RECORD STORE TALES Part 186: The Van Halen Tin
March 17, 1998. The wait was over – Van Halen 3 was out!
Van Halen’s 3 was kind of like The Phantom Menace for me: I was really excited about it, so much that it clouded my judgement of the music. I wanted new Van Halen so bad I would have taken just about anything I guess. Just like I would take Phantom Menace the following year. T-Rev, always the level-headed one, questioned whether I was enjoying the album more simply because of the absurd money that I had paid for it.
I paid $45 for the “collector’s tin”. I was hoping for bonus tracks, but there was nothing like that. A pick, a tin, some paper stuff, a sticker. It was still pretty cool to look at, and collectible.
I was living with T-Rev at the time. I was and still am very “OCD” about my CD collection. I don’t lend discs out anymore for example. Back then and today I am very fussy about the condition of the album.
A day or two after Van Halen came out, our buddy Neil came by to play N64 and have a beer. I was working the night shift that night, so I didn’t get in until after 9. When I came in, I played some N64 with Neil and headed off to bed.
The next day I woke up and wanted to play the new Van Halen. I grabbed it off my CD tower, and noticed something…not right. A fingerprint! On the tin! I could see it! But it wasn’t mine! Before I filed it, I distinctly remember wiping the tin. It had no fingerprints!
When T-Rev got up I asked him, “Hey, I know you wouldn’t have done it, you know me too well, but did Neil happen to look at my Van Halen 3 yesterday?”
T-Rev grinned and asked how I knew. I explained the fingerprint.
“The funny thing,” said T-Rev, “is that I told Neil you were going to notice if he touched it! He didn’t believe me!”
Trevor assured me that Neil was very careful with it, and didn’t touch the CD itself, etc. etc. We couldn’t help laughing at the fact that I did notice. That’s the OCD! I had a lot invested in that Van Halen disc, emotionally and monetarily.
Listening to it today with fresh ears, it’s not the disaster that some (cough cough Craig Fee cough) think it is. But it’s certainly not worthy of the praise that I gave it back in ’98. If it were an Extreme album, it wouldn’t be the best Extreme album. As a Van Halen album, well…
NEXT TIME ON RECORD STORE TALES…A Day In the Life (VIDEO BLOG!)