Van Halen

The Van Halen Story: The Early Years

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The Van Halen Story: The Early Years is a video biography that time lines the lives and formation of Pasadena's finest rock band as they graduate from playing backyard parties and Sunset Strip bars to headlining stadiums around the world. Assembled much like the skateboard documentary Dogtown and Z-Boys, The VH Story uses rare photographs, some grainy Super-8 clips, and relies heavily on modern interviews with folks surrounding the band throughout the mid-1970s and 80s. Narrated by J.J. Jackson, the results are mildly interesting, but because this project was unauthorized by the band or Warner Bros., it suffers from the absence of Van Halen music, and it teases viewers with soundless live footage. Also disappointing are the short interviews with a bleary-eyed Eddie Van Halen and a sidetracked David Lee Roth, and only rough audio bytes are heard from Alex Van Halen and Michael Anthony. The embarrassing reality in an age of vault-clearing box sets and restored archival concert DVD's is that just a few music videos and merely two-and-a-half hours of songs exist commercially from the mythic David Lee Roth era. The Van Halen Story is worth investigating, but it's hardly what fans of the original lineup have always been clamoring for.