Tales from the Jugular

A Child's Perspective on Van Halen: An Accidental Interview

By: Jonah Haze
Published: Friday, August 24, 2012
My favorite and only nephew and I celebrated his 11th birthday at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, (in Cali) recently. Personally I was so sensory overloaded with fun the whole day I really felt his age again. Of course the next day I felt my age and it was no longer fun.

As much as I was surprised with my endurance, this day was full of surprises.

We happenstanced upon a trio of lil local beach boys, two brothers, 10 and 11 with a buddy 10 years old. After a visual lock on one of them sporting a Van Halen 2012 tour shirt and with the jungle produced clicking sound of the Predator I baited the little Spicoli's attention. For purposes of anonymity and the fact I don't remember his name, we will now refer to this young-ling as "Junior".

The eternal metalhead never ages, so of course I'm like, "Hey! rocking the Halen, man! Right on!" Mind you, this is California so about every other sentence will end with the term, "man," for purposes of addressing the other person when your sentence is over. And the term "dude" is used about every other time to open up a new sentence or start with as a reply.

Without hesitation he thanked me with a big smile for the complimentary comment.

"The beauty of engaging in such a two-way, informal interview was that it was all-natural. Junior was excited and excitable allowing me to follow his suit instead of leading. "

As I advanced in for the kill he was halfway blinded by the sun so he wasn't sure if I was a Van Halen roadie or a park employee. I jump into interview mode without even putting on the suit.

I was just talkin’ rock with the boys and it never occurred to me that the conversation would go beyond the Big Dipper line, but it did and resonated beyond. I knew I had to write this. Such youth in the wise and wise in the youth moments need to be shared.

Leading the conversation, as the arrogant bastard I am, I questioned where he got the T. Junior stated he got it at the June 5th show in San Jose, Ca. I asked him to move the shirt around to the back and point to the show on the date list printed on both columns. One step ahead of me, Junior made the sad point final with "I know, man, I know."

The follow up of "Who took you?" was pretty easy because we all know the answer was his parents. I was glowing with pride like a pregnant lady during her final trimester.

"So, how old are your parents, man?" was another in an easy line of questioning.

By the way, Junior seemed so enthusiastic to talk rock with an adult he almost offered up all this info with a mini Eddie Trunk like confidence and knowledge. Fucking amazing.

His parents were 40ish. My generation rocks! And our kids rock too!

Now, Mom and Pop have a spirited program of family activities like rock concerts, citing big guns like VH, AC/DC, KISS, METALLICA, O$$Y, SCORPS and more as some of his faves.

Oh yeah, he and his friends were cute when they approved of my Tesla shirt.

With a fervor for the fever of rock, I almost begged Junior to not wear out the shirt and keep it safe prophesying, "Dude, one day that shirt is gonna be worth a shitload of bux!" I didn't even need to apologize for my language. What they hadn't already heard or learned was probably covered by DLR anyway. "Yep, soon, maybe on E-Gay or on your generation's version of Internet commerce will that shirt be priceless, man."

And it will be interesting to see if swag from this reunion will be worth anything now or later to collectors.

He then turned it on me by asking if I saw the show, to which I sadly replied, "Dude, no."

Feeling compassion but not knowing what to say, he gave me that :( look.

Now, I've seen Van Hagar, Sammy solo, Dave solo, and yes, the Cherone catastrophe that FEMA responded to quicker. But, Junior had seen what I had been waiting for since 1984. Little shit!

Junior and his boys all attended the show and rave-ly reviewed it. Mostly, like everyone else, they were frozen in the firey awesomeness of Eddie Van Halen live.

Enjoying braving through these shows without ear plugs was another point of how rock and roll these kids were. They told me they want to hear and see everything so they can tell their friends! Spreading the word at 10 years old is the mark of a well raised child.

We could have gone on forever like two old drunkards at the race tracks but we were isolating ourselves from his buddies and my nephew. My nephew was on the clock looking for hot chicks for his uncle Jonah so he was fine.

I told the boys they should put together a band to keep the rock they love alive. And it was funny because again youth is always a step ahead. One played bass, the other drums and the other guitar. My nephew suggested that I sing for them, we all laughed and I almost considered it thinking about the marketing alone.

Eventually our time came to an end as the line picked up, but Junior went on to explain the history of the band to his brother and friend. My ears were bleeding happy blood listening to him, "Dude, no, David Lee Roth was the original singer for Van Halen, then Sammy Hagar replaced him and now David Lee Roth is back with the band, man!"

Juniors school wasn't out yet as he continued, whether or not his boys were interested or could follow him, "So now, you remember Michael Anthony the original bass player?" He went with Sammy to form Chickenfoot and that's why they have Eddie's son playing bass."

I have a feeling that Junior will go on to share what he has learned and learn more to share. His enthusiasm captures an immediate audience hungry for instant gratification. Sharing news, knowledge, experiences and emotions are the foundations that keep the brotherhood of rock together. And the keystones are the children as well evidenced by my fortunate meeting of minds. I didn't get to meet his parents but I would have given them huge heart hugs and kudos for setting a rock example.

The beauty of engaging in such a two-way, informal interview was that it was all-natural. Junior was excited and excitable allowing me to follow his suit instead of leading.

As fulfilled as he was after the VH show, he really seemed to care about those that were thrown under the tour bus. Even as horrible as it is seeing an accident on the side of the road, it will not deter him from enjoying his own highway to hell. Now that’s rock and roll, man!

I do have hope for the world that our kids will keep us alive by keeping rock alive.

High from the conversation and cotton candy I flashed back to when David Lee Roth was cool, our parents thought so too and everything just felt right in the world. It was more than a feeling. It was reassurance.

I mean, have you seen Junior's grades? I don't care because the cradle will rock. And I say Rock On!

God bless Van Halen for the attempt at least! God bless the youth of the world who have rockin’ parents! God bless the kids who want to rock! God bless rock and roll!

But none of this would be possible without my nephew. Thank you Steven and Happy Birthday!

I Love you!

Stay smurfy,

Jonah Haze

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