i was in junior high when i heard women and children first

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.

on this day in 1984, “Jump” went #1

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.

jeanine and i saw van halen last night at the hollywood bowl

van halen at the hollywood bowl

dave is a goofball, eddie is a maestro, alex is an animal and young wolfgang totally shreds on bass

they have an arsenal of classic riffs and crowd pleasing hits

millionaires several times over and rightfully so

and yet at the bowl they had the cheesiest graphic display behind the drums ive ever seen.

was it a parody? were they being sarcastic?

was it all a sinister hack by Anonymous?


hollywood bowl sangria

the Bowl played along by busting with some performance art of their own

“who would pay so much money for such a thing? find out in this weeks episode of ‘$28 Sangria!'”

pope shirts, ive got your pope shirts right hereand seriously, van halen sounded terrific and it’s great to see this line up

back at home, looking full of life

but then i met this guy who looked exactly like Barry Bonds selling Pope tshirts

i said i want your shirt

he said i cant sell you this shirt

i asked why

he said because i got this there

i said id pay double

he said i saw him.

i said it reminds me of something id give a catholic raiders fan’s teenage daughter

he said, i saw him.

it was jeanines second trip to the bowl in as many days having just seen duran duran on thursday.

as we walked up the hill towards the entrance of the bowl she was telling me how great the fab five were and how fun it was and what the people were wearing and all the songs she hadnt realized she knew and all the types of people were there and how solid the band sounded

and we got to our seats and the lights dimmed and van halen played about two minutes of Runnin with the Devil and she said,


this is way better.

sat in the parking lot of a 7-11 last night with the windows rolled down

eating a doritos taco from taco bell. pretty girl next to me ate popcorn.

we were listening to van halen because for some reason her “school” hadnt taught her about eddie van halen, david lee roth, alex van halen and michael anthony from chicago.

eddieshe asked me for a primer on the band before we go and see them this weekend and i was all, wow where do i start?

i guess its gotta be van halen one and eruption which lead into their kinks cover and aint talkin bout love. but what about running with the devil? gotta throw that in there.

and the sweet Ice Cream Man with its suprise ending.

next we move to van halen II with dance the night away and beautiful girls

at this point i couldnt tell if she was getting it or bored.

im a boring person. so are summer nights in the 80s at 11pm.

women and children first gave us the turbo jet guitar sounds of “and the cradle will rock” and the jungle drums in “everybody wants some” and who could pass over “could this be magic” which includes the title of the album.

we never made it to fair warning because im irresistible and she had to drop her popcorn and make out with me next to the huge sign advertising a large pizza inside the 7-11 for $6.

yes, $6.

i was so ready to tell her about 1984 with jump, panama, hot for teacher, drop dead legs, and ill wait, which to me is the end of the van halen story

but rarely do people want to know when a good tale pretty much ended over 30 years ago.

way back before this pretty girl was even borned.

sometimes it doesnt matter what you do


you can be super nice you can offer to pay for everything you can even say you can have my car

people are gonna be suspicious or theyre gonna feel weird or theyre gonna feel bad

or worst of all theyre gonna think that theyre gonna owe you something.

its impossible to convince them that they dont owe you anything, they just have to know you.

for me theres pretty much nothing you can give me except your trust.

i dont want your money. i dont want things. i have things but thats only bc of murphys law.

same with money.

if im being cool to you its because i wanna be cool to you. thats all.

you are probably already making me happy.

the circle is already complete.

i know there are other people out there that are different than me that f all of this up.

trust me i know.

but the truth is we are here in a blink of an eye and then we’re like kansas, dust in the wind.

and far as i can tell im already half way through this roller coaster ride.

i just wanna have a good time with good people who are ready to rock

and not knee deep in their fears acting like theyre neck deep in them.

like van halen, i’ll wait, but not forever.

dear eddie van halen

i hear you’re going to get the band back together.


summer tour, on the road, doing the old tunes, sneaking a few new ones in… awesome.

whooo fucking hooo.

but please do us all a favor. please bring back diamond dave.

and please kick sammy to the curb.

unless of course you hate your fans and only want to pander to the fratboys who will raise their coors lights to you as you jet around the country playing in outdoor arenas at $50 a head churning out all those horrible songs you wrote with the red rocker post 1984.

by the way, fuck you for OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, Balance and all that other weak ass pop shit that wasnt pop or metal but basically Lita Ford cover songs sung by men who have lost the will to rock.

didnt you get the message when God came down from the heavens and struck you with throat cancer: BRING DAVE BACK!

didnt you get the message when your wife of a million years left you?

she fell in love with you, like we all did, when you were wearing those ridiculous outfits, those long socks, and finger tapping your way into our hearts.

there has never been any true love for Sammy Hagar or Montrose. who you kidding?

i’ll say it here and i’ll say it till my ‘roids burst: Fuck Sammy Haggar. and im not alone in my opinion.

of course David Lee Roth is a pain in the ass, and he’s and asshole, and hes a potsmoking doubletalking weirdo.

hello, thats what we like in our rockstars.

seems to me that aerosmith didnt do so bad with their wackjob singer or the stones for that matter.

do you really think those doctors removed that cancer so that you could present those organ grinder synth laced medicore vanhagar shit to guys with their shirts tucked in who nod in unison?

my guess is no.

my guess is they hoped that the two guys who owned Hot For Teacher, Unchained, Everybody Wants Some, and Panama would come back and bust rock a new asshole.

id see the Darkness play 20 times before i saw Van Haggar remind me that life isnt fair, that dreams die, that rock is dead, that the best band of my youth has turned into a bunch of fucking losers.

id see Poins play 10 times before i saw Sammy Haggar fuck Jump up for me. let Aztec Camera sing it instead. let Morrisey sing it. Anyone but Sammy Haggar.

eddie, you havent changed the world in 20 years. you havent wowed rock since before half of the people who should be buying your records were born.

in an improbably move, youre worse for america than our sitting president. youre more dangerous to music than the terrorists are to air travel because if you go on tour with Sammy and sell out it will give the kids the impression that washed up recycled heartless soulless non-rocking bullshit is kosher, and its so not kosher i almost want to follow your tour around the nation and protest it.

i dont care what david lee roth did to you. i dont care how annoying he is. i dont care how many times he gets popped in washington square park with a joint, he is the left hand of 80s rock and you are the right hand, but right now youre just the cock.

please remove yourself from sammy’s mouth and give me back what is rightfully mine

van halen circa 1982 when everyone bowed down in awe to your ass.

your pal,


graham + aaron c. + david