I’ve been pondering this post for a while and given this week’s preponderence of music related posts, this seemed like a good time.
So, jump in the GonzoGeek Wayback Machine and journey back with me to 1985 won’t you?
1985 – New Coke, Reagan, Live Aid, NES, Calvin & Hobbes, Windows 1.0, Back to the Future, Miami Vice, and USA for Africa.
Rock Hudson dies of AIDS. Michael Phelps is born.
Madonna marries Sean Penn.
Not necessarily in that order.
And, perhaps the most techtonic of all them all, David Lee Roth leaves Van Halen.
Riding high on the success of his “Crazy from the Heat” EP and his near constant rotation on a very young MTV, Dave leaves the band that made him famous to pursue a solo career.
According to Wikipedia, this took place on April 1, 1985. I remember it being later in the summer. Why? Because I remember my sister leaving me a note with the “breaking news” at my place at the family table before she left for a softball tournament.
Now, what’s the point of all this mindless nostalgia? Glad you asked.
It’s to tell the story of what would have been the very first GonzoGeek post had the internet and blogging existed in that long gone decade of the 80s.
You see, Stephe and I have been friends since even before Dave left VH. And during the summer of 85, we travelled Louisiana and parts of Arkansas following my sister’s softball team. Why? We were teenagers and there were cute athletic teenage girls involved. You do the math.
As Stephe and I sat along the chain link fence cheering the Jaguars to victory in some tournament, we began to speculate as to who could possibly replace Diamond Dave as the lead singer and frontman of Van Halen. They’d have to have style. They’d have to have panache. They’d have to be able to sort of sing.
I wish I could tell you all the ins and outs of the conversation and brainstorming, but 23 years is a long time my dear reader(s). What I do remember is we narrowed our list of potential candidates down to 3. Having no idea Eddie would initially offer the job to Patty Smyth, here is what we came up with.
Remember, it was 1985.
MORRIS DAY – A frontman in the same style over substance vein as Dave. At the time he was on fire. “Jungle Love” and “The Bird” were everywhere. He held his own in “Purple Rain” against Prince. An unorthodox pick, but one that was just crazy enough to work. I believe Jay may have said it best…
TED NUGENT – Everyone’s favorite Motor City Madman was in a bit of a slump by the mid-80s. He hadn’t quite perfected his right wing gun nut persona. He did, however, possess the same “jungle stud” vibe that Dave had and he was a big fan of “alternative flesh management.” Plus, he’d bring another axe to the band. That would probably be exhibit number one against for Eddie.
SAMMY HAGAR – This was at the height of VOA and “I Can’t Drive 55.” Sammy had been in Montrose and the semi-supergroup HSAS with Neil Schon. His sound was similar to Van Halen’s. He would bring a rhythm guitar to the band. This one seemed to be about right.
Turns out it was exactly right.
Sammy met Eddie through their mechanic and was soon in the studio recording 5150. Several million records and a Mexican bar later, the honeymoon was over, but we’ll always have Cabo Wabo.
Why do I remember this? Easy. WE WERE RIGHT!
What are the odds of that? Really.
For what its worth, we also figured David Lee Roth would be the first singer of his generation to play Vegas. He was.
We really should have used these powers to make some money.
So, where are they now?
After decades of squabbling, David Lee Roth and Van Halen reunited for a massiver reunion tour in 2008. Missing this time? Michael Anthony. He’ll be around next time I’m sure.
Morris Day faded quicker than you can say “Oak Tree,” but “Uungle Love” is a staple of 80s radio and rightfully so. Morris was deified in “Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back.” Kevin Smith knows what he’s talking about kids.
Ted Nugent went on to for Damn Yankees with Tommy Shaw of Styx, Jack Blades from Night Ranger, and that kid who used to pound on pickle buckets in Levi commercials (I may not be right about that third one. They score a huge hit in the early 90s with “High Enough.” Then Ted got his wide-eyed, gun crazed hunter persona down and became a perpetual guest on American talk shows. He still tours and can still shred. Chris and I saw him a couple of years ago and my ears rang for days.
Sammy Hagar? He’s doing okay. After leaving/getting fired from Van Halen, he focused on two things. Tequila and becoming the heavy metal Jimmy Buffett. The tequila thing worked out splendedly as he recently sold most of his stock in Cabo Wabo Tequila to an international liquor company for 7 or 8 figures. This summer he was part of the Pirates and Poets tour with Kenny Chesney. That’s right, Sammy was on a country package tour. He was also at Rock the Bayou. Mas tequila!
I hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Now, does anyone know how to get WordPress up to 88 so we can get back to the present?