Almost one year to the day before Edward Van Halen died, I texted a friend whom I was pretty sure would know the answer to a question that had been troubling me for some time.
I got out of the Army in 1991, one week before Christmas. My brother’s gift to me that year was Soundgarden’s “Badmotorfinger.” I was a short-haired, 21-year-old, ex-military cop with my sights set on a career in law enforcement.
Less than two years later, I was a long-haired, college-radio DJ whose daily attire consisted of beat-up combat boots, ripped jeans, flannel shirts and a leather biker jacket. I had discovered I could write, and I no longer wanted to be a cop. Chris Cornell’s voice featured prominently on the soundtrack to my transformation.
I’ve lost musical idols before … and when each of them died, I was sad. What I was not, however, was deeply surprised. They were guys who played with fire for years, and it eventually consumed them.
But Prince? Prince? Prince tells the fire what to do. Prince controls the elements. Prince is an element. You can look it up: there’s earth, wind, fire, water, and Prince.
Originally published on Dec 15, 2015 at SoundSpike.com
Back in the early ’90s, Richie Kotzen replaced the original guitarist in the band Poison for about five minutes, and if his brief and unlikely stint with that hair-metal outfit is the only thing for which you know him, then you don’t know him at all. In fact, you’ve probably got the wrong impression.
I’m not sure if you remember me. It’s been a while since I last wrote to you. Thirty-six years, in fact. Here, let me refresh your memory:
Photo by Jon Zal
Originally published on March 6, 2012 at SoundSpike.com
Only a complete a fool would expect the 56-year-old version of Edward Van Halen to play with the same kind of turbo-charged fury and mind-blowing complexity that knocked the rock world on its collective ass more than three decades ago. And yet, that is exactly what the guitar legend did in Philadelphia Monday night (3/5).
I knew going into last Thursday night’s Van Halen concert that, based solely on the size of the venue, I’d be fairly close to the stage … but I didn’t know I’d be THIS close:
(I also didn’t know that the band was picking up everyone’s bar tab … which is a shame, because, had I found that out prior to the end of the show, I’m certain I could have done a hell of a lot more damage than a mere three bottles of Sam Adams. Just sayin’.)
Photo by Jon Zal
Originally published on Jan. 6, 2012 at SoundSpike.com
Halfway through Van Halen’s blistering Thursday night (1/5) set at New York City’s Cafe Wha?, reinstated frontman David Lee Roth posed a question to the crowd: “Have you noticed that Van Halen fans have decided they’ve had a great time [at the show], like, three weeks in advance?”