“We will keep playing music as long as our fans want us to”
-Alex Van Halen
Pastor Mark Granville could not finish his sermon fast enough.
Granville on Tuesday night delivered a rewarding message about faith and truth but I wanted an interview with the guys pushing a new music release called “A Different Kind of Truth.”
Van Halen members were in attendance at New Life Christian Center on Prospect Street.
Yeah, I know. That sounds ridiculous right. I had been an unbeliever, so to speak, when Pastor Granville phoned with an inquiry.
“L.A.,” Granville said. “Do you know some music group called The Van Halens.”
I laughed, then informed him that the famous rock band is called Van Halen and that they had obliterated a sold out Wells Fargo Center crowd in Philadelphia with Kool & the Gang as an opening act.
“Well, they’re here at New Life. Sitting in the front row,” Granville said.
I waited for a Chinese food order. Debated about driving back to Trenton from Florence. My body craved an egg roll, spare ribs and rice, while a sports-deprived mind wanted a night on the couch watching Big East Championship men’s basketball.
Take out could wait. I hustled back to Trenton, where guitar king Eddie Van Halen and his drummer brother, Alex, indeed were seated in a front row along with other relatives and friends.
“Come on Mark. Come on Mark. That’s Eddie Van Halen of The Van Halens in the front row there. Come on Mark.”
Impatience gained nothing as Pastor Granville preached. A smile or nod from a member of the Van Halen entourage only extended Granville’s message.
Granville offered his final “amen” before a small NLCC group moshed Eddie and Alex.
With more than 80 million albums sold worldwide and about 40 years in music, Van Halen retains rock relevance.
“We will keep playing music as long as our fans want us to,” Alex Van Halen said.
Our minimal discussion included a quick review of their latest single, “Tattoo.”
Alex moved in closer as if he were going to whisper.
“You have to get real close because I can’t hear a word you’re saying. I’m almost deaf after all of the years,” he confessed.
Eddie resisted interviews but agreed to photos.
New Life Christian Center member Thomas Liszewski arranged the Van Halen visit.
“I’ve been trying to get them to come to Trenton for some time now. They were finally in the area and came by. They came to support Trenton and hear Pastor Mark,” Liszewski, a longtime Van Halen friend, explained.
Van Halen also wanted to witness NLCC member Monique McLean, a University of Arts of Philadelphia student. McLean, a Solebury Prep graduate, appears to have a strong future in dance.
“It was great to dance,” McLean beamed, following a 12-minute performance.
Even as impressive to stand in between Alex and Eddie Van Halen for a photo that they insisted on. No argument from me.
The group added allure to Chambersburg after eating at Jimmy Kamies’ Amici Milano Restaurant. Go Chambersburg!
I sailed home. Had an uninspiring Chinese dinner then tumbled into bed after several “You’ll never guess what happened” phone calls.
Back in the car Wednesday morning, I switched from three stations, WMGK, WDAS and Power 99.
WMGK host John DiBella had completed one of his interesting stories then put up a record at 7:02 a.m. You can check this out.
Van Halen’s “Dance the Night Away” kicked in. I slipped on my sun glasses, turned up the volume and did my very best David Lee Roth.
“Ooh, baby baby, won’t cha, turn your head my way. Ooh baby, baby. Come on. Take a chance. You’re old enough to dance….”