Happy Birthday to me … in NYC … Wait, come back. I promise I won’t try to bust out any more rhymes.

Happy Birthday to me ... in NYC ... Wait, come back. I promise I won't try to bust out any more rhymes.
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I’m 42 today.… [read the rest]

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Posted in Featured Photo, My Birthday | 30 Responses

If I had been any closer to the stage at that Van Halen show the other night, I’d be carrying Eddie’s baby

I knew going into last Thursday night’s Van Halen concert that, based solely on the size of the venue, I’d be fairly close to the stage … but I didn’t know I’d be THIS close:

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

No, seriously:

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

(I also didn't know that the band was picking up everyone's bar tab ... which is a shame, because, had I found that out prior to the end of the show, I'm certain I could have done a hell of a lot more damage than three bottles of Sam Adams. Just sayin'.)

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

One of the most awesome things about sitting this close to the stage while seeing Van Halen perform in a tiny little basement club in New York City … is being able to say that you were sitting this close to the stage while seeing Van Halen perform in a tiny little basement club in New York City.

In truth, the show was awesome, but the sound was pretty muddy — partly because the room was the size of a breath mint, and partly because I was sitting directly in front of Wolfgang Van Halen’s bass rig, the thunder emanating from which largely drowned out Eddie’s guitar and David Lee Roth’s vocals, and the concussive force of which I’m pretty sure damaged my internal organs.

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

All this shit right here was aimed at my head and torso.

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

That's Wolfgang playing his bass. I tried to strum a few chords, but he
smacked my hand away. Killjoy.

Now, I was going to just show you some more pictures and be done with it, but then Type-A Jon said, “Hey, slacker: There’s a father-son angle here that you could write about — you know, seeing as how you are, after all, a so-called ‘Daddy Blogger’ — so howzabout, instead of just phoning it in, you actually put some fucking effort into it?” Type-A Jon is a real pain in my ass sometimes.

But, OK: Wolfgang Van Halen is guitarist Eddie Van Halen’s 20-year-old son. Eddie and his brother, drummer Alex Van Halen, unceremoniously dumped original bassist Michael Anthony a few years back, and replaced him with Wolfgang. (I’ve already talked about what a great guy Michael is here and here, so I won’t go thru that again, but suffice to say: I wish he was still in Van Halen.)

As I saw up-close (very, very close) last Thursday, Wolfgang has definitely inherited the musical gene that his father and uncle both carry. He is an outstanding musician who is totally capable of playing the bass lines for Van Halen. He also, however, is a 20-year-old kid who has taken the place of a dynamic, veteran rock star whose overall persona and inimitable background vocals were a huge part of Van Halen’s identity. Seeing a comparatively shy, inexperienced, extremely young-looking kid less than half my age standing in Michael’s place and sharing the stage with three rock-and-roll legends feels … odd. No two ways about it.

Having said all of that, here’s the thing: In my estimation, if not for Wolfgang Van Halen, the band Van Halen most likely no longer would exist, and Eddie Van Halen — who, by all accounts, has been clean and sober since just before going on tour with Wolfgang, Alex and David Lee Roth a few years ago — would be either a hermit or dead.

Instead, he’s making music and sharing the stage with his son … which, as you can see in these pictures (despite their shiterrific quality), is bringing him a great deal of joy and happiness.

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

What I failed to capture in that batch of crimes against the art of photography was Eddie planting a kiss on his son’s cheek while both played their guitars … which was a moment that made me think about how I, as a father, would feel in that situation.

As a lifelong Van Halen fan, I obviously would prefer to see the group’s original bassist instead of Eddie’s kid … but if I’m Eddie Van Halen, and I don’t actually need to work for a living, and I, for whatever reason, don’t care to have Michael Anthony in my band anymore, and I have a son who has both the interest and the talent to make music with me, and adding him to my band means I can experience the thrill of looking to my right every night and seeing my boy kicking ass on his bass guitar while we both play a bunch of songs that I wrote … well, then that’s what I’m gonna do. And, at this point in my life and my career, the lifelong Van Halen fans who might prefer otherwise can fucking deal with it.

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

So, with that in mind, I’m dealing with it.

The good news is: Wolf totally nailed it on the bass the other night. He’s come a long way since I first saw him perform with Van Halen four years ago, and I hope he’s having a ball. I’d want nothing less for my own son.

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

But enough with all the sappy-daddy bullshit. The important thing is: Van Halen kicked major ass in New York City the other night … and I was there.

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

Van Halen @ NYC's Cafe Wha?, 01.05.12

If you’re a glutton for punishment or a lover of really bad photography — or both — you can suffer the rest of the shots I took by clicking here, and/or by watching the slideshow below. (And if you’re a big Van Halen fan, you’ll probably enjoy reading about the time I got to hang out with the band at Eddie Van Halen’s home studio.)

