By the time Jeff Spicoli fantasized about hiring Van Halen to play his birthday party in 1982, the band was already super-famous. But rewind less than a decade, and the concept wouldn’t have seemed so far-fetched…
…as evidenced by this newly unearthed recording of Van Halen playing at Pasadena High School in April of 1975. For context, their eponymous debut album was still three years away. Eddie Van Halen would have been 20, David Lee Roth was 19… you get the idea. Shit is nuts.
The Los Angeles Times, who first wrote about the video, included a description of the parties VH would play, too:
“Early in the school week, enterprising hosts, often wealthy teens or young adults whose parents had decided to take a ski vacation to Aspen or a skin-diving trip to the Caribbean, printed hundreds of party fliers trumpeting the appeal of Van Halen and plentiful keg beer. The hosts and their friends then distributed the fliers across the city. ‘At the three different high schools,’ Patti Smith Sutlick, then a Blair student, says, ‘the talk all week was, ‘Where’s the party this weekend?’”
“If no sure answer was forthcoming by Friday night, teenagers made a beeline for the corner of Allen Avenue and East Villa Street. Jan Velasco Kosharek, who grew up in the neighborhood, says the small commercial district there included a florist, a gas station and a very well patronized business, Allen Villa Liquor. Located a couple of blocks from the Van Halen home, it was where Jan Van Halen and his sons bought their beer. Marcia Maxwell, another Pasadenan, recalls, ‘We’d ask Larry, the owner, ‘Where’s the party?’ And off we’d go.’”
“Even if kids didn’t know the exact address, these parties weren’t hard to find. By rolling down their car windows, they could, by following the reverberating Eddie Van Halen riffs and David Lee Roth screams, make their way to the right spot. Debbie Hannaford Lorenz, who grew up in neighboring San Marino, observes: “When I hear a Van Halen song, I remember walking down the dark street with all the cars and the music echoing everywhere. My friends and I were always so excited to go to these parties.”
Check out the audio below.
Eddie Van Halen died last month at the age of 65 after a protracted battle with cancer. This past Saturday, Slash (Guns N’ Roses), Kirk Hammett (Metallica), and Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) paid tribute to the late guitarist as part of this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction celebration. You can view that here.
[via Metal Injection]