I first came to LA in 1984 for New Years to see Illinois play UCLA in the Rose Bowl. Don’t research the score of that game.
Two things struck me about that trip. Three really. The first was the weather was incredible. So much different than the frigid midwest. The other was the women were beautiful and they looked at me and used ESP to talk with me and compliment my raggedy afro and teenage acne.
But the thing that has stuck with me the most and I remember this clearly, was in the parking lot of our Marina Del Rey hotel, I was listening to KMET 94.7 FM and the DJ said, “now I have something very special here, and you won’t believe who it is.”
And he played “Jump.” And he was right, I did not believe that the best guitarist at the time had switched to synthesizers, which were roundly loathed in my high school.
People talk about when Dylan went electric. The audience called him Judas. Trust me when I tell you the burnouts of my school had harsher words for Eddie Van Halen smiling behind the keyboards of this tune. I hated it at first. Why hast he forsaken us? This was the peak of hair metal.
Fortunately when the full album was released it contained actual rockers like “Hot For Teacher,” “Panama” and “Top Jimmy” but even then we had an inkling that this might be the beginning of the end. How right we were.
Ironically, “1984” was my favorite record for a little while. Until I moved to L.A. that summer and I was introduced to SST records, and KROQ.