I get this question about once a week, because I wrote this book, so this will be the link I send everyone to in the future.
Short answer: Yes.
Long answer: Yeah, kind of. Once. Here’s the photo.
There’s a few things I remember about this picture:
- If you were born the day this photo was taken, you’re old enough to drink in the US. That’s insanity.
- I skipped my college graduation ceremony to be there. Mail me the diploma. Sorry, commencement speaker, Tracy Chapman. There’s a very different kind of music on my mind, and I don’t have a fast enough car to hear both of you.
- Gary is tiny. He was the first person I met and it felt like how I would imagine meeting Tom Cruise. This guy can perform incredible feats on stage, but is so unassuming in person.
- The camera was a Van Halen-branded, striped disposable 35mm camera with really grainy film for low light. I never got an original to scan and the camera went to someone else. I only have this digital copy.
- The passes were given out to members of the Van Halen Mailing List (VHML). Remember mailing lists? Anyway, it was coordinated by Brad Starks. The band was extremely generous with the passes.
- I wasn’t allowed to shake Eddie’s hand. “If you shake Eddie’s hand, 200 people will want to shake his hand, and there won’t be a concert.” This was the typical speech given backstage by Scotty Ross at every show.
- Alex is the only one who spoke to me and it was just to say, “Hey! What’s up?”
- I never had contact with the band after this. I only got messages from insiders, lawyers, and management (usually filtered through third parties). Sometimes, I just want to start a podcast to have the many conversations I always meant to have with everyone I write about (not just Van Halen). I need to correct this, since none of us are getting younger!