Remembering the Music: Van Halen

As you may have caught on by now, this blog’s main focus is politics with a dash of mixed martial arts, but there’s something else that’s been a major part of my life…music. I need it all day, every day. I can’t play anything or sing for shit, but it’s my lifeblood. I heart music is what I’m saying.

With all this talk amongst my conservative friends aboot how we need to “get back to our roots,” my roots begin with music because life began the day I discovered rock n’ roll, or should I say rock n’ roll discovered me. Everyone remembers the day the first heard “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” or fir saw the band Kiss. For me, it all started in North Massapequa one day in 1983.

I was over my buddy Steve’s house, playing Atari instead of running around outside. Before we started the next game of Pitfall, he got up to show me something from his brother’s room…which consisted of nothing but a mattress on the floor and just boxes and boxes of records. One of them, the one my friend chose, had a baby on the cover smoking a cigarette and some roman numerals. Steve “put the needle on the record” as they say, side B first.

Now, I knew of music. I knew what rockstars and rock n’ roll was. But it wasn’t until the guitar intro started on “Hot for Teacher” that I got it. I understood why my mom had those Beatles albums, or why I found a ticket stub from a Kiss concert my sister went to. From that day forward, Van Halen was my band. This was my music. And to this day I still sleep with a mattress on the floor, in homage to that moment.

Before the e-mails start, since there’s a never ending battle of “Dave vs. Sammy,” I love both Van Halen’s and think they both rocked just as hard (that guy from Extreme can suck it). The Sammy Hagar era was when I had started going to concerts with friends, and the first concert I ever went to that I enjoyed (the first one I went to overall was Michael Bolton…don’t ask) was Van Halen on the “Right Here, Right Now” tour in the summer of 1993. Bonding with my friend in college, getting drunk in the parking lot of the campus across the street from Nassau Coliseum, was with Sammy Hagar.

And of course the highlight of my 2008 was seeing the band reunited with David Lee Roth at Madison Square Garden…the only concert I’ve ever left where they played literally every song I wanted to hear.

My musical tastes have taken different twists and turns over the years. There’s been heavy metal and hair metal, country music and hip hop, and various classic rock along the way. But it all started – all of it – the day I discovered Van Halen.

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One thought on “Remembering the Music: Van Halen”

  1. An interesting tidbit for Van Halen lovers. I used to bounce large outdoor concerts, although I was a teacher full time. I did the 1983 US Festival in Riverside, which highlighted the Scorpions, who were to follow Van Halen. David Lee Roth bragged to the throngs about “I’ll show you how Rock and Rollers party,” whereupon the group started drinking, and whatever else the camera’s didn’t show backstage. When their time came to start playing, Roth was so plastered that he couldn’t remember the lyrics for basically any song the group tried to perform. As I recall, about the only thing he COULD remember was “Happy Trails to You,” the old Roy Rogers theme song only baby boomers would remember. The Van Halen bros. were pissed, to say the least!

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