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Greg Renoff is not only a rabid Van Halen fan, but also a Ph. D. in history. Dissatisfied with the lack of information on Van Halen's earliest years, he put his degree to use studying not what happened to the lost colony at Roanoke Island (snore!), but how did Van Halen's years playing backyard parties prepare them to be the dominant hard rock group of the following decade?
The result is Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal. The book is deep with drama and detail, thanks to the over 230 interviews Renoff conducted with insiders such as longtime bassist Michael Anthony, producer Ted Templeman and even David Lee Roth's sister.
Just a month after its release the book already tops Amazon sales charts for its categories, and has garnered positive reviews from top rock writer Chuck Klosterman and Rolling Stone. Now Greg Renoff talks to Art about his book, possibly the most detailed rock n' roll bio ever written. 59 minutes.
Art's comments: "I mean to brag, but I've made a pilgrimage to the original Van Halen home, Pasadena City College and the Pasadena Civic. As exciting as it was, if I had had Van Halen Rising and had known the exact history that transpired on these sites, it would've been even better! After reading this book, I can just see David Lee Roth on the Van Halens' doorstep, preparing to knock and take his place in history.
"In any future VH1 Behind the Music about Van Halen, Greg Renoff will certainly be the talking head you'll see most. I had a great time chatting with him."