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Gonzo Report: Vetting Van Halen while Belmont Park blonde bawls

Who is the better singer: Sammy Hagar or David Lee Roth?

We can clean up the beach: Sammy Hagar
We can clean up the beach: Sammy Hagar

Stumping for Sammy: The blonde woman at Belmont Park’s Beach House Tequila + Taqueria says she’s done with “fat old ladies and douchebags with 619 tattoos that can’t keep their fucking hands to themselves.” The declaration catches my attention, as does her evident frustration and its evident transformation into to anger. That’s enough to signal the end of this party. Like a fart in a crowded elevator, it only takes one person to make it unpleasant for everyone. (Well, maybe three in this case: blonde, fat lady, handsy douchebag.)

Place

Beach House Grill

3125 Ocean Front Walk, San Diego

It’s a diametrically opposed ending to what had been a surprisingly fine time in a laid-back atmosphere. Normally, I’m uncomfortable on the beach during the daytime in even the best of circumstances: the sun seems to make me its primary target, the sand in my shoes makes me feel like I’m walking on glass, and I find it difficult to gaze at the ocean comtemplatively without contemplating the many-toothed killing machines lurking beneath the waves. But today? Today, Sammy Hagar is there, handing out his latest signature canned cocktails and — though swimming with sharks would cause me, personally, less damage than drinking a can — his enthusiasm is contagious. Unlike me, Sammy loves the ocean, and this happy hour is tied into a beach cleanup, with donations going to the Surfrider Foundation. The staff is friendly and accommodating, though few of them seem to know Hagar is The Red Rocker and was once the sophomore singer for Van Halen. Added security is the event’s only special accommodation.

Sponsored
Sponsored

I take the opportunity to see if anyone agrees with the claim that Van Halen got better when Sammy joined, because then there was no distraction from the music, distraction brought on by David Lee Roth acting like an ass clown. It’s difficult to get anyone to sign off, however, even after I suggest that the words “bop doobie, shoobie doo wah” will ruin any song and can derail an entire record. I follow up by investigating how well people know Van Halen, first by asking if the person wearing a VH band T-shirt can name five songs from the group. But he just looks at me from atop his father’s shoulders while his dad laughs and tells me that, if his son could form complete sentences, he definitely could name over five songs, but at this point, he just claps when a tune comes on that he likes. Neither child nor father will agree with my assertion that Roth is an ass clown. Meanwhile, the Red Rocker is signing autographs, handing out cocktails, and casually interacting with fans, with no autograph lines. I yell his name as he’s leaving, and he smiles for a picture.

Then the fart. The blonde woman is waifishly thin, and under normal conditions, probably not threatening. But now she is erupting verbally, and her body seems to vibrate with rage. I ask what happened, and she indicates that a douchebag was handsy. Whether it was groping or theft remains unclear. Then an older woman approaches to lecture the blonde about standing on the walkway and blocking foot traffic. It’s not a casual aside, but rather a targeted attack: the older woman, who I am calling Mabel, settles in, lips curled back, berating the blonde while her husband tries to look in another direction or find a place to disappear.

Not wanting to take part in walkway obstruction and risk my own chewing-out, I stroll over to the sand sculpture created by Greg LeBon. It’s been a popular photo op for partygoers for a while now — but then a woman strikes a sultry pose for her companion’s camera, not realizing or maybe not caring that leaning on the sculpture will cause it to collapse. This upsets an Australian journalist named Rod, and he starts doing a play-by-play of each grain of sand’s crumbling. I head back to the blonde waif, and that’s when she tells me she’s sick of fat old ladies and douchebags with 619 tattoos. She asks me if I’ve seen any such tattooed men, and I break the news that it would be like looking for sanitary napkins in the feminine hygiene aisle.

On my way out, a man named Brad walks across the bar to compliment me on my Iron Maiden tattoo. It turns out he’s also a huge Queen fan and met Freddie Mercury while on the Jazz tour — our mutual favorite recording by the band, an album famously augmented by a controversial poster of nude women on bicycles. I’m hesitant to ask the Roth question, but I pluck up my courage and am rewarded: he agrees that Roth is indeed an ass clown. As I turn to leave, I have a bounce in my step, filled with optimism for the human race. ■

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We can clean up the beach: Sammy Hagar
We can clean up the beach: Sammy Hagar

Stumping for Sammy: The blonde woman at Belmont Park’s Beach House Tequila + Taqueria says she’s done with “fat old ladies and douchebags with 619 tattoos that can’t keep their fucking hands to themselves.” The declaration catches my attention, as does her evident frustration and its evident transformation into to anger. That’s enough to signal the end of this party. Like a fart in a crowded elevator, it only takes one person to make it unpleasant for everyone. (Well, maybe three in this case: blonde, fat lady, handsy douchebag.)

Place

Beach House Grill

3125 Ocean Front Walk, San Diego

It’s a diametrically opposed ending to what had been a surprisingly fine time in a laid-back atmosphere. Normally, I’m uncomfortable on the beach during the daytime in even the best of circumstances: the sun seems to make me its primary target, the sand in my shoes makes me feel like I’m walking on glass, and I find it difficult to gaze at the ocean comtemplatively without contemplating the many-toothed killing machines lurking beneath the waves. But today? Today, Sammy Hagar is there, handing out his latest signature canned cocktails and — though swimming with sharks would cause me, personally, less damage than drinking a can — his enthusiasm is contagious. Unlike me, Sammy loves the ocean, and this happy hour is tied into a beach cleanup, with donations going to the Surfrider Foundation. The staff is friendly and accommodating, though few of them seem to know Hagar is The Red Rocker and was once the sophomore singer for Van Halen. Added security is the event’s only special accommodation.

Sponsored
Sponsored

I take the opportunity to see if anyone agrees with the claim that Van Halen got better when Sammy joined, because then there was no distraction from the music, distraction brought on by David Lee Roth acting like an ass clown. It’s difficult to get anyone to sign off, however, even after I suggest that the words “bop doobie, shoobie doo wah” will ruin any song and can derail an entire record. I follow up by investigating how well people know Van Halen, first by asking if the person wearing a VH band T-shirt can name five songs from the group. But he just looks at me from atop his father’s shoulders while his dad laughs and tells me that