It was announced this week that Eddie Van Halen is engaged to his publicist, Janie Liszewski. Eddie–whose mother was Dutch-Indonesian–proposed in August. Congratulasians, Eddie!
Last December, I saw Van Halen play the Staples Center. It was during the writers’ strike and most of the people I went to the show with were writers worried about paying their mortgages, the decline of television’s popularity in general, and when they would ever work again. Seeing Van Halen was a high point in an otherwise depressed, uncertain time.
We were so close to the stage that you could sort of make out David Lee Roth’s bulge in his black leather pants. Eddie was shirtless, and he was one of the most ripped muthafuckas I’d ever seen. David was wearing an open, glittery matador jacket, and he was ripped, too, but I was pretty sure that David got that way from lipo and Eddie from doing a lot of freaky yoga or something. Eddie had some of the fastest fingers I’ve ever seen. Him shredding didn’t seem like work at all. His teenage son Wolfgang played bass, and I felt bad for him, not because he was awkward, pimply and pudgy–touring with Van Halen will get him laid despite all of that–but because he has so much to live up to, having a guitar god for a father.
Three months later, the band had to cancel a bunch of dates because Eddie came down with an undisclosed illness. His ex, Valerie Bertinelli, who was hocking a memoir about weight loss at the time, denied that Eddie had gone back to rehab. Whatever it was, I hope this engagement is a sign of better times, and by that I mean, a sign of many more sweet, shirtless shows to come.
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