The book's highlight is the band's nadir: a blow-by-blow account of the atrocious debacle that was Van Halen's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction back in March. The boys couldn't get it together enough to appear onstage together: Eddie wound up in rehab again, and only Sammy and Michael Anthony showed up to accept the award, jamming onstage with Paul fucking Schaffer and leaving the Roth-era tribute to the helpless, atonal Velvet Revolver. It was devastating. "Yeah, that was a disaster," Ian concurs. "It was so sad. I kept expecting Roth to come jumping out of the wings. That's a perfect example of how the absence has just hurt them so much."

Who's the ray of hope here? Wolfgang. Ian sees a poignancy in Van Halen's resurrection involving a teenager, someone to represent both the childlike glee of original fans and the new generation that has yet to discover the band's majesty but needs to learn. The tour hits Philly next week. Ian will be there. Michael Anthony will not, but it could've been worse. It often has been. Hopefully, this won't totally suck. "A lot of people feel thwarted, I think, because you want it to be this 'Spirit of '84' event," Ian says. "It's gonna be its own thing. We'll know in a week if Father knows best."


Van Halen play Philadelphia's Wachovia Center October 1 and 3 (comcastspectacor.com), and Madison Square Garden November 13 (thegarden.com)

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