some kid brought the record to school.
there were no turntables in school.
but he brought it because he had just seen the light. he had heard the incredible sounds and jungle rhythms of Everybody Wants Some and he was going to spread the word to his brothers and sisters.
and im glad he did because even though i had no money to go to the store and get the record, somehow i heard it too and i too felt the wildness it contained
who were these golden gods?
as much as i loved AC/DC, there was a looseness to van halen. it wasn’t so scripted.
if anything the pattern was: guitar, hook, breakdown, david lee roth saying something sexual, and then a giant climax.
works for me.
i saw van halen play exactly three times.
the first was over the summer in illinois when i was in college. tracey d, who i had dated while being an ice cream man got us tickets.
that girl was a true leader. no girl had ever bought ME tickets to a concert. but she knew i loved them and she did too. sadly this was the Van Hagar era and even though i didnt really love the new tunes, Sammy was entertaining and afterwards tracey asked me to spend the night with her, something i had never done before so, hubba hubba.
the second time was with karisa at Staples Center decades later. for some reason we were fighting. was she late? was i late? who knows. but we missed the opener Kool & the Gang. but were in time for the middle opener, Cheap Trick who i had never seen before for some reason. they were fine.
this was the reunited Van Halen with DLR back. he had a weird little sliding area up front. strange tap shoes kinda. it was like a vaudeville guy fronting a hair metal band. it was awkward. but the music — oh lord the music soothed everything.
the last time was with jeanine at the Hollywood Bowl. she was sleeping on my couch and was a guitar god herself. we had good seats. the stars were out. and it was a much much better show. soooo long. they played everything they could. wolfie was on bass. it was a perfect night.
when amber announced that Eddie had died, i rushed to TMZ where she had read it and then to Twitter where I saw Wolfgang’s tweet and I wrote a quickie little obit for Los Angeleno’s FB and Twitter and i realized i needed to call Scott Sterling who never picks up the phone
but he did with a “this day is like when Prince died.”
Scott had written a little book about being the only Black kid at the Women and Children First concert in Detroit. so we talked for 20 minutes and i recorded it so i could quote him for the real obit i wanted to write.
then i emailed Parry Gripp who wrote and performed “Van Halen” for Nerf Herder many moons ago. he wrote back very quickly, and kindly. he too should be in any obit of that great band.
and then i wrote it as fast as i could because i had something important to do at 3:30pm
something life changing, potentially, that i hope to reveal later this month.
finished it at 3pm. and felt good about it. particularly the way Eddie’s Frankenstrat looked on our page.
the young editor who copyedits me found a generic pic of Eddie with short hair and asked if i wanted to replace the image of the guitar with the pic and i was all, yeah no.
ah the kids.
throughout the day i wanted to cry.
i knew he had cancer. hell, in 2000 before the busblog even existed i made this photo essay about it. (click the pictures)
over the most recent years i had heard Eddie call in to Howard Stern. the two were friends IRL. i knew he struggled with booze. i knew 65 is way past the expiration date of rock stars.
but he’s still a guitar hero who was at such a level it almost seemed like a cartoon. otherworldly.
eddie van halen, like jimi hendrix, was someone you couldn’t even put in a discussion because it ends the debates. it’s not fair. he’s the high score you have to toss out with the lowest score so you could properly find the average.
he was the opposite of the average.
and he became that legend on his very first fucking record.
whose demo was produced by Gene Simmons of KISS because when he first heard Eddie, he too was instantly all in
just like that nameless kid in my junior high.
just like me.