with "do the same thing over and over and expect different results".  Purist followers clearly have sanity, amidst a sea of fans.  That's how I think of myself. 

New material has to be written for every album.   People do not appreciate the fact that the new material (anything newly written FOR any album beyond Van Halen I) is from a different time.   I can see how you changed after the first three albums.  Fair Warning, Diver Down and 1984 were completely different sounds than the first three albums.  People talk trash about Van Hagar but I see components of the same approach in the last three albums with Dave and all the Van Hagar albums. 

I say make Van Halen music the way you want to, regardless of the public's thirst for the oldest style out there.  If there is a lot of unreleased material that could be put together in a box set, do it.  There is literally nothing you have to fear by putting the oddest sounding stuff out there.  I've heard all that's out there, unreleased, as well as the releases of course.  ALL of it's ART!  Don't wonder, PLEASE don't cringe; PLEASE (as Nike would say) just do it.  The people are dying for anything "new" and what they haven't heard, regardless of the age, is "new" to the public when it wasn't conventionally released. 

My favorite Van Halen albums are: every single one of them.  I love the unreleased stuff and side projects you've done with others too.  I just love all of the music you do.  You and your music have inspired me so much.  I can't even begin to tell you.  My older brother's friends, for a while in the 80s called me "Mr. Van Halen".  lol

Thanks for the memories, thanks for being the soundtrack to my life, thanks for being the soundtrack to my 16 year old's (James) life!  God Bless You.  God Blesses You. 


Chris Gossett


2020 Chris Gossett &    site map