Thankfully, I didn’t give away all my magazines. Some special ones remain. Most of those are Kiss-related, but a few are not. I was smart enough to hang on to a few that are special, at least to me. Today we’re looking at the only issue I own of The Inside, an excellent Van Halen fan club magazine. This comes from Fall ’96, a brief period where the Van Halen lineup was presumed to be a reunited band with David Lee Roth. That’s only one of the things that makes this issue interesting.
GETTING MORE TALE #864: The Inside
The location that I first managed had been open only about six months. 1996 was an eventful year both for music and for me. Notably, Sammy Hagar left Van Halen, and in a whirlwind of events they were recording new music with David Lee Roth. People wanted to talk about it at the front counter and find out what I knew. I knew no more than anybody else, but one of my early customers had the scoop. He had access to The Inside, an unofficial Van Hagar magazine that would have been the best place to find information on them in the pre-internet-in-everybody’s-living-room age.
I can’t precisely remember how he got this issue. Passed down from a brother-in-law, I believe. Issue #6. The front cover broke the news: David Lee Roth was back?! With a question mark, of course. It already had some water damage when I received it third-hand. We had been discussing all the latest Van Halen happenings in-store, and this particular guy already read the most in-depth coverage you could find. He told me he’d pass the magazine down onto me, and true to his word, he did. The news was so fresh that the letters column only contained correspondence from readers pre-split.
“These are strange times indeed,” reads in the first line on the first page, “Letter from the Editor”. On page 10 is a detailed timeline of the breakup/reunion, monitoring early internet mailing list chatter and official statements. It’s fascinating and many of the details turned out to be true, including the title of a new song, “Me Wise Magic“. On the 14th page is an update on Eddie’s upcoming hip surgery, and the news that the Toronto pay-per-view concert was not scheduled for home video release. Page 15 reveals that Dimebag Darrell recorded covers of “Everybody Wants Some!!” and “Outta Love Again” for B-side use, and that Pat Boone was covering “Jump” and possibly also “Panama” for the album that became In A Metal Mood. (Only “Panama” made the final cut.)
Most of the issue is dominated by David Lee Roth, both coverage and speculation, but with big photos splashed over the pages. There’s an interesting interview about the Balance tour with the lighting tech, but due to circumstances beyond their control, this was old news by comparison.
For music geeks that crave the obscure, there is a two page article on Brian May’s Star Fleet Project featuring Eddie Van Halen. This article details the two day session that brought the three track mini-album to life. How it came together, details and trivia. There’s even an ad for a rare CD release of the album, complete with bonus tracks, as part of Brian May’s & Cozy Powell’s Resurrection release.
The back page has information on an album called Fatherless Child by Rich Wyman, featuring a guest appearance by none other than King Edward himself. (If you have been watching The LeBrain Train: 2000 Words or More with Mike Ladano, on our Van Halen tribute episode, a viewer from Norway mentioned this release. I claimed to have never heard of it, but apparently I had just forgotten!) Eddie caught Wyman live and was impressed enough to produce four songs on Fatherless Child (Wyman’s second CD). Better than that, he even played guitar on three. This article details the songs and playing, and concludes with an interview with Wyman.
Generous customers like this, who treated people like me at the Record Store like an actual “Humans Being”, helped “Balance” out all the real assholes we got in that first year. Shirtless dudes, shoeless dudes, (no pantsless dudes thankfully), construction workers tracking in dirt, thieves, troublemakers…and the odd real gem like this now-forgotten Van Halen fan. All we did was talk a little Van Halen. He had this magazine that he finished reading, and wanted to pass it on to a fellow fan. He returned with the book in hand, and it’s been in my collection ever since.
In a way, it’s kind of wrong that I still have this issue. The original owner passed it on to someone else, who passed it on to me. In the spirit of the way I acquired it, I really should have passed it on again when I gave away the bulk of my collection. But I do still have it, in the same condition as I received it. The inner page is loose as they often come to be, but it’s perfectly readable and enjoyable.
Instead of giving it away, I’ll live up to the spirit of the gift with this story and the pictures above. Thanks, mystery Van Halen fan. If you’re out there anywhere, let’s raise a toast to King Edward.