For many years, Aerosmith was dismissed as a Rolling Stones knockoff. Oasis openly embraces its Beatles roots. Stone Temple Pilots were dubbed Pearl Jam Lite. But no symbiosis between bands has been as commented on – and heatedly disagreed upon – than that of Van Halen and the Replacements.
Ever since Bob Dylan cracked about ‘David Lee Westerberg’ and Mick Jagger claimed he couldn’t tell the difference between ‘Jump’ and ‘Here Comes a Regular’, rock and roll historians have debated which band first influenced which. While there’s no doubt that Diamond Dave’s patented hip shake would not exist without Paul Westerberg’s flamboyant stage presence, it can also be said that ‘Unsatisfied’ is little more than the poor man’s ‘Everybody Wants Some’. So close are Dave and Paul in performance and philosophy that researchers from Harvard have traced back their lineage to try and find some common ancestor ; an eighteenth-century Aborigine named Umlakalaka is rumored to be great grandfather to both singers.
Most everyone expects an eventual Replacements-Van Halen joint tour: some with jubilation, others with trepidation. Stephen Hawking has expressed great concern over what might happen to the space-time continuum if Paul and Dave were to appear on the same stage together.
Next week: Were Tommy and Mike actually born identical twins? We go to the Smithsonian to find the answer.