Van Halen’s Wild Past

Being a card carrying metalhead since I was 12, I know how fanatical some fans can be. 

In fact, many metal and hard rock fans know more about the bands than the bands themselves do, and whatever is good, bad or indifferent about a group, well, the fans know it well. 

Judging by some of the feedback on this site, Van Halen fans are nothing short of rabid, and with their new album, A Different Kind of Truth, there’s already been reaction all over the ‘Net: good, bad and indifferent, before its February 7 release date.

A snippet of another new single, Blood and Fire has appeared on the ‘Net, and as many have found out with this album, it’s not as new as you’d think. In fact, the music is primarily from an old Ed composition called Ripley, which was named after a custom made guitar Kramer made for him. The guitar had special volume controls that allowed you to pan every string to a  different speaker. (I think he used this guitar on the intro to “Top Jimmy” on the 1984 album).


Sure enough, the fans were all over this in a hurry, and the snippet of the song must have been out for about ten seconds before it was compared side to side with Ripley on, which many consider the CNN of metal news. The funny part about all of this is Ripley was one of three instrumentals Ed recorded as a solo artist for a long forgotten dude comedy called The Wild Life.


The Wild Life was Cameron Crowe’s follow up to Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and it starred Sean Penn’s late brother Chris in a similar Jeff Spicoli style role. The film was a big flop, although there are fans of it who would like to see it on DVD (it’s only available on old, out of print VHS copies). In the movie, Ed composed a keyboard part that later became the main hook in Right Now. In response to hearing Ripley and Blood and Fire back to back, one fan on Blabbermouth wrote, “LOL! I thought it sounded like an 80s teen comedy score. It all makes sense now.”


Just as this blog post was being finalized, another snippet of new music, a song titled Stay Frosty hit, which seems to be similar to their hyper-boogie classic Ice Cream Man from the first album. 

There’s sure to be more leaked pieces to come, but you don’t have much longer to wait for a new VH album and tour, and it’s certainly been a long time coming.