On January 11, 2012, I turned 41. The day before, Van Halen released the first official single from their forthcoming album, A Different Kind of Truth, with original singer David Lee Roth. The last album with Roth, 1984, was released on December 31, 1983. I was 12 then.
I am a fan of the band. No doubt. However, they have not been as profound an influence on me as say, Rush or the Replacements, but I have been looking forward to this reunion with just as much anticipation as the rest of the fans. At heart, I am part classic rocker.
I have listened to the new tune about 50 times now, always left with a different reaction; mostly unsettled joy.
As a musician, aging rock stars have always been the most stark reminder to me of how fast time moves and that I too, am getting older. As a father, watching my daughter grow up has usurped this reminder, but I digress...at the age of 12, who cares? At 41, everything matters. Time to get moving.
Watching Van Halen's new video is like observing the ruins of a magnificent temple - be it Angkor Wat, the Sphinx, Delphi, or whatever - you can still kind of see how opulent and powerful it was back in it's day. Now, it is just a hollow shell, an outline, a sketch, and you yearn and try so hard to make it as it was - by way of imagination or sheer will power. Both methods fail, though imagination can be relatively effective.
A feeling of disappointment can rule, but you know what? When observing such edifices there is still much magic and beauty to behold. The same can be said about an aged - and relatively ancient - rock band. Rock solid foundations are the last thing to crumble.
But here is one big difference: We have seen and can still see bands in their prime. YouTube. That is where you can get stuck. The current past is never that far away. One URL, a few search words, a few mouse clicks, and there is your time machine. To be sure it can be a dangerous, yet exciting trip to reality.
What does this all mean? I am not sure.
Today it is January 12, 2012. I am 41.
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