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Open Letter to Messrs. Van Halen, E., and Roth., D.L.

Dear Sirs,

My friend and colleague Brett Koshkin just informed me your new tour schedule not only does not stop in Houston, but shuns Texas altogether.

Up front, I must say this doesn’t bother me in the least. I’ve never been more than a passive fan – except, of course, during the Sammy Hagar years, when anyone with a pair of ears and a frontal lobe would have preferred the anguished cries of tortured Darfur villagers than a single measure of such vomitous factory-installed shite like “Right Now.” But that’s in the past.

Today I’m here to make a plea on behalf of Mr. Koshkin and Houston’s thousands of other Van Halen fans.

Even a casual fan like me can visualize Edward shredding the walls of Toyota Center with the self-indulgent wankery of “Eruption,” or see David affix himself to a harness in order to fly over the lighter-waving crowd for an encore of “Panama.” (Given Mr. Roth’s age, I realize his rider probably requires him to fly tandem with a personal valet.)

I can picture the excited crowd, pumping their hands and stamping their feet as soon as whatever instantly forgettable opening band you’re humping around like a goiter leaves the stage and the roadies come out to gingerly place your $50,000 guitars in their stands. And there’d probably be that loud, immediately recognizable air-raid siren of “Runnin’ With the Devil” – the first track off your first album – and you’d come out all born again for the first time. From there, it would be a run through all the radio staples, making sure to strike an unspoken agreement between band and audience that the Hagar era never actually happened. All in all, a pleasant evening.

And really, sirs, why should people in Auburn Hills, Mich. get the Van Halen 1.0 experience and not Houstonians? Where the hell is Auburn Hills, anyway? Is that near Detroit? Is it a fucking suburb? And let me just point out this little canker sore: You are playing in Portland, Oregon, but not Houston. Portland.

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I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and blame whatever coke-addled record-label shyster told you whoring yourselves in their beautiful-sounding “Rose Garden” for a night could boost your SoundScan numbers in the greater Portland metropolitan area. Seriously, “Rose Garden”? Is this the effing White House? Everyone knows a good stadium should be named after either an energy company, a Japanese automobile or a delicious orange juice.

I hope I have laid out several compelling reasons why Houston should be included on your current tour. However, should you still decline, I have a feeling you will cop from the Rolling Stones’ handbook: touring more often as you recede deeper into irrelevance, which means if my friend can’t see you this year, he’ll probably catch you in 2027, promoting your re-visitation of Diver Down backed by the London Symphony Orchestra.


C. Malisow

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

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