We’re featuring our stash of never-before-published photos from Van Halen’s appearance at a record store in Seattle, Washington, which took place on April 13th, 1979.
The young and hungry band was quite busy at the time—within three weeks leading up to this in-store appearance, Eddie Van Halen painted his Frankenstrat red, the band released Van Halen II, kicked off their tour in Fresno, and co-headlined the CaliFFornia Music Festival.
Back in the heyday of rock and roll and record stores, bands would often make “in-store” appearances to promote their latest album while passing through town for their local concert. Van Halen’s record company, Warner Bros., would supply the record store with promotional materials such as album flats, posters, and buttons, and the band would show up with sharpies for signing autographs, and a supply of Schlitz Malt Liquor, their drink of choice.
On this particular day, David Lee Roth was terribly ill and had to bow out of the Music Market appearance, sponsored by KZOK-FM. He spent the whole day in bed at their hotel. Like a trooper, he made it to the Van Halen show that night at the Spokane Coliseum, but ultimately collapsed on stage due to exhaustion and a stomach virus.
The sign outside Music Market Records And Tapes read, “SEE VAN HALEN HERE, FRIDAY APRIL 13, 4PM, Both LPs, Tapes On Sale”
A banner inside announced that Van Halen had won “Best New Artist” and “Album of the Year” in Seattle’s 1978 Puget Sound Music Awards.
On a side note, check out all the Van Halen II promo material! The store’s employees probably thought nothing of throwing away all of the promotional items after the appearance. Little would they know that years later, those posters of David Lee Roth doing the splits in mid-air would fetch up to a couple hundred bucks!