The once and future Van Halen frontman has parlayed the sex and drugs and rock ‘n’ roll of his youth into a wild middle age, and he wants to teach us all about it. Drinking, smoking, and swinging swords on a Saturday night at home with the last true rock star.
“We lived our lives like roughnecks,” he says. “Roustabouts, circus carnies. I wonder if it’s still a dream to live the way we lived. I know the success part of it is. Not just the partying, but the travel, the late nights, not just with groupies, but with all kinds of colleagues in a variety of other pursuits. I wonder if I even see that in people’s eyes.”
“The altitude drop is when somebody realizes who you are and they take you to task. Now you’re the guy who gets to do garbage five days in a row instead of one, and doing ambulance-garage garbage is different from I-just-finished-dinner-and-now-I-have-to-dump-the-garbage-darling garbage. That will test you. But I was old enough and smart enough to know what I’d signed up for. These tactics are of value, they’re a contribution.” For years he went on ambulance calls all over New York City, and found that a life in the music business was good preparation for rushing to the aid of grievously injured people in the less picturesque corners of the city. “My skills were serious,” he says. “Verbal judo, staying calm in the face of hyper-accelerated emotion. Same bizarre hours. Same keening velocity.”
“Being a rock star is being a rock star, I don’t need to go into the details. What would you do if you were a rock star?”
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