Tricia was a girl with drop-dead model looks who walked up to me in a crowded bar, placed a warm palm on my upper thigh and whispered into my ear exactly what we would be engaging in later that night.
This happened at the Paradise Theater in Boston during a break in a performance by NRBQ. I was there on a whim because the music company that I worked for usually had free tickets to all events at the Paradise, and along with a two free drink enticement I was suddenly a fan. The Paradise was a social mecca back in the day and it was always a heady rush to walk in, shake hands with a few local DJ’s who knew me, nod and smile at the regular bartenders, sit on a red leather capped silver stool with my back against the massive mirror that lined the side wall and take in the scene. It was all smiles, friendly nods and music that impacted my taste and will stay with me forever.
After the show, and after Tricia parted ways with her friends who were reluctant to let her go home with someone she just met, we ended up going to a reservoir near where she lived, somewhere along the intersection of routes 128 and 20.
Must be something about my blood, but I have always been a superior mosquito magnet. Despite all that happened, despite how well she kept to her word of what she would engage in when we were alone, what I remember most vividly were the mosquitos.
And, Sammy Hagar coming from the speakers in my car.
I, for some reason, kept playing Sammy’s Street Machine over and over during the time I was seeing Tricia. Could be that I identified her so closely with the album, but way before joining VH and way before the nauseous ‘I Can’t Drive 55‘, Sammy could rock your toenails out of their nailbeds.
Never Say Die
Right up until this very morning, and every so often when times get tough as they tend to do, I hear Sammy singing the line ‘But I’ll never say die!” There must be a permanent gorge, like there are in certain mountain valleys, where when something difficult has obstructed me in some way, just as water will flow down that mountain valley in a deeply etched riverway, I hear that line every single damn time! What’s up with that?
So, Sam gives us a bit of his history here, about his distaste for the hippies who turned into businessmen, about him never letting go of his religion and about the struggles that happen to us all. Of the two I chose, this is not the rocker, but rather the electric statement for a push to succeed and stay true to yourself. Put in a hard-edged sax solo at the end and you’ve got a 4’47 gem.
My mom and dad never understood.
But compared to their problems, you know, mine looked good.
They screamed, “Where’s the money?” and “Where’s all the love?”
And “Where’s the help from the man up above?”
I never gave up my religion
As I did my teenage time.
I said, “When I’m of age, I wanna walk out smilin’
Maybe I’ll cry…
But I’ll never say die…”
I’ll never say die… Ohhh!
Straight To The Top
Now, this’ll make you sit up straight and take notice because this is the balls to the walls smoking guitar (without the head banging that results in a cervical collar) that we all need a dose of every so often. Sammy is one of those that are able to showcase his lead chops without losing us with a boring and extended solo (hot dog stand anyone?) and plunges this track out of the gate with a bang.
He’s known as the partying type and this track proves that he didn’t just acquire that in his last few incarnations, but had it with him all along. I just love proof of how good an artist was years before anyone else had heard of them.
You say you like to have a good time
You’re no different than the rest
And you know it’s not the first time
That you’ve given it your best.
But for some unknown reason
There’s no quest straight to the top
And I can see no reason
Why it’s ever gonna stop.
Straight to the top,
It ain’t never gonna stop!
Come to find out, Tricia was ‘very well-to-do’ and when her father first met me, he being some type of retired Admiral, didn’t approve of my earring or hair. He further developed a dislike for me when as he looked out the living room window as we left his house one evening he noticed my beat up car, and the fact that no, I didn’t open the passenger side door to politely let his daughter in first, it was because the driver’s side door was broken and I had to get in her side first. We were very far apart on the socio-economic scale and didn’t have a lot in common except perhaps on a ferrel and primitive level.
She later turned out to be quite … shall we say ‘disturbed’. She once used a brick to hammer away the doorknob so she could scavenge through the apartment looking for anything that she had left there or had made for me including greeting cards, a hand-stitched rug, a vibrator, mixed tapes and even last night’s leftovers. Ahhhh, memories … whatever happened to ….?
As for the rest of the story about our first time meeting, I can almost still feel with painful clarity the discomfort caused to me by the hoards of mosquitos that feasted with merry haste on my bare skin that night. I was a Walter Reed test subject who somehow lived to tell the tale.
Less than twenty-four hours later, I stood with my naked backside towards my roommate while he incredulously counted the bites.
On my dorsal side alone, I had endured the mighty pestilence attack 53 times. I was a mass of welts that night, but for some supernaturally lucky reason, mosquito bites always tend to heal and leave me quickly.
Hard to decide what I remember more about that night, because I still wince a little thinking of the mosquitos, but I still get a strong rush when I hear these Sammy Hagar tracks.
Never Say Die
Straight To The Top
From: Sammy Hagar – Street Machine