Dad Halen! Van Halen tribute band reunites for G’point show

for The Brooklyn Paper
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Get ready to Roth!

A Greenpoint bar owner is getting his college Van Halen tribute band back together for a rare show on Sept. 13.

Dave Pollack, who co-owns the Diamond bar on Franklin Street, formed the group Van Heusen with friends 18 years ago, while they were at college in Harrisonburg, Va. The band members now all live in different cities, but still dust off their spandex pants and long-haired wigs every few years for reunion shows.

“Everyone’s married and has kids now,” said Pollack, who is the band’s frontman and goes by the stage name David Lee Pollack. “It’s just a fun chance to get together.”

Van Heusen only plays songs from the David Lee Roth era of Van Halen — 1974 to 1985. But that is still enough source material for a 20- to 25-song Sammy Hagar-free set, said Pollack — no small feat, given bandmates Edward Van Heusen (real name John Caselli), Alex Van Heusen (Jason Comfort), and Ward Michael Anthony (Ward Harrison) will only arrive in Brooklyn the day before the show.

“They won’t be here until Friday,” said Pollack. “We’ll do rehearsal Friday evening and Saturday morning, then the show Saturday night — which is kind of nuts, but we grew up listening to Van Halen, so we know this stuff backwards and forwards.”

Pollack will host a pre-show party at the Diamond — which was named for David Lee Roth’s moniker “Diamond Dave,” and boasts every Roth-era Van Halen album on the jukebox. The party will also serve as a launch event for a new beer from Greenpoint Beer and Ale Company called Roggen with the Devil — a play on an obscure German beer variety and Van Halen’s 1978 hit “Runnin’ with the Devil.”

Then it is on to nearby heavy metal bar Saint Vitus for the gig at 8 pm, where “Spanglish” Ramones tribute act Los Ramones will open the show. Pollack said audiences should expect to laugh — but also to dance the night away.

“I don’t think we take it as seriously as some do,” he said of other Van Halen tribute acts. “But we sound really good, we sound like them, and the show is a lot of fun.”

In the meantime, while Pollack waits for the other members of Van Heusen to hit town, he has found an alternative way to rehearse — singing along to Van Halen songs in the car with his two young kids.

“They think it’s pretty fun,” he said. “If I do one song with them in the car, they laugh and think it’s fun. If I do two, they start to cry.”

Van Heusen plays Saint Vitus (1120 Manhattan Ave. between Clay and Box streets in Greenpoint, Sept. 13 at 8 pm. $10. Pre-party at the Diamond [43 Franklin St. between Calyer and Quay streets in Greenpoint, (718) 383–5030,]. Sept. 13 from 5–8 pm. Free.

Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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