A saw something that got me to thinking about the good times I've had, with Van Halen in my ears or in my face. 

First off, where is this coming from? It's coming from the fact that I saw a special edition of LIFE magazine dedicated to Van Halen. For the boys to make it from raunch Pasadena rockers to a tribute edition of a pretty well-respected magazine is kind of a big deal.

I was just a kid/teen in Orange Country California when we heard rumbling about Van Halen. Even better, they'd play backyard parties around the area. The parties were generally five bucks to get in and you could drink beer until the keg was gone (even if you were 14). At some point, the cops would raid the house and the band would play under the spotlight of the police helicopter and it was cool.

I remember when I moved to Texas that one of the first signs that everything was going to be cool was a concert with Black Sabbath and Van Halen. I immediately bought a ticket and the show was immediately canceled (I never knew why). I did manage to catch the guys several times with Dave, even though we disappointingly missed out on the 1984 tour because the Lubbock Colesium's roof couldn't hold their equipment.

I also enjoyed the guys many times during the Sammy years and hung out with them on numerous occasions (they never really quit partyin', they just slowed down a bit). Later, Dave played a solo gig here in town with a Van Halen tribute band backing him up (who later formed the core of Steel Panther). I got to meet Dave that night and got my copy of "Crazy From The Heat" signed.

Van Halen has always been special to me because the music was hard, but it was catchy. I've never seen anything wrong with combining the two and a number of artists have done it successfully (people like Priest with "Living After Midnight). Adding to the music was the absolute joy with which these guys presented themselves on stage.

So yeah, Van Halen is worthy of LIFE magazine, because, for so many of us, Van Halen was life for many, many years.

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