Love and Rockets

_Bewildered, mankind drowns in despair. We ask ourselves, "Is there anyone out there who can inject some clarity into this ball of confusion we call a planet?" Why, yes. Yes there is... Introducing, the blog that saved the world-AGONY AUNTIE M. EXPLAINS IT ALL. Any questions, queries, quandaries or cries for help you may have regarding your puny human lives may be addressed to Auntie M. at mj[at] The answers are waiting. _ Dear Auntie M, I don't like blueberries. Is there something wrong with me? Signed, Berry Wary Dear BW, Something wrong with you?! ABSOLUTELY NOT! The blueberry is enough to fill any reasonable person with disdain. They are a vile fruit and not to be trusted. Blueberries appear to be sweet, plump and juicy, then you attempt to eat one and it scratches the roof of your mouth and your tongue with that little Jughead hat it wears on its bottom. What's with that?! A cranberry would never do that to you. Worst of all, blueberries aren't even blue. They're dark purple on the outside and red on the inside. Yet, somehow, they still manage to stain yogurt and pancakes blue. EVIL! They are the most deceptive and deceitful of all fruits. This is why the blueberry is known as "nature's liar." However, it is not to be confused with the "lie-berry," which is a place where the linguistically challenged go to borrow books. So, please, feel free to dislike blueberries. Hate them, even. And, feel free to hate people who say "lie-berry," too. I know I do. M Dear Auntie M, I have this lesbian friend, we'll call her "Sadie." Sadie is frequently inviting me to [Muncher's Bakery][1] for some donuts, then she giggles. I'm not sure, but sometimes I swear I catch her staring at my breasts. Checking me out is sort of unsettling, but I REALLY do like donuts. Sadie is extremely pretty and smart and funny, too. I really wouldn't mind going for donuts with her. Does this make me gay, too? Sincerely, Muncher's Lover Dear Muncher, Yes. You are totally gay. You said yourself that you think she is "extremely pretty." Well, only lesbians think that other girls are pretty. It's like a scientific fact. However, to be certain, I contacted a few other people who, like you, are attracted to women - mainly a couple of lesbians and one straight guy. They all agree that you are positively gay...except for the straight guy, who says that you are probably gay but may just be bi-curious and you should video yourself with other women and send it to him, so that he can know for sure. It's understandable if you are reluctant to jump into bed with "Sadie" right away. No worries. There are a number of activities that lesbians enjoy that do not involve hot girly sex. You might want to challenge her to a game of field hockey. They love that. Or, perhaps you could go shopping for pickup trucks. Or, just take Sadie's suggestion and go have some donuts together. You could sip coffee and discuss you favorite Suzanne Vega album or what sort of carpeting you prefer. What have you got to lose? Lesbians are great! Donuts are great! So, go. Have fun. And, if it turns out I'm wrong... well, hey, free donuts. M Dear Auntie M, My sister listens to Van Halen, a lot. Which is fine, except that she'll listen to ANY Van Halen, including the shit with Sammy. I've tried to talk to her about it, but she just doesn't get it. She actually thinks he's okay. Will you please explain to her that Van Halen is fine, but Van Hagar is just wrong! Best of both worlds? I don't think so. Sincerely, Sick of Sam Oh, brother: First of all, there is NO such thing as "Van Hagar." Yes, there is a distinct difference between the band with Dave and the band with Sammy. And, yes, the band with Dave is arguably better by far. However, Van Halen has never really been about vocals, Van Halen is about the GUITAR! - and the Guitar has always been VAN HALEN. Regardless of who's singing, as long as that little axe-grinding virtuoso is playing in the band, the band will be VAN HALEN. If Cher were on lead vocals, they would be Van Halen. If Eddie left the band and started playing with Roxette, that band would be Van Halen...though, he may need Alex to pull that one off. Admittedly, Gary Cherone was a rather extreme choice, no pun intended, however the band remains Van Halen. Whether it's Diamond Dave, the Red Rocker, Cherone, or Cher, the band is and will always be VAN HALEN. To call them anything else is an insult to ROCK, and I will not abide that. Now, get out of my sight... and call Mom, she misses you. M [1]:


hodgie 18 years, 6 months ago

I don't think that Getty Lee and Diamond Dave could be in the same room together. The force created by their competing egos would most likely cause the world to explode. Maybe we could harness this power as some sort of new energy source?

tbecs 18 years, 6 months ago

Finally! Some real advice! I have been waiting for this so long that I don't know what to do with myself!!

