Dave, your sparkling prose is a cruelly early and way too energetic wake-up call this morning and for the very goofiest of reasons—I was up last night covering the Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth concert at the Universal Ampitheatre for Rolling Stone. Truth be told, I'm still trying to wash the stench of beer and the mid-'80s off of my tired, middle-aged ass. Remember those carefree days when "Sam" or "Dave" was a heavy moral choice? Remember when you could still complain on vinyl about not being able to drive 55? Remember when David Lee Roth didn't look like your grandma in drag?
OK, enough running with the devil. To me, the Rhino collection has—much like life itself—a strangely brilliant randomness, an approach of sorts that suits a decade that arguably lacked a guiding philosophy besides making money and wearing goofy colors. But do I detect a slightly anti-Hall-and-Oates bias in your comments today, because for all the online amiability, if you're dissing my boys, I'll still have to kick your ass if you don't admit that Hall and Oates must be forgiven for their videos and applauded for bringing a little pop soul to the radio. And while we're at it, will somebody say Amen for Rick Springfield? His undervalued and underloved "Jessie's Girl" is exactly the sort of pure pop-rock passion play I hunger for after my Van Hagar hangover. Later when I begin to wake up, I'll be ready to get more edgy—maybe I'll go techno old-school and see if the wife and kids want to hear Gary Numan's still-moving "Cars," a song that still sounds more fresh and fun than anything by the Prodigy. Gary, come home; all is forgiven.
Your point about "Walk This Way" is well-taken, so I'll take it right now. I think the song is a watershed moment, and unfortunately, that sort of rap-rock cross-pollination seems to have gotten less charming and joyous and more macho and moronic with each passing moment. Come home Run; your last album is forgiven—and if possible, could you pick up Gary Numan on the way? That would be lovely.
Also, if you need an early rap pick-me-up, just check out the sixth track on the Rhino set—"The Breaks" (Part One), by Kurtis Blow—and wallow in the deathless groove, the funky wit, the stripped-down musicality. Interestingly, Dave, Kurtis didn't blow, yet so many others who followed in his wake and made big money blew big time. P.S.: Sometime in the '80s, if memory serves me correctly, Bob Dylan appeared on a Kurtis Blow album—reason No. 101 I named my first son after Dylan.
By the way, I have a further recommendation today to Slate-heads—check out my show Musicians on Bravo, which has included such '80s faves as Blondie, Hall and Oates, and Heart, as well as Lou Reed, Sheryl Crow, Tony Bennett, Wyclef Jean, Alanis Morissette, Cassandra Wilson, Elvis Costello, and—next Monday at 10 p.m.—Mr. Randy Newman. This comment might seem self-serving, and that's because it is.
Gotta go send in my review of last night's Van Hagar spectacular for Rolling Stone, so I might as well jump.