...Holy smokes! Fucking Van Halen! You got to love those old records. Eddie and the gang wrote some epic rocking songs and David Lee Roth could do the splits with the best of them, ouch!
My love for the rock heroes is one of the reasons I am so stoked I got to play on their stage. No, my band has not reached that high of a pinnacle in the echelon of hard rock nor we will ever and we definitely do not have a commercial enough sound to get to open up for the legendary foursome at some random super arena near you.
You know, I always wondered what big rock bands do with all their stage set ups. Like Iron Maiden with all their different colossal sized tapestries of every painting Derek Riggs ever did for them. That's not mentioning the various Eddies and Bruce's wicked eagle's mask. I have forfeited a large part of my living space to house extra shirts, C.D.s, records, art work, silly stage props and I hang the banners on the ceiling. I have never had to deal with an arena sized stage though. That shit has got to cost you even when you are not touring just for storage fees.
Now I am not sure if Van Halen is aware what is being done to their stage during their absence but that is the beauty of L.A. I got to play in the Los Angeles area back in March. The warehouse where the show was at was a really cool spot and run by some really straight mother fuckers. And yes, they have part of Van Halen's stage in there and the stage is tall as all hell, like 6 feet tall on wheels. I could feel it move as I played the drums that night.
The show that my band Dripfed got to play was opening up for The Grimms, Decry and Battalion of Saints. When I heard that, I was fucking blown away! Those are some legendary old bands we got to play with. Normally we would never get a chance to play with those big named of bands in Colorado. Our bros in L.A. hooked us up with a sick show though and hopefully everyone would see it as punk rock and be stoked.
Right before we played I got a stern warning about paying attention to the edge of the giant stage. I was shown a video, on one of those fancy smart phones, of a young punk band playing there the week before. The singer clad in leather and chains with a spiky Mohawk was up on stage giving it his best go when he takes a step into the blackness of open space and takes a header right off the stage disappearing into the black maws of oblivion. My buddy Maury was putting on the show and warned me about the stage and went on to describe how this kid broke open his head, the band had to stop and he was taken to the emergency room. Fuck! We were nervous about enough shit as it was, like the fact that we have never played on a stage over a foot and a half tall and now we are nearly a fathom up in the air.
This show had a strange effect on me though. It reminded me of a record I use to have when I was a teenager. I have had two record collections in my life. The one I own now, I started when I was twenty years old. It is just under a thousand L.P.s. Sadly there was another collection I started when I was in my teens. That collection was only about fifty L.P.s and it was stolen along with all my possessions when I lived in New Orleans. That's a whole other story though. In the collection that was stolen there was a Battalion of Saints record. it was a "best of" compilation and I can't remember if it had a name. I always look around for those old records that had been stolen so I can buy them up again but it has been low tide for Battalion of Saints records over the years. Shit, the band didn't even have anything to sell at the show! Anyways, at the beginning of this certain record there is a short interview with one of the members, all which are now dead except for the singer, regarding the band's music. In that interview someone disses on Van Halen all bad. I can't remember now-a-days exactly how it went. It has been to long since I last jammed it but it was something about how singing songs that have to do with cars and girls is lame and there is more important shit to be singing about. At least that was the gist of it. I remember my buddy Joe would get all bummed out because he was way into punk but really liked Van Halen too. On that same record B.O.S. covers Van Halen's chart topper "Panama" but they sang enema instead. Hilarity!
Battalion of Saints was one of my favorites. Their guitar riffs were a major source of inspiration in my early guitar writing. Getting to play the same show was a bit nostalgic for me in the sense that it was not only a band I have been listening to for 20 plus years but we were playing with Battalion of Saints on Van Halen's stage. Huh, go figure!?!