And now, a musical interlude

I’ve never been an “I have a crush on a celebrity” type of guy—just never seemed like a productive expenditure of energy, you know? Having said that, there is one celebrity on whom it could legitimately be said I have a crush: Björk. Actually, she’s more of an artist than a celebrity. Part of why I dig her, I suppose.

Wonder Woman, her parents and I saw Björk perform at Radio City Music Hall just a few weeks after 9/11. She was phenomenal, and the beauty and impact of her talent and creativity were all the more amplified by the recency of the worst horror I’d ever witnessed, and my proximity to the site where that horror took place.

I haven’t seen her perform live since that 2001 concert, but I stumbled across this today, and it confirmed for me that she is just as creative and spectacular in concert as I remember:

That, ladies and gentlemen, is talent. (And, yes, I agree that the other woman is fairly distracting … but she has an interesting backstory, and I admire Björk for trying to incorporate her, nonetheless.)

On a related note: Years ago, my brother ran into Björk at a club in Boston. She hugged him. I’m jealous.

Pin It
Posted in Inspiration, Music | Leave a comment

Jayna: 1 year

Jayna, 1 year

Last week, you were busy receiving many presents and shoving large quantities of frosted cake into your face, and I was busy trying to figure out where the hell the past year went all of a sudden.… [read the rest]

Pin It
Posted in Jayna, Jayna's Birthday Letters | Leave a comment

Gilford Cabo Wabo, NH

Cabo Wabo, NH

As anyone who has spent more than 60 seconds in my presence can tell you, I have several yarns I like to spin about exciting moments I have had with the members of Van Halen. The man standing between Wonder Woman and me in the photo above is Kevin Dugan, a good friend to whom I owe a great deal of credit for quite a few of those experiences—the latest of which took place last week, and buried the needle deep into the red on the Holy-Shit-That-Was-Coolometer.

Kevin is the bass-tech extraordinaire for Mr. Michael Anthony of the once-mighty Van Halen. Though that band seems to have gasped its last breath, Michael and singer Sammy Hagar are very much alive and kicking, and are spending the summer touring together. For some reason, their only New England-area stop was at a shed up in New Hampshire called the Meadowbrook Musical Arts Center, which Wonder Woman and I discovered is located just north of The Middle of Fucking Nowhere. After driving for over an hour—a period of time during which we watched the weather go from bad to awful—we almost turned around and went home. It was largely because we didn’t want to blow off Kevin that we forged on … and, as it turned out, he made it more than worth our while.

Shortly after we arrived at the venue, Kevin set us up with passes and escorted us through the gate into the open-air backstage area, where we hung with him before the show and visited with Michael for a bit—and if there is such a thing as writing nonchalantly, I could try to do so right now, but I’d be bullshitting you … so forgive me for sounding like a starry-eyed fan-boy, but, as someone who began worshipping Van Halen starting at around age 12, it is still beyond surreal to have the bassist from that band recognize me on sight and say “Hey, Jon!” before shaking my hand and giving me a quick hug. To what I think is my credit, I respect this dynamic by resisting the urge to slip into starfucker mode and ask him to pose for pictures with us like he’s a prize deer when we see him. (And for those VH fans wondering: yes, Michael is at least as nice and as cool offstage as you would hope).

So, anyway, here’s the part where Kevin kicks things up a notch.

Wonder Woman and I had tickets that I had scored earlier in the week from Sammy’s publicist. Those tickets, it turned out, were for seats set a good distance back from the stage, which I have identified below with the two red circles in section E.

Meadowbrook seating chart

You know how sometimes a radio station or an artist will have staff members roam through the audience at a concert and give ticket upgrades to people with less-than-stellar seats? Well, Mr. Dugan, it turns out, has a similar such program, which last Wednesday involved upgrading Wonder Woman and I from the two red circles in section E to the two black circles located on the stage. Cha-ching! It is from there that we watched the entire show and hung with Kevin while he worked the bass rig.

Sammy’s stage is designed to look like the inside of his Mexican nightclub, the Cabo Wabo Cantina, and includes an actual bar. The moment the show began, the bartender delivered to Wonder Woman and me a couple of big, fat, delicious Waboritas (margaritas made with Sam’s own Cabo Wabo tequila—which, by the way, is muy delicioso). When we emptied those, he promptly delivered two more. “Mas Tequila,” indeed.

Cabo Wabo, NH

Cabo Wabo, NH

The concert was split into two halves, the first half of which featured Sammy and his band—drummer David Lauser, guitarist Victor Johnson and bassist Mona—playing a bunch of Sam’s solo material and cuts from his days with Montrose. Michael spent most of that set hanging out with Kevin and us, then strapped on a bass and hit the stage with Sammy, David and Vic for the second half of the show—or, as I like to call it, The Part That Kicked Total Ass, which comprised about an hour of nothing but Van Halen songs.

Cabo Wabo, NH

Cabo Wabo, NH

Cabo Wabo, NH

Cabo Wabo, NH

Cabo Wabo, NH

Cabo Wabo, NH

By the time it was over, Kevin had loaded us down with guitar picks, the setlist and an empty bottle of Cabo Wabo that Mike, Sammy and Mona had signed for us during the show.

The full set of pictures we took do a pretty good job of capturing the experience.

Meanwhile, I’d just like to say: Hey, Kev—thanks. For everything.

Pin It
Posted in Music, Van Halen | 2 Responses

Jayna: 11 months

Jayna, 11 months

Not too much new to report since last month, and I suspect that I’ll be writing a lengthy entry to mark your soon-to-be-celebrated first birthday, so I’m going to try to keep this relatively brief (which, when it comes to my writing, means that there’s a small chance you won’t die of hunger before you finish reading it).… [read the rest]

Pin It
Posted in Jayna, Jayna's Birthday Letters | 1 Response

Zan: 3 years

Zan 3, close-up

Nine days ago, you turned three. I am just now writing about it, and the delay is due largely in part to us marking the milestone with not just a birthday celebration, but rather a birthweek extravaganza. You, in fact, were feted with not one, not two, but three—count ’em: three!—parties. I’m hoping it is only a coincidence that you had as many parties as the number of years being celebrated, and not the start of a tradition, because I don’t feel capable of keeping up with that past, say, three.… [read the rest]

Pin It
Posted in Parenthood, Zan, Zan's Birthday Letters | Leave a comment