School of Rock 1

So the other day I was talking to my parents, and once we exhausted the common topics of parent-child conversation (mostly consisting of my mom giving me the latest gossip from home and updating me on their current television obsessions), the conversation turned to who was married to certain members of certain rock bands. While this seems like a conversation right up my alley, my parents cannot remember anything for the life of them. Let's just say at one point, my mom confused Bon Jovi, the Allman Brothers, and Van Halen, stating that they all sound the same. And then my soul died.

Anyway, I'm here to poorly inform people on the internet about what the difference between these bands are, if only to save one more person from this terrible fate. Because really, they aren't much alike at all besides the fact that they're all named after band members' last names.

So Van Halen was started in 1972 by brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen in California, although it was originally named Mammoth. Awesome. So, they found success in their debut album from 1978, Van Halen. David Lee Roth fronted this line-up of Van Halen until 1984. After that, I don't really care. Mostly, the band is known for Eddie's ridiculous guitar solos and Roth's weird high-pitched screamy thing and on-stage spazziness. Also, the band is known for frontman drama I'm too lazy to look up.

"Dance the Night Away" by Van Halen (1979)

Is he or is he not wearing shoes?

It should be enough to explain that Bon Jovi is the band that's seen a million faces and they've rocked them all. But if not, I could see how you might get them confused with Van Halen...in that they're both part of the smilier hard rock set. Founded in 1983 in New Jersey, the band named after lead singer Jon Bon Jovi found success in cheesy rock hits off their 1986 album, Slippery When Wet (see: "You Give Love a Bad Name" and "Livin' on a Prayer"). They also may not have given you herpes if you chose to be their groupie back in the day. I base this solely on the fact that I don't immediately want to shower when I look at them. Take a listen and learn:

"Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi (1986)

They also play for keeps.

Now here's where I have no idea what my mom was thinking with the Allman Brothers Band. I think any confusion can be cleared up by this simple formula:

Southern rock ≠ hair metal

In other words, if you feel like you're on a road trip in a car with no air conditioning driving passed miles and miles of flatland, it's probably the Allman Brothers Band. If you've got some mellow guitar harmonies happening, it's also probably the Allman Brothers. If they jam forever on a song and it sounds essentially like this:

"Blue Sky" by the Allman Brothers Band (1972)

In other news, that's a great 'stache.

it's the Allman Brothers. The band was founded in 1969 and was named after brothers Gregg and Duane Allman. Duane died in 1971 in a motorcycle accident shortly after the band found success with its live album, At Fillmore East, but the band carried on. They've dissolved and gotten back together several times, bringing in new rocking guitarists and always bringing in that Southern rock spirit with a slide guitar and Gregg's gorgeous rock vocals.

Any questions?


  1. Um, your mom knows the names of Bon Jovi, The Allmans, and Van Halen. That's more than mine! When we were in Paris together going through the Pere Lachaise Cemetery I asked if we could make a stop at the grave of Jim Morrison... and she had no clue who I was talking about.

  2. Where does Scritti Politti fit in with all of this?