Guitarist Adam Bomb shares his story and personal photos from meeting Van Halen in the late seventies.
The Van Halen portion below is from the full story on his Myspace page.
His Van Halen story starts off in September of 1978. Adam was just a 15-year-old kid who was obsessed with rock ‘n’ roll, girls, smoking pot, and playing guitar, who just scored tickets to see Van Halen in Seattle…
This new band called “Van Halen” had just come out. I saw them and met the guitarist, Edward Van Halen. They were supporting Black Sabbath. But while Sabbath was onstage, I spent the whole time staring at Eddie through a backstage curtain and trying to get his autograph. I ended up meeting Eddie and getting him to sign the cover of my Led Zeppelin 3 album. He wrote “Make your mama scream for me!” on the spinning wheel on the cover.
Edward Van Halen at the Seattle Arena. I was in the front row!
During the summer of 1979, my friend Mike McCrae & I followed Van Halen up & down the west coast. We went to at least 10 shows. They started the Van Halen 2 tour at UPS college in Tacoma. We knew these 21 year old girls who came to our gigs with Jake, Susie Wimberly & Debbie who worked for John Bauer Concert Company. Debbie & Susie dated Edward & David Lee Roth on the first Van Halen tour. McCrae was in love with Debbie, but she tried to fuck me at an after gig party at my dad’s condo. I loved her but I was good friend (and stupid) so I set her up with McCrae instead. The party moved outside to watch them through the window shade I left open. McCrae pussed out, she was in my bed naked & he was too shy to fuck her. They eventually found out they were being watched. Later John Bauer divorced his wife Ivy & married Debbie.
Debbie booked the hotels for the Van Halen tour & we got the list of where they were staying & their fake hotel names. We booked a room at the same hotel. The first one was the Roadway Inn in Tacoma Washington.
We were front row for the Van Halen show at University of Puget Sound & I got on McCrae’s shoulders to take pictures. I still have the slides.
I took these photos and turned them in as an assignment for photography class.
After the UPS show we caught Michael Anthony & the roadies having a pizza fight in the hallway. I asked Mike to take a photo with my guitar. He put his teeth marks in it.
Michael Anthony holding my V.
Then I asked Michael Anthony if Eddie would sign my V. He said “ask him yourself” and he yelled out “Hey Ed”. Eddie opened his door & we ran up to him and he ducked behind the door but didn’t close it. I ask him if he would sign my V, he invited me & Mike McCrae to come in.
I was so excited. Edward Van Halen was my world. He was just a kid, 22 maybe. I was 15 but I felt like I was 12. He scratched an autograph in the back of the bit, put some teeth mark in it, and then I asked, ‘How do you play the intro to “I’m The One”?’ He played in on the V. Mike and I were fucking amazed. I asked him, “Am I doing this right?” And I played the solo to “On Fire”. He told me to hold on, opened up his Haleburton metal suitcase. We noticed he had girls panties with “Edward” written on them in marker & pulled out a Dan Electro neck & guitar body & a screwdriver. He put the guitar together then and there & strung it up.
He pulled out some cocaine in a bindle & did a bump on a guitar pick. He said “I’d offer you guys some, but I don’t have that much.” I’d done it a couple if times before but I never really got high on that back then. I was a pothead. He also had a little roach of joint he was saving to put him to sleep.
He was the absolute coolest, most beautiful person, let alone rock god, I’d ever seen. I pulled out every Van Halen riff I knew, & I knew most of them. We’d play together & then he’d stop & I’d do the solo riff, like in “I’m The One”. He was blown away. I was this tiny little kid, but I could play. He showed me every guitar trick and riff on his 2 albums. He told McCrae I was better than the guy in Bad Company & I should start a band but whatever I do, he told me, “Don’t just copy me like every asshole in L.A., take it somewhere further, somewhere else.”
He signed a piece of hotel stationary for me “Adam, keep pickin’ your ass off” and he dated it & wrote the room number on it. It’s in a book somewhere that I can’t seem to find but I’ll find it. It;s actually what started me looking through all my old shit. I keep finding other things, but not that book.
We sat in Ed’s room for three hours. Just him, me & Mike McCrae. I didn’t take the camera in cause I didn’t wanna scare him. He was the nicest rock star I’ve met still to this day, & if I could ever influence anyone the way he did me, it’s really all because of him.
After we left, the roadies were still throwing pizza & trashing the hallway. Alex Van Halen put his teeth marks in my V.
Alex VH at The Rodeway Inn. I got a B on this picture. “Needs Spotting”
We got backstage most gigs like Seattle Coliseum & followed them all the way to the California World Music Festival.
Mike McCrae, Michael Anthony, & Rudy who was Edward’s guitar roadie.
We’d always stay in the same hotel, we’d see Edward in the mornings, he’d invite us in while he had his breakfast. His manager Noel Monk came in & told us to leave Ed alone while he eats & Ed said “no don’t worry, they’re cool”, & he let us stay.
Michael Anthony used the name Biff Malibu at hotels
I went to the airport to see Van Halen off when the tour ended. Thanks to Debbie, we also had their flight info. I said hello to Alex and sat down with him while he waited for his flight. He asked me how I got money to get around, he’d seen me everywhere from Seattle to California.
I didn’t have an answer, if they were playing, I was going. He told me how he’d seen Black Sabbath at a festival and 200,000 were in Ozzy’s control. I still told him I though Sabbath sucked. They had just broken up after Van Halen demolished them last year. Never Say Die was the tour. The didn’t have to say it. Alex talked to me till he boarded. That was the best education anybody could ever give me. I followed them again the next year when Rail & Company was the support act for 18 shows.
Backstage at VH in Seattle, I met this guy that had a guitar with a locking tremolo bar that he invented and he was showing it to Edward. His name was Floyd Rose. He offered to make me one of his tremolo bars for 300 dollars. A few weeks later I got a Boogie Body strat body & neck from a guitar repair shop called Guitar Works. I used to hang out there & smoke pot with Mike Lull who used to repair guitars at Bandstand East. Guys like Roger Fisher from Heart used to bring in guitars to him get big bags of weed. My dad bought the guitar body & my aunt gave me the money for the tremolo. It was the 5th Floyd Rose tremolo bar ever made.