In 1988 my mother tells me that she has thrown out all of my cassettes. My collection of metal is gone in an instant. The main culprit: Van Halen, Running With The Devil. Obvious, yes? I am stunned at dinner. Mind blown on an epic level. I have already cried. I am quiet. Besides myself. My mother tells me that I am only allowed to listen to Christian music. My father is upset for other reasons. Main reason involving, “You didn’t consult me.” Coolest shit my dad ever said, “you see all those records I’ve got over there? I have no idea what those guys believe, but that is some good jazz music!!!” Anyway, I am sentenced to this horrible fate of listening to music copied by sinners, made by Christians. I am notified of Stryper. They wear yellow and black and are all about make up, tights, and screaming about Jesus. I am intrigued. My uncle tells me that they sound like Styx. Years later I am amazed, he was so right! Stryper is all about making metal for Christians. By HIS stripes, we are healed. Issaigh 53:5. Like I still know how to spell that. Ptfffff. Why look it up. Enough already. Why waste more of my time? So during this time of punishment, I discover a plethora of Christian metal bands with “cross” in it. Barren Cross, White Cross, Neon Cross….Barren sound just like Iron Maiden, White just like Ratt, Neon……I don’t know. I start collecting all these cassettes. Time goes by and I’m frustrated. I’ve even really started to sin and be deceitful. I have many cassettes labeled as Christian bands, consisting of Ozzy Osbourne, AC/DC, and Metallica. Now, my dad comes to me and presents this…”I know that your mother threw out a lot of music that you like, and I’d like to take you to a music store so you can pick out some music.” I am stunned. This happens to be the year that Van Halen put out their first album without David Lee Roth, with Sammy Hagar. So I of course pick this album. The album art consists of a man trying to lift the world, which utterly blows my mind. So now let’s fast forward through my years of wanting to be Robert Smith, then wanting to be Trent Reznor, then wanting to be in Janes Addiction, then wanting to be covered in tattoos (I think I did that?) , then wanting to be Morrissey’s drummer, then wanting to be in Depeche Mode…..I am working in a cafe in the Lower Eastside of Manhattan in early 2000’s. Many years later. David Lee Roth is coming in to get tea. Repeatedly. One morning, I decide that I need to say something. I mean, really. I can’t even believe it. I tell him that I read his book, “Crazy From The Heat.” I tell him that I grew up listening to Van Halen. He is the coolest guy ever and amazing to talk with. We talk for 15 minutes at least. I immediately can’t help thinking about the crazy connections involved. Why am I getting to meet the guy who inspired me to begin with? Do I really deserve this? Does life really work like this? Tears in my eyes as I walk home. I can just move on now? Running With The devil, fuck yeah. Roger, over and out.