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Posted in Music, Van Halen | 35 Responses

That blow job I offered 2012? Already paying off.

So there’s that whole thing with me and Van Halen, right? Well, the band is about to release its first new album with original singer David Lee Roth in 28 years, and to drum up some excitement, the boys are playing a private show Thursday night in New York City at a little hole-in-the-wall place that holds only a couple hundred people. It’s about as big as my kitchen. (Background info: My kitchen = Not so big.)

Here’s the outside:

Here’s the inside:

Now, the newly minted Year 2012, after hearing what I was willing to do in order to gain its favor, apparently has decided to bestow upon me an invitation to this unbelievably exclusive event:

I’m pretty sure it’s a trap.

If I’m not back by Friday, please alert the authorities.

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Posted in Music, Van Halen | 17 Responses

Good news, 2012! That ass massage I gave 2011 worked out so well that I’m pretty sure there’s fellatio in your future!

Two years ago today, while hurtling headlong toward a depression-induced midlife crisis (or a midlife-crisis-induced depression; either way), I had the audacity to tell 2010 I was going to kick its ass. Those of you who’ve been here for a while now know how well that worked out. (SPOILER: Really shitty!)

One year ago today, I proffered an epic mea culpa to 2011 by promising to massage its ass with exotic oils while feeding it hand-peeled grapes and telling it how wise and attractive and thin and youthful-looking it was. And in return for my whorish behavior, 2011 rewarded me with a perfectly vanilla year.

And that’s just fine with me.

Last night, we bid farewell to the delightfully milquetoast 2011 by taking the kids to a super-nice, ridiculously pricey restaurant that they had absolutely no ability to appreciate (another of my stellar ideas!), after which we returned home, donned party hats, poured a couple drinks and watched the kids run apeshit around the yard while blowing kazoos as loud as kazoos can be blown — and documented it all with some terrible flash photography:

Girl reveler

Boy reveler

Moderately inebriated middle-aged male reveler, expertly photographed in mid-blink by moderately inebriated wife.

In closing: 2011 was a year for catching my breath and recovering after being battered about the head in 2010 … but I’m hoping to make 2012 a bit more noteworthy … and I’m willing to do whatever it takes.

Happy New Year, you guys.

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Posted in Life, Parenthood | 6 Responses

A letter to my children from The Elf on the Shelf

An oldie but a goodie…

Don't judge me, you bastards. I defy ANY of you to do this job and NOT drink.

Dear Zan & Jayna,

I’ve tried to be nice, children. For days now, I’ve sat quietly on the shelf, or hung from the Christmas tree, or peered down upon you from atop the mantle or the cabinets or the china cupboard or whatever other wacky locale your father I could find. And I’ve tried.

I’ve tried, by virtue of my silent presence, to gently coax you into compliance with your parents’ wishes. And they I had hoped that my mere presence alone would be enough to keep you in line … but after the display the two of you put on this morning, it has become clear to me that my pixie-ish grin and my kind, blue eyes aren’t getting the message across … so here’s how it’s gonna be:

You two are going to get with the program right now, because if you don’t, there’s going to be nothing but a fuckload of coal up in this bitch on Christmas morning, you dig? And, no, this isn’t the booze talking. Don’t let the red pajamas and goofy look plastered on my face fool you, OK? Because I will cut a bitch.

Boy Child: Enough! Enough with the whining and the crying and the moody outbursts and the falling apart about every little thing your sister does. Stop being such a pussy. You think you’ve got it bad? How do you think I feel, huh? I’ve gotta live with you lunatics, sit stock still all day long, then spend every night flying back and forth to the North Pole so I can report your behavior to Santa! I mean, SERIOUSLY? All the technology that fat fuck delivers every Christmas, and he can’t figure out how to text? I’ve gotta fly the message to him? Asshole.

Girl Child: Same goes for you! STOP. IT. You’re cute, but you also are a spectacular ball-buster. Stop provoking your brother, because if you don’t, and he decides to smack you down, I will turn a blind eye. The jolly fat man won’t hear a word of it from me. What he will hear about, however, is your constant “No!”-ing and back-talking and grunting and screaming and crying every time your parents ask you to do something. That shit’s over.

Repeat after me, children: “OK, Mommy. OK, Daddy.”

Good. Now stick to that script and you might actually have a shot at seeing the fuck-ton of ridiculously expensive shit for which your parents worked their asses off gifts Santa is planning to give you this year.

Love,

Dusty

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Posted in Jayna, Parenthood, Zan | Tagged | 26 Responses