Stoned Fiction: Stay Frosty, Van Halen and "Da Blues"


It's a darker than usual Sunday night in the middle of a shit-stained snowdrift of a winter. You're on your third Jack of the night and yet you swore to never touch the stuff after the last time. That's the sort of night this is. Only one's out on a nightmare like this are hardcore souls who fear their sleep more than a viper in the dark. Shit, who writes like this?! That was either genius or the stupidest thing I've ever said...which is saying something I'd rather not repeat.

The club is a ratty old blues club called B.L.U.E.S. that was hopping like a hen house the previous two nights, but is a walking morgue of strange humanity tonight. The walls pound in time to the bass and drums, hitting you hard because you came in thinking you were walking into a Denny's. Bad move, bro. You should've seen the way that viper reached into your soul, whispering "This is not Denny's motherfucker" in a voice that put the "shiv" in shiver.

Right, adjust attitude to "It's On" and just kick back. The singer is a cocky little schmooze who does more talking than singing and the band behind him each look more grizzled than the last, each deep river of a wrinkle seems to etched in the sort of stone people take vacations to see.

The band is none other than the almighty Van Halen, playing with a sleepwalk intensity that still out-smoked ten other bands who think they've got the mighty VH licked. Eddie Van Halen is a scarecrow these days, etched in black coal, his hands still as much of a fucking blur as they were the first you saw them a half-century ago. Back then, they were what folks called Hard Rock, or, occasionally, Metal. It was basically the same thing we know as "da blues" cranked to eleven, then multiplied by twelve.

Those days are gone, of course. The music industry doesn't even exist anymore. Bands like Van Halen are akin to miners looking for work in a city of dust. Yet they remember the days when music and great memories were a dime a dozen and bands like Van Halen were like the circus that comes to town but once a year. This circus, unlike the many inferior ones, is fortunate enough to have David Lee Roth as its ringleader.

Even on a skullfuck of a night such as this, you know this ain't the show the fucks on Friday and Saturday got. On those nights, Diamond Dave sticks to the script. Tonight, he gets his ya ya's out enough to last him the week. It's their drug, if you will.

The song "Stay Frosty", is, in these imaginary times, the greatest living blues song of the new millennium. It regenerated blues as a genre, waking it from a carbonite slumber and then setting it on fire.

"Don't want 'em to get your goat/Don't show 'em where it's hid," comes like an old friend. It was the one line that caught your ear the first time, and every one since. Even on this night, the line pulls you out of halfheartedly watching the Bulls game and makes you scan the crowd, looking for the one woman who gets you because they get this song. She doesn't just bob her head, or pretend to sing along. She simply stops doing whatever it was she was doing, whether its fucking or pulling on a fag (British slang, love), and just let the song have them. She slides into its warm, hard hands like a mermaid aching for salt water.

I don't know who's playing bass for them these days. Wolfie OD'd on Coke & Pop Rocks a decade and change ago and was replaced by Tommy Stinson, who was looking for a gig after Axl's suicide. You heard about that, right? Oh wait, its still 2012 where you're at. Sorry. Forget I said anything.

Anyway, whoever it is playing bass tonight looks older than Dave, but he wears it well, like a leather jacket with all the right worn-out spots that make you look cooler than fuck when you wear it.

This band is that jacket, bitch. They're making you look good right now. You noticed it in your walk when you went to piss five minutes ago. You noticed the waitress who never notices you notice you and you caught her eyes, which means that she knows you noticed her notice you.

Fuck, this Jack is tasty. Back to the blues, see you later on down the road.

Superior St. Rehearsal Facility

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