- Category: Opinion
- Written by Jim Dee
There's apparently a band out there called Velvet Revolver, featuring ex-Guns 'n Roses guitar God Saul Hudson. Of course, you can't be a hard-rocker with a name like Saul, so he's called Slash. ("It's the name ... 'Do it to me Sheldon, you're an animal Sheldon, ride me big Shel-don.' Doesn't work." ~from When Harry Met Sally. Same principle with Saul.).
I've never heard anything they've done, but IMHO, they totally suck. Here's why ...
According to a news story the other day, Van Halen ws to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Monday. This part of the story makes sense to me; VH was huge. Even though Diamond Dave can be a little annoying, I'm still an old-VH guy. Sure, I went to see them with Sammy Hagar as frontman (for their 5150 tour in '86), but it really wasn't as good as their debut VH, Fair Warning, and Women & Children First stuff. Really, it was an entirely different band. (But, hey, it was still Eddie, which was worth the price of admission alone.)
'86 was my first year of electric guitar ownership, btw -- a white "Flying V" from the J.C. Penney's catalog or something. So, I'd already spent countless hours in my bedroom learning every VH, Led Zeppelin, and Pink Floyd song (sans the solos, of course). After a while, I attempted to learn the finger-tapping portion of Eddie's Eruption. Even though I completely sucked as a guitarist, I could pull off that part of the solo fairly well. Must've been the piano background, I guess.
In my band, back then, though, I was on keyboards. I've blogged about the Korg Poly-61 before. Great old 80s synth. (Oh ... they did let me play guitar and sing two songs ... Steve Miller's Jungle Love and Zevon's Werewolves of London. Man, did I suck, though. I'm the worst singer you've never heard--trust me.)
As "great rock and roll keyboardists" go, the list is fairly short, I suppose. Not counting the truly talented roots guys like Fats Domino and Ray Charles and the like, there weren't too many difficult keyboard parts going forward. I thought the Doors guy was damn good, and the guy from The Who was okay (though he never really interested me, even though we did Won't Get Fooled Again ). Dennis DeYoung knew his way around the keys, I guess; and Billy Joel, to me, was a much better pianist than Sir Elton John.
Eddie Van Halen, though ... While the man's a virtuoso on the guitar, his keyboard skills are relatively unremarkable. That's not to say he's uninventive, and that his keyboard compositions aren't quintessential 80s pop tunes. But, from a difficulty standpoint (which, I'll concede, doesn't have to really mean anything), they're simplistic. Maybe that's even part of their beauty. Jump, for example, is one of the easiest rock and roll keyboard tunes in existence.
Which leads me back to Velvet Revolver. Here's a snippet from that news story:
Roth wasn't expected at Monday's ceremony following an apparent tiff over what he would perform. He wanted to sing "Jump" and backing band Velvet Revolver, which had planned "You Really Got Me," said it couldn't get it together in time.
Again, a group of so-called professional musicians can't get Jump together in time? Puh-lease ... My cat could play Jump in his sleep. Therefore, the only logical conclusion, IMHO, is that this "Velvet Revolver" band ... sucks. (Breaks my heart to say it, as I like to rock out as much as the next guy. But, we must set the bar somewhere.)
This concludes IMHO Volume 3.