HardReviews 6
by Martin Popoff

Abel Sanchez - Van Halen 101
(AuthorHouse)

There are many amazing things about this book, not the least of which is its weirdness, and the story of its making. First off, this book has been produced through AuthorHouse and is thus a print on demand item, meaning the author can buy as many or as few copies as he wants for resale and the price to him doesn't change that much. It also means that there aren't thousands of copies run at once and sitting somewhere. Your copy was made for you. Does the quality suffer? No! This feels and looks like a real book - completely, although the weight of the cover stock is a tad light. Get inside, and what you get is a superfan laying out every fact known about Eddie, in a highly conversational style which keeps it warm and swiftly moving. This is like sitting down to six beers with Abel while he convinces you how great Eddie is. And then you do it again the next night, rinse and repeat, until you're a 350 pound alcoholic. Also quite unique, there are over 100 quotes/testimonies to Eddie by other rock dudes, yet Abel purposely did not use Van Halen quotes. Oh, I'm sure he would have taken an Eddie interview if he could get one, but we all know how hard that is. The book is large dimensionally, with no pictures and is almost 400 pages - everything seems to be covered, all manner of technical talk, technique talk, detailed reviews of the records, the story of Eruption, a whole lot of context vis--vis Eddie in the large pantheon of guitarists... Abel is like a marathon orator, and what he is professing is a highly detailed sermon on Eddie's unparalleled stature. But he's amassed all the pertinent info on the band and then some, so the book becomes highly useful. And despite its sprawl, and somewhat chaotic sectioning, incredibly, Abel stays on message and delivers his piece - that Eddie arrives and excels in a seam in time, the lone guitar hero between Hendrix and Rhoads, with the biggest contribution to the form of all comers and goers. And by the end, you think Abel's a pretty swell guy too, 'cos he's just talked to you, and gotten across so much enthusiasm in doing so, for friggin' 400 pages. Essential for any serious Van Halen fan. And come to think of it, shockingly, there really isn't anything else out there. And when another more conventional biography comes, other than perhaps interview footage with the band themselves, there won't be much else Abel hasn't covered. Email vanhalen101@hotmail.com for more info.
Rating 7