WIDOWMAKER 18 years, 6 months ago

sammy's best days were when he was singing for montrose. dave is twice the showman (it is the entertainment biz afterall) than most frontmen past or present. the only true way that sammy-era was better was that they reached higher chart positions than the dave-era.

Joel 18 years, 6 months ago

I'm sorry, but the Gary Cherone album never happened. Never.

edie_ 18 years, 5 months ago

Finally someone is here to out the lies and deception of blueberries. thank you Auntie M.

thank fuck you're back.

devlin 18 years, 5 months ago

Dear Agony Auntie M.,

I believe my friend Michael Anthony would take serious issue with your assertion that Van Halen is all about the "GUITAR." For the esteemed Mr. Anthony, Van Halen is all about the wafer-thin falsetto that keeps the vocals on key. It's about three to four note, monotonous, flat-tire bass lines. It's about timeless mullets and beards and brightly colored jumpsuits. Most importantly, it's about swilling that hallowed Tennessee sour mash that was the inspiration for the grail of all bass guitars--the Jack Daniels bass. It's all about providing bathroom-breaks for Eddie, Alex, and the flavor o' the month with five-to-eight-minute, nod off bass solos. I could go on, but instead I will refer you to the man himself:

And lest we denigrate the contributions of one Mr. Alex Van Halen. Well, perhaps that is for another time...

I'm afraid that you, Mrs M., have employed the same faulty logic that many a spirited VH fan has mistakenly employed since the mid-70s. I believe it follows a pattern not unlike the one below:

1) Rock, thy name is Van Halen. (this must open the sequence).

2) Van Halen is the name of the greatest rock and roll band ever.

3) Van Halen is the last name of two Dutch born musical geniuses name Edvard and Alexandr Von Halen (make the devil fingers now).

3) Of the two brothers, Eddie is clearly the dominant one. I mean, really, Alex is a good drummer and all, but he's so clearly a panty-sniffer.

4) Rock, thy name is Van Halen (again, like the "Hail Mary" in the rosary).

5) Eddie Van Halen is the greatest guitar player to grace mankind (please play "Eruption" at full volume).

6) Therefore, Van Halen is all about the GUITAR.

It's a convincing, though incorrect, line of logic. The name of the group is not "The Eddie Van Halen Experience" or "Eddie Van Halen and his weird older brother and some other dudes they met on the beach". The name of the band is Van Halen, which is a larger entity than Eddie. Within the rock and roll animal that is Van Halen, Eddie Van Halen is but an organ or appendage. Granted, he may be a central organ, it may even be fair to say that he is the heart of Van Halen. The heart itself, sans body, however, is not at all interesting. It is Joe Satriani. But put the heart in a body that has a sex organ (Roth), a brain (Alex), and a bad liver (Anthony), and you've got yourself a live rock band, and not just any live rock band, but the best live rock band of all time. Superior genetics, indeed. See the confusion, and are we clear? Good.

"Class dismissed!"

For our next lesson, we'll learn why Sammy Hagar was not a legitimate presence in Van Halen, and about repeated failed assassination attempts on the Red Rocker, dating back to 1986 and the "Monsters of Rock" tour stop at Arrowhead Stadium, on through the Cabo years.

hodgie 18 years, 5 months ago

Devlin, you're a genius! Let me know when you'll be giving this class at Columbia. I'll be there with my devil fingers.

devlin 18 years, 5 months ago

I am the Andy Kaufman of the blogosphere.

It occurred to me that I could just leave well enough alone and get back to work. But it's either e-mail Jamie Kennedy's publicist (long, shameful story), or answer the injustices done Diamond Dave by the misguided leigons of Hagar apologists. Therefore:

Lesson #2

In this lesson, we'll explore how Van Halen was emasculated by the expulsion of David Lee Roth, and how listening to Van Halen post-Diamond Dave is equivalent to trying to sex up a eunuch.

Let's explore two lyrical passages. The first is from the album "5150", the first to feature Sammy Hagar on lead vocals:

"How do I know When it's Love? I can't tell you but it lasts forever. How does it feel When it's Love? It's just something you feel together."

The second lyrical example is from 1981's seminal album "Fair Warning." The song, featuring a brash and brazen Diamond Dave on vocals, is entitled "Sinner's Swing":

"Come back to your senses baby, we can come to terms, I can almost t-t-taste it, it burns, you be sittn' pretty, but you try to take the fifth, wearin' out my welcome gifts, I better say my prayers."

Perhaps this is not the best example. I deliberately chose the "Fair Warning" example over a more obvious one, say, the "I can barely see the road from the heat comin' on..." lyrical coupling form the song "Panama." I invite you to come up with your own comparisons. For the moment, the above example, I believe, will suffice.

The first thing we notice in the Hagar example is it's perspective--innocent, naively curious, even virginal. No doubt influenced by Foreigner's return to the virgin-state comeback hit "I Want to Know What Love Is," the approach favors virginal ambling over virile trashtalking. It's as if the brothers of Van Halen symbolically, and perhaps even subconsciously, organized a blood flow shift by cutting off the penis, here a euphemism for the sacking (no pun intended) of DLR.

Looking at our second example, we see that it's all swagger. It drips with virile sexuality. The perspective is that of a libidinous male involved in a complicated mating ritual. The seduction requires a complex mix of peacock strutting and barely veiled, tongue in cheek sexual referencing. The pursued is clearly playing hard to get, while the pursuer, while eager between the buttons, must try his best to play it cool. If successful, which we believe he will eventually be, the two will be perpetually locked in the dance of dances, the "Sinner's Swing." Not since the Bard's lines in Othello refering to the "beast with two backs" or the "black ram tupping your white ewe" have we seen sexual promiscuity depicted with such cavalier lyricism.

hodgie 18 years, 6 months ago

Auntie M, Van Hagar DOES exist. It's just not the same without DLR. The videos were better, the stage presence was better, and let's face it, Sammy did not wear spandex leotard thongs nor did Sammy wear pants with the butt checks cut out. What's up with that?

zombietom 18 years, 5 months ago

Wow! Devlin, I know that it is a quarter past four in the morning and I am sitting here reading LDC blogs but, brother, go out and get some fresh air. Your depth of knowledge, christ, your passion for all things Van Halen is freaking impressive, but I must say, a little bit scary. Please don't take this as an insult. I am truly impressed and as Hodgie said, if you were to lecture, I would be there whith my devil fingers held at PROUD salute, but (once again) WOW!

Oh, and everyone out ther must bow down and thank the vengefull gods that Aunty M. is there to set this scary world straight for all of us lost souls.

Long live Aunty M.

devlin 18 years, 5 months ago

It looks as though we're out of time. But I'll leave you with this suggestion, you advice giving enchantress. While the Van Halen brothers retreated into a world of nostalgic pre-pubescent wanking, Diamond Dave strutted his stuff procuring the elusive "Yankee Rose" as a bumblebee in yellow and black assless chaps.

If I ever get around to it, I'll be lecturing about this at Columbia within ten years. Lesson 3, which will likely not be delivered in this forum, is entitled, "David Lee Roth, Swan Song of the Gigolo" and refers to the years after his singing career. Highlights of the third series include 1) Getting busted trying to score a dimebag in Washington Square Park, 2) Unexplainable cameos on "The Sopranos", and 3) Training to be an EMT in NYC, where we'll enact a situation in which students will simulate lying on the pavement in the Bowery with their guts spilled out while Dave the EMT leans over them in brightly colored tribal makeup and says,

"Give me a botlle of anything. And a glazed donut. To Go."

hamonade 18 years, 5 months ago

I noticed an email address in the introduction to the blog. It said something about if you have questions, then send them to blah blah and gave an address. I don't remember exactly. I could look, but that would require scrolling to the top of the page. Anyway, maybe that's what you're looking for, eh, blixa?

Rob Gillaspie 18 years, 6 months ago

You fucking rule. Thank you so much for coming back. The blogs page NEEDED a shot in the arm!

blixa2x4 18 years, 6 months ago

Auntie M just might be the wind beneath my wings.

Because I need direction and don't feel like taking advantage of our Employee Assistance Program at work (their ad campaign with the Sisyphus-like ant pushing his troubles uphill and the ugly dog with way-too-thick eyewear clouding his vision makes my holes clench), where would I send requests for advice?

Frank Dorsey 18 years, 5 months ago

Man, than Devlin should write for a rock magazine, or somethin'.

Bad_Brad 18 years, 6 months ago

I happen to think that Van Halen was better with Hagar. With Roth, it was just a pop/showy band with an awesome guitar player. With Hagar, it still had the awesome guitar player, but it added a great deal of depth. Compare their solo careers and you'll know that - well - there is no comparison. Hagar is far more accomplished as an artist, writer, singer, and performer than Diamond Dave will ever be. There's no contest here. VH was better with Sammy.

MAMAT 18 years, 6 months ago

Taking your offer of advice at face value:

Dear Auntie M: What should one say to a friend who continues dating (or being married to) a jerk (or jerk-ess) and yet wants you to listen and sympathize when the object of their affection behaves true to type? Oh, and what advice do you have for people hopelessly addicted to the internet in lieu of having real realtionships or a life?

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