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“Rockin’ out to Some Sammy Hagar Like a Big F** ’Cause That’s Just What I Do”

I forget what I was reading, but it was some account of Chris Cornell attending this night party on Puget Sound in his late teens or early 20s. According to the narration, he jumped into the Sound on this one particular 20-degree night and not only proceeded to swim out, but did so for 15 or so minutes until he was no longer visible. When he came back, he got into picking up really fat dudes and throwing them into the water (which according to Nirvana’s song “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle” is really polluted and “disease-covered,” [1] to use their exact terminology). Also according to the article Cornell was “laughing like a madman the entire time.” Then on Modest Mouse’s Isaac Brock, one dude said “He was this crazy kid who would do anything.”
Look. I’m just gonna be up front with you. Lock the kids in the tater cellar. It’s a man’s game. Regular folk fall in line. Leave the rock and roll to the monsters.
With one look at Sammy Hagar, who commenced singing in Van Halen after that group’s albeit great album 1984 and has also had a solo career, you might hate him, if you’re in the mood for a person with whom you can sit down and have a coffee and a civil conversation. Like Jimi Hendrix and Incubus’ Mike Einziger, he’s got hair that makes him look like he actually stuck the amp cord in an electrical outlet, sending a high voltage shock throughout his entire system. His face is the color of an on-the-vine tomato. I didn’t look it up but I’m sure he’s from Jersey, or somewhere terrible like that, where the girls smoke and wear skimpy clothing and the guys are laid back and will joke around with you in loud voices provided you’re not a big co**sucker and you don’t say retarded things like Radiohead is the “World’s Greatest Rock Band” or that they’re summer music in any way.
So anyway, “Right Now” might be the most famous “Van Hagar” cut [2], which from what I remember was the theme song for “Crystal Pepsi” in the early ’90s (that clear-colored permutation of the cola soft drink not to be outdone by Brew Link Ivory Stout) and was MEGA around the ’92 olympics in Barcelona. Somewhere in the mid-1990s, then, Van Halen disbanded completely and Hagar went on to fling out a little solo album Marching to Mars in ’97, an album unfortunately unavailable on Spotify, per my searches. I remember Marching to Mars for furnishing the two radio singles “Little White Lie” and “Both Sides Now,” each of which was successful, each of which made an impression on a 13 year old me, and, each of which, mind you, shirked entire the issue or endeavor of romance in any regard (how’s that for refreshing after your average Van Halen romp).
And then just looking today I did find that he’s been a set of active musical hands ever since, that his catalogue is vast and multifarious, and most importantly, Christ, he’s having fun making this stuff called rock and roll (known in most sectors as “summer music”). I pulled up 2014’s Lite Roast and, about seven seconds in, I got that same feeling like when you can either look at a girl or not, and if you do, your life will be changed forever. I listened to a little bit, heard a great, quick chord progression and a pristine acoustic sound aligning with Extreme’s “Hole Hearted” or Supertramp’s “Give a Little Bit,” and, well, a bunch of barbaric yawps. Lock the humans in the tater cellar. Rock and roll’s a neanderthal’s game. To all, some good ear plugs.
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[1] More matter of interest along these lines includes the story by I think the Monomen early in Hype! about the “bubbles of death,” these bubbles that would float through Seattle proper in the ’80s and were filled with this toxic radioactive liquid goo type thing.
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[2] According to urban legend, the natives were most restless with the vocalist switch in Van Halen from David Lee Roth to Sammy Hagar… the latter is derisively dubbed “Van Hagar” in the movie Joe Dirt (which is depicted as white trash, obviously) and even in the Wikipedia personnel section for For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge they list vocalist Sammy Hagar UNDER Eddie Van Halen and his brother, despite said singer being alphabetically premiere. For the record, it’s Eddie Van Halen who enjoys credits for “powerdrill” on this project.

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