Van Halen: My night with Alex

by Brian Clarey

As told to Brian Clarey

It was in 1980, at the Hollywood Sportatorium in Miami. Don’t ask me how to spell it. There was a show that night. I don’t remember how I got those tickets – that was a long time ago. I do know I got in a real big car accident on the way there. It didn’t stop me from going.

We went to the show, and it was really great I don’t know how to explain that part – I just remember it being a concert. We were high. Real high.

After the show my friend said, “Let’s go backstage.” And we just went around and walked backstage. There were all sorts of people back there, there were people everywhere

I remember David Lee Roth standing there, talking to a reporter. He was wearing a white and gold jumpsuit. He just had this awesome presence, almost like a superhero. It really sticks out in my head. He was standing very, very still, and he really did have a kooky look in his eye. He had an arrogance – really, really a lot of arrogance, that’s the word. He wasn’t rude or anything, he just had this arrogance about his presence. He was very flamboyant.

So then this guy came over to me and he started to talk to me.

We were standing around and it was this party atmosphere. We struck up a conversation and he said, “Do you want to go to a party?” And he took my hand and we got in a limo and it was the band in there. Alex was sitting to my right and Ed was sitting in front of me in the limousine

And Alex was very, very polite and friendly. Eddie seemed to have a really shy quality and Alex was way more outgoing. We rode to the hotel and talked, and I wasn’t really aware they were rock stars, and we were having a really good time.

We got to the hotel and when we got out of the limo there was all this press. It was like paparazzi. And it got real hectic – you know how it is.

We went up to the hotel suite, and Alex, he was really sweet, and he just put his arm around me and hustled me up there.

It was real smoky and there was people everywhere and people were doing a whole bunch of drugs. Coke. Quaaludes. Pot.

So we stood and talked just like regular people at a party for a while. And then we went into a room and had our own little private party.

He was very, very sweet, very nice. He never acted like an asshole. Not once.

And then we kind of sat around for a while and went back to the party. He wanted me to go with him to Orlando and I was like, yeah right. And then I left.

I had things to do. I was young; I wasn’t interested in him. My friends were like, “Are you crazy?”

I was like, “That’s not the first rock star I ever met.” And it sure wasn’t the last.

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