My Rock Life Mirror
If a movie of my life were ever made, Sammy Hagar would be the soundtrack.
I grew up with a transistor radio under my pillow at night and listened to everything from top 40 to Motown to classical. I finally got enough money in my shallow little pocket to buy my first album when I was in high school in the early 70's in St. Louis....I had become a KSHE-95 devotee and was totally hooked by Rock The Nation. Rock Candy and Bad Motor Scooter. My high school roomate (boarding school) had the stereo system, and we each had just enough mad money to buy one album each. He bought Bad Company's debut album, and I bought the first Montrose (pink and Yellow?) album. We played air guitars to your music and studied our asses off. It was the beginning of a Rock love affair which I only found growing in depth and intensity as time went by.
I always wanted to play guitar, and in fact did, off and on as a self-taught amateur. You were always the music that was bouncing around in my head. Rock, to me, was not social change or depression, or many of the dark things so much of it became, but the simple fun of getting out with your bros, looking for chicks, stealing a beer or two, and turning up the music no matter what the night brought. It was about working hard when you had to, and then getting out of the house long enough to just have some fun. That was you, and still is.
St. Louis was one of your early hotbeds - KSHE was all about you and your music, because, we as St. Louis rock babies clamored for you. I took that passion to San Antonio for college in 1975, and found KISS FM as its KSHE counterpart. When I read in your book that there were only a few places that you could do your own headline show, I was pleased to see that San Antonio was one of them. My buddy Mike Sheehan and I went to your concert there in 1977 (I think) after the Red Album, which ultimately becamr part of the "All Night Long" live album. To this day, after many, may concerts (Journey and REO Fanatic), it remains at the top of the most memorable shows I have ever seen.
You were balls to the wall and your band was tight and everyone had one hell of a great time there in San Antone. I was only too full of myself when you came out with a live album that included a concert I actually attended. Gary Pihl (sp?) was your lead for that show.....he was spectacular - was surprised that I didn't see him mentioned in your book. As I learned, however, what you see on stage ain't what you get behind the scenes - al the more kudos to your passion and professionalism. You always put on a hell of a show, no matter what winds are swirling around the band dynamics...see Van Halen.
I continued to rock my inner voice to your beat. "Turn Up the Music" might be my favorite of all time, but it's so hard to pick and choose, because you echoed everything that was going on inside my work hard-be something-but have some fun also - little brain. Not pretentious, not into some otherworld religion, or getting lost in your own ego. You were true to the real spirit of Rock and Roll - a little fun and fantasy as a break from the hard core chores of everyday life.
I still remember working in a lab doing research (out of my element) while listening to KSHE 95 after returning to St. Louis to pursue a professional career. I was listening when they announced that you were joining Van Halen (I was psyched), and then when they actually debuted your first VH album on air at midnight one particular night. I recorded that thing on a cassette, and still have it somewhere in my attic. "Hello Ba-a-a-a-a-aby!" and it just got better from there.
I will always regret never having seen you live when you were with Van Halen...I didn't get to go to very many concerts during that time of my life, because I was so focused on family and career. But I followed....man did i follow!. No matter what other rock bands were out there at any given time....and I was a huge fan of so many of them....nothing ever felt better than listening to what you were creating. Man, you just killed it for me! I was still a frustrated rocker, and if I could have, I would have wanted to make your music.
Life took me in a lot of different directions over the years (as I know understand, it did your as well). After two failed marriages, I met the love of my life who among all of the other things in life, brought one uniquely interesting thing to the table that I would not have expected, or needed - she lived in Florida but loved her vacations in Cabo....all the way across the frickin' continent.
NOBODY from Florida goes to Cabo - that's for Californians, you know? But that explains the pix from June 2006. It was our first trip together after having known each other only a few months. As you can see, Cabo Wabo was a "must see". even though, she herself was only vaguely familiar with you. She knew and loved "Right Here, Right Now", and in fact had only one collection of "metal" music on her ipod.....Sammy's Van Halen. She had no idea about your connection to Cabo, and has actually become much more of a fan since I have opened her eyes and ears to your music (she still prefers Motown...but I'm working on that).
That was 2006, and it's now the fifth anniversary of my proposal to her at our regular resort on Medano Bay (Club Cascadas. I proposed to her on the beach in Cabo on Christmas Day of 2006, we were married in 2007 (July 4th - we seem to gravitate to holidays)and we have now been there at least 10 times together....twice a year.
Life is full of circles we weren't truly meant to understand....the day I bought the first Montrose Album as an acne-faced high-school naive neophyte was the day I put my first down payment on the future I had yet to come. Sammy and Cabo and getting past tough times and doubt and a lot of bumps in the road looks a lot more like destiny now than it ever did then.
You and I may never meet or know each other, but we do know each other! You remain the soundtrack of my life, and for all of the different courses our lives have taken over the years, I can't help but think that you have been the Rock version of what I have worked to put together in my own life. I always had a good feeling about you always resurfacing - you didn't just fade away like most rock stars, and you were always true to s beacon in your own heart. I admired that, even without knowing the source.
And having read the book on my last trip to Cabo a few weeks ago, I get it now. My life has taken a fantastic turn for the better, with my Cabo Lady right in the middle of it. It's kids, family, divorce, lawyers, others taking your earnings from you, frustration, perseverence, passion, and all of the other virtues that come out of your book of life. I don't think I've enjoyed quite as much Oral Sex as you did over the years, but I still have time to catch up....and by the way with only ONE woman!. You found yours, and I found mine.
She has your hair by the way...not me.
I can't leave this confessional without professing my appreciation for the Mexican people and the beautiful culture they still live, in spite of the political and social challenges they have. Cabo is beutiful not only because of the geographic blessings of God, but as much so because of the beauty and decency of the Mexican nation. Mexico is so much about family, and so amI...not only my own family, but the Cabo Wabo family that lives in the back of my mind ever day.
I have not been to a "Birthday Bash" yet, but am waiting to buy tickets on July 26th when the window opens. We alternate visits between ourselves alone and family/friend invites - this one includes others. We are ready to be there on October 13th for my wife and I to finally see you at your home venue in Cabo. It will be along day, because we start at 6 am that morning here in Florida, but I am so fired up to finally see you and your bros (ans sis's) do what you do that night. It's time I got to see Sammy, my soundtrack, do his own soundtrack, right there in the heart of Cabo.
I can't wait for Thursday, October 13th, 2011, to just be a huge fan, right there in the audience at that little ole' place. God Blexx you for your cecency and your perseverence. You are among the few, in rock lore, that just stayed true to yourself, and to the values that give us an equal opportunity to do something positive with our lives.
I have told others that yours is the raunchiest inspirational book I have ever read, but it's among the best. And you ARE the best! If you grew up even the slightest bit rock, you gotta read and ingest RED.
Thanks for being my musical legend and my party outlet as well. Hope to shake your hand on October 13th.