Today is my birthday. Hooray me.
It is also Wayne Gretzky’s birthday. He’s infinitely more cool than I could ever hope to be. I mean, hi … he’s The Great One. And for a good reason. Oddly, I didn’t know that he and I share the same birthday until today. Also, I assumed he was lightyears older than I am. Not quite so.
I *did* know that I share this special “dia do nascimento” (as say the Portuguese. And Brazilians.) with one Edward Van Halen. Yes–the very same. The guitar viruoso that brought tapping to the forefront. He of “Eruption” fame. Eddie. The chants were deafening. I only got to see him twice, both in support of their For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge CD. For all of you with sensitve eyes, don’t try to make an acronym out of that. You’ll probably cry.
The first time I saw Van Halen was in August of 1991. My buddies Eric, Steve, and Jeff and I all drove from western New York to Akron Ohio to see them at the beautiful Blossom Music Center. Opening for them was this long-haired, weird sounding freak show that only seemed interested in swinging their heads of long hair around such that their mops would flail around in circles. It looked ridiculous. Oh. And the lead singer? Just sat on a stool. Well, bar stool. Not poop. But yah. Just sat there, wearing sunglasses and sporting short blond hair. They didn’t make it very far into their set before we booed them off stage. I do believe some gesticulations of an avian nature were directed in our direction. By “our,” I mean the entire crowd. Or at least a vast majority of us.
The band? No other than Alice in Chains.
Oh how I hang my head in shame … truly we deserved the bird we were given. In hindsight, I wish we had been more open-minded–more understanding … more tolerant. How is that for a microcosm of how life should be lived?
Alas, we were not. Oh well. Live and learn.
So ANYway, I celebrate my day with Edward. Which made me wonder what’s going on with the band. For those of you familiar with their discography, you’ll know that, after Dave’s departure, they recorded 4 CDs with Sammy Hagar and one with Gary Cherone. Take a look at their website. See the background image? It scrolls through I, II, Women and Children First, Fair Warning, Diver Down, and 1984, then cycles back to I. WHERE are 5150, OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, Balance, and III?! Do those albums no longer exist in Dave’s, Alex’s, and Eddie’s minds? Did they not make those albums? But where are they?
You know, I’m all for giving the band their due. They were a great, great party band. They were exciting, Eddie was and is an insane guitarist, Alex is … well, he’s a drummer, but he’s not that great. Wolfgang is … what. 19? And ignore the fact that “Diamond Dave” is so far past his prime that he’s become a caricature of himself when he tries to perform. I don’t know … it just seems childish and petty to ignore the music they made with Sammy and Gary under the Van Halen name. If I go out to Amazon, those CDs are still available because they were made. I just don’t get the immaturity factor. “Ohhhh … we had a rift with Sammy, and no one liked III, so let’s pretend those don’t exist.”
FACT: they’ve had more rifts with David Lee Roth than they EVER did with Sammy. Not to mention that Gary Cherone left the band on amicable terms. There’s no drama there. So … what the hell.
I don’t know. If, for whatever reason, I just happened to be listening to the radio, and a Van Halen song came on, I don’t think I’d necessarily kick it off. I don’t have any on my phone or ipod, so I don’t think any will becoming through my playlist any time soon … but I just don’t see myself reverting back to a point where I swoon over them like I once did. Their time has come and gone.