Might As Well ... Whore!.

One of the members of The Presidents of the United States of America once said - and I wholly respect him for the sentiment - that he was only in the music business for the money. As to how tongue-in-cheek that statement was, I have no clue, but there's gotta be some truth inside that witty quip.

See, for a band like PUSA, there's nothing on the line. They're a fine band, very entertaining, I have all their albums; but it's not like they're a music-influencing juggernaut that changed life as we know it. There's not really any integrity to lose because they're just your average - yet talented - rock n' roll band who makes 3-minute substance-free songs simply for the entertainment of the listener. They're not Nirvana or The Sex Pistols or The Beatles. They're the Vincent Askew of Rock N' Roll history; decent roll player, had a couple okay seasons, but has no chance of making the hall of fame or really being remembered outside of Seattle 25 years from now.

With a band like Van Halen, though, I think there's a little more riding on this "reunion" they're planning with David Lee Roth. I mean, OK, so they tarnished their value with the addition of Sammy Hagar in 1985 (and they DECIMATED their value with Gary Cherone in 1996), but from 1978-1984, Van Halen was THE number one rock act out there. With David Lee Roth preening for the camera, making a jackass out of himself and the chaps he rode in on; with Eddie Van Halen being the self-taught guitar god of all guitar gods, giving hope to young metalheads everywhere that they too can start a band with their brothers and be insta-legends ... Van Halen pumped out hit after hit after hit and - with their final album together, entitled '1984' - only ended up getting better while becoming more popular with a burgeoning MTV audience.

And then personalities collided. Well, they'd sort of been colliding since the band's inception, but now with the additional ego that went along with marrying the likes of Valerie Bertinelli and playing alongside Michael Jackson on his biggest album ever, Eddie Van Halen wasn't about to put up with David Lee Roth's shit. So, he was gone, did his own thing, had a middling solo career while Van Halen prattled on to a middling career of their own - this was truly a case of the sum being greater than the individual parts.

Until now. Now, we've got a 25-date North American tour. Now, we've got weeks of rehearsals leading up. Now, we've got talk of making a new album and being a real band again. Like the good ol' days, only everyone's 23 years older ... wait. Until now, we've always been able to hold on to the one definitive truth about Van Halen, which is: they never should've parted with David Lee Roth in the first place! Van Halen sucked ever so hard without him and they paid the ultimate price of being declared Officially Washed Up. Now, he's back in the fold, and at risk is that One Definitive Truth we've been clutching since the last show on their 1984 tour. Now, if he comes back and bombs, we'll forever point to these as the Jordan Playing On The Wizards years.

At least with the Presidents, they can come and go as they please without losing one shred of credibility - because they never sought any in the first place. But, with Van Halen, this just smacks of a group of wealthy individuals (they're in the top 20 as far as Top Selling U.S. music acts are concerned; doubt they're hurting in the financial department) trying to reclaim a lost glory that's never going to go their way again. They're too old, they've been gone too long, and more importantly, they've been irrelevant for too long.

Tis better to die with our fond memories intact than drag your career batting averages down for the sake of a pipe dream