A couple years ago someone at Fictionaut interviewed me about my lit & arts quarterly Ramshackle Review. One of her questions was what’s the best concert you’ve ever seen? That's easy: Ted Nugent and Van Halen, Binghamton, New York, 1978. We went to see Ted, and Van Halen opened. Their first record hadn’t broken on the east coast yet, none of us knew who they were, and they blew the roof off the Broome County Arena. Within a few months, every kid with a guitar was trying to learn Eddie Van Halen's groundbreaking Eruption licks, and the rest is rock and roll history.
A few weeks ago I got an email from Greg Renoff, a writer who’s working on a book about Van Halen’s early years. He asked for any info I could provide on that Binghamton show, and said that it seems a lost date of sorts. He’d found only two online mentions: My Fictionaut interview; and a cached copy of a defunct myspace page, with this photo.
Long story short: The guy in the lower left corner, striped longsleeve tee, black headband, fist pump?
‒ Yeah. That’s me.
They make you wonder, these kinds of improbable, seemingly random connections. Not so much how they happen as why. Probably no reason; probably their only worth is the wondering, the simple joy of their weirdness. But even in this age of internet connectedness we couldn’t have imagined in 1978, you have to shake your head, and laugh, and say what are the odds of that.
Van Halen live in Fresno, January 1978.