Unplugged & Totally Uncut

Greg Renoff Van Halen Rising

September 27, 201526 min
Back in 2009, I had a two-part revelation about my favorite band, Van Halen, and its place in the pantheon of rock's greatest acts. The first part involved Van Halen's history. When I started to research the group's pre-fame years in Los Angeles, I discovered that very little specific (much less accurate) information about those years had been nailed down. Here's just a sampling of the aspects of Van Halen history that remained shrouded in legend: ◦When did the brothers' form their pre-David Lee Roth power trio? Which songs -- other than those by Cream -- did this band (first called Genesis, later renamed Mammoth) play? When did this band become "Van Halen"? ◦What did Roth's band, Red Ball Jet, look and sound like? ◦When and how did David Lee Roth team up with the Van Halen brothers? ◦What are the facts concerning Van Halen's backyard party exploits? Were they really as wild as legend suggests? ◦What actually happened when Gene Simmons tried to get Van Halen a record deal? Is it t

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