I still remember the first time I heard Van Halen. I was in grade school, and Mom got a baby-sitter — it was a Friday night. As soon as Mom and Stepdad clear the corner, all the (cute) baby-sitter’s friends (with feathered hair and Goody combs hangin’ out their back pockets) show up to drink our booze, blast our stereo, and even smoke a little somethin’. It was a party, and it was a smokin’ good time — as far as Friday nights for a little kid go.
The Eagles, Jackson Browne, and Bob Seger were usually on heavy rotation at home around that time — but all that changed that night. Some hip Senior brought a copy of Van Halen I, and I was blown away. This was no burner music — these guys were on fire. I heard friggin’ Ice Cream Man for the first time. Right? David Lee Roth on acoustic — did you even know he could play? Well yeah, it was before he became a girl — running around in tights, doing the splits and feeling his ass the whole show.
Van Halen started out as a tight band that laid it down hard. No one could touch ’em. Not even close. Goes without saying — Eddie Van Halen, well, was the guitar god in a world all by himself. There’s been no one like him since. Yep. Old Van Halen is still my guilty pleasure. A little Unchained will get anyone’s blood pumpin’ — or they ain’t alive. Everybody Up!
Guitar God Eddie Van Halen — David Lee Roth, the ultimate showman
Eddie Van Halen Guitar God — The ultimate showman David Lee Roth
These pictures are epic. How bad it all became, Dave went solo, Sammy Hagar became the new frontman and VH joined the pantheon of late eighties cheese metal. However when I hear the opening bars of Runnin with the Devil or Hot for Teacher I still smile…
Van Halen I & II, Women and Children First, Fair Warning — done. When Diver Down came out, it was obvious that the glory days were firmly in the past — it was over-produced, underwhelming, and totally sterile. They were a moment in time that was awesome, and unfortunately it went on a little too long for everyone’s good.
I like to remember them in their glorious prime, and leave the cheese on the shelf.
When you stop and remember that all these gigantic jams…as silly as they may or may not seem…were played by only three guys, thats pretty awesome.
I’ve never been one to deny a guilty pleasure, and I’m glad you’re not either.
Van Halen and you. Wow, need I say more? The memory of you doing a “full-tilt Boogie” to their early music is etched in my mind. I was wondering when you were going to get around to featuring them and “fessing up” to those parties.
I have a recording of prime Van Halen at the Santa Monic Civic just after the release of Van Halen II. E-mail me if you want a copy. Great Blog, by the way!
David in NJ