Ahead of a longer Killers concert documentary that legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog is directing, Rolling Stone premiered this exclusive Herzog mini-doc with the band on the magazine’s website today:

In Part I we introduced each band member, with particular emphasis on attention-deprived lead singer David Lee Roth. In Part III we tried to surmise what, if anything, can be taken from an Alex Van Halen drum solo, and we somehow survived Dave’s guitar playing in Part VI. In Part VII, I identify the rock I lost.

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In Part I we introduced each band member, with particular emphasis on attention-deprived lead singer David Lee Roth. In Part III we tried to surmise what, if anything, can be taken from an Alex Van Halen drum solo, and we watched Dave throw a tizzy-fit in Part V. In Part VI, let’s try not to cringe as Dave plays guitar.

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In Part I, we introduced each band member, with particular emphasis on attention-deprived lead singer David Lee Roth. Part II delved deeply into the squat as a Van Halen performance tool, and we explored possible explanations for Little Lord Fauntleroth in Part IV. In Part V, let’s enjoy a quiet moment with Eddie before Dave throws a tizzy.

(Clip 12, 0:20)

In Part I, we introduced each band member, with particular emphasis on attention-deprived lead singer David Lee Roth.  Part II delved deeply into the squat as a Van Halen performance tool, and we examined why you damn well better have a good time at a Van Halen concert in Part III. In part four, we now take a closer look at what’s really happening onstage…

Want to start at the beginning? Part I is here.

And you can find the whole series here.

(Clip 3, 0:01)

Two songs into the set, Roth offers a final “WOOW,” and Alex gets his double kick drum rumbling in a way that even a caveman would understand signals “drum solo.” I’ve never been a zealous fan of the drum solo, but I respect that these folks can put together complex rhythms, and without an obvious place for them in pop music, it’s nice for drummers to have this little forum where they can dump their more abstract work on us. All this to say, drum solo time equals pee time for me.

Want to start at the beginning? Part I is here.

(Clip 1, 1:59)

The band opens with a song called “Romeo Delight,” which is the fourth track off their third album Women and Children First. I wouldn’t have been able to name this tune until I remembered it as a favorite off that album. It’s a great “guy song”—a demographic Van Halen never had a problem accommodating—with an aggressive beat and the memorable couplet from the chorus: “I’m taking whiskey to the party tonight/And I’m looking for somebody to squeeze.” The band accentuates the tempo with plenty of first-song-of-the-night regalia: lots of jumping and kicking and gesticulating. Dave struts around like a transvestite on some very expensive amphetamine, bopping his shoulders for the camera, preening, sticking his tongue out.

Late in 2011, I typed “Van Halen” and “live” into YouTube’s search box.

I’d started this habit earlier in the year, diverting myself from whatever I was supposed to be doing by plumbing my rock fan past. I’d wasted entire mornings watching Kiss, Rush and Led Zeppelin videos, each filling me with a nostalgia that, all of a sudden, wasn’t nostalgia anymore. There it was, right in front of me, as close as it had ever been. I watched some of these videos obsessively, bookmarking them, feeling something of that original surge each time. ABBA, Uncle Tupelo, Fastway (Fastway!), the supply was bottomless. It was like finding long-lost friends and those friends having stayed as young and vital as ever.

I spent a recent Saturday in Asbury Park with my 16 year old daughter, for the middle day of All Tomorrow’s Parties “I’ll Be Your Mirror.” It was a bizarre experience in tightly controlled transgression. This doesn’t really fit neatly under the rubric of these-kids-today-their-music-is-just-noise; there were just as many graybeards on stage as well as in the audience; the contest for who wore the funniest costume was fierce and thoroughly intergenerational.

Easy to get stuck between “how did your parents let you leave the house dressed like that?” and “do your kids know you’re stealing their clothes?”

It often felt like there were just as many security people—from police in various flavors of street and combat gear to venue guardians to private operators—as there were festival goers. East Berlin didn’t have this many checkpoints—and the authorities there fretted rather less about beer.

Forgive me if I can’t find the right tag for most of the music. Fill in obligatory cliché about the rattling of internal organs here ____________. And I’ll no more than gesture in the direction of mocking dumpy or wrinkled musicians in their fifties and sixties doing a simulation of the spazzing out that made them famous on stage when Jimmy Carter was president. People in my age bracket shouldn’t throw stones; we’re too brittle ourselves.

I’ll just say that a lot of the music was meant to be played on bad sound systems in abandoned warehouses, in which you could dance for six or eight hours at a time to the rhythm of your recreational substance of choice, until the sounds of helicopters (either in the sky above or in your head) became too loud and you had to run for it.

It’s not the perfect fit for an auditorium in which pimply twenty-somethings wearing yellow security t-shirts jostle through the crowd to yell politely in your ear, “Sir! I’m afraid I have to ask you to step back from the stage!”

The crowds were obedient to the point of standing up and attempting energetic movement when instructed to do so by the musicians: rebellion on command! But you could as easily dance in a two-seat commuter plane. So people pogoed, twitched, and head banged, periodically puttin’ their hands in the air! in a way that had to make anyone who has seen video of Nazi rallies just a little queasy.

There was a bonfire on the beach that night—speaking of rallies—but it was tended by professionals, surrounded by a fifteen foot buffer zone, and encircled by benches, chaise lounges, and tiki torches. No alcohol permitted on the beach, of course. Burn baby. . . oh never mind.

Things started on time and ended on time and people paid strict attention to rule #3 in the festival program: Please refrain from being an asshole.

Well, as long as they asked nicely. . .

Chaos is over-rated, violence flat out sucks, you get nostalgic about mayhem chiefly when it’s pretty far back in your rearview mirror—and the surgeons have confirmed that the loss of vision in your right eye will be fairly minimal.

But it’s an odd sight to see a middle aged man rage on stage, violently knocking the mike stand over, only to have it returned to place a minute later by a stagehand. After the third time, it’s kind of like watching some weird inversion in which the baby keeps giving Grampa back his rattle just to see it thrown to the ground yet again. You feel for the kid, but a job’s a job; you’re really embarrassed for Grampa.

A lot of this music has gone from Raging Against the Machine to Oiling and Tending the Machine so we can use it again next year. Some of this is commerce, some of it is who we seem to be post-9/11.

Welcome to Kettle America. Please refrain from being an asshole.

Last night, I went to a Phish concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion. I’d never been to a Phish show before, and frankly, I expected more hippies. You know, older people with weathered skin and tie-died clothes sitting around nodding slowly as the band plays into the 12th minute of a song, the title of which we have all forgotten because they’ve wandered so far from any recognizable melody. But there were fewer hippies than college kids, and many of those appeared to be frat boys.

The lawn before the show and the bros.