DLR in 1981 and Kevin Dugan’s Mother Grace in 1989
This is a special story brought to us by Kevin Dugan. Some fans will know his name—he’s perhaps the most publicly well-known Van Halen crew member—he’s been Michael Anthony’s bass tech from 1981 through the present day. He was on Van Halen’s crew from ’81 to ’06 (25 years).
Kevin’s mother passed away recently. In memory of her, he would like to share this unforgettable story of what happened when his dear mother met Van Halen’s singer, David Lee Roth, in 1981.
Kevin Dugan writes:
I am thinking so much about my Sainted Mother, and I want to share a story…
During my first tour with Van Halen, we arrived in Cleveland, (where I grew up) and we were staying at Swingos, a legendary rock ’n’ roll hotel (which is no longer in existence).
My mother, Grace, ran the Blood Donor Center at St Vincent Charity Hospital, and went into work every morning at 3:00am to draw and prep blood for open heart surgeries. Knowing we were coming into town on a day off, I made arrangements with my mother to bring a change of clothes and come meet me for dinner at the hotel’s very nice five-star restaurant when she got off work. After a very expensive dinner there, my sainted mother said, “The least I can do is buy you an after dinner drink.”
So, we head through the hallway into the bar where, since it’s a night off, 80% of the tour personnel are hanging. So Grace says, “Get what you want and please order me a Rob Roy,” and off she goes to the ladies room.
At this point, I must explain that my mother (in her early 50’s at the time) was always a STUNNING WOMAN—a beautiful, vivacious, friendly tour de force. As she goes off to the ladies room, most of the tour people are watching and saying, “She is gorgeous, but come on, she is twice his age…she could be his mother,” etc.
So they send our wardrobe girl over (Denise), and she immediately goes into, “Dugan, hey… look…the older broad is gorgeous, but come on, she could be your mother!” And as my gorgeous mother walks up behind her, I say, “Denise, let me introduce you to this ‘Old Broad.’ Denise, meet Grace, my mother. Mom, meet Denise, wardrobe lady for The Mighty Van Halen.”
Sooo, as my mom is saying, “Did you just call me an ‘Old Broad’?” Denise is hightailing it back to the safety of the crew, saying, “It is his mother, it is his mother…”
Okay, NOW it is That Time of Night, and The Stride walks in!!
Diamond David Lee Roth…and he is seeing all this brew-ha-ha going on, so he says to the minions, “Hey, what’s going on…what’s all the buzz”??
After all is explained, David saunters over, and slaps me on the back, and introduces himself with “Hey Kev, I understand this beautiful young lady is your mother. How can this be?” And turns to her… “Hi little lady, I’m Diamond Dave…”
…Okay, I am not making any of this up!!…
Now, at this point, my wonderful, but uninformed-of-Rock-Godz-of-the-Eighties mother, says to the Number One Rock God… “So, what do you do? Are you on Kevin’s crew? Do you know the band?”
And David says, “MOM, I AM the band…I am Diamond David Lee Roth.” And I finally utter, “Mom, he is the singer!” And before anybody can say anything else, Grace runs her fingers (grabs) through his hair and says, “You’re the front man, you’re a good looking boy, but you need to do something with this mess you call your hair.”
As God is my witness, Roth turns to me and says, “So Kev, you’re from here in Cleveland, right? So you should be able to get a job pretty quick after tonight…” And then laughs his ass off and says, “We Love Kev. Now I know why!” And Dave strides off, every bit of the rock star he is!!
Okay folks, I didn’t make up any of this, and the legacy of my mother lives on. The world will miss this woman, as will I.
I Love You Mom, Good Night!
We want to thank Kevin for sharing his story with Van Halen fans out there! Kevin, God Bless you and your Mother!
Kevin Dugan & Michael Anthony in 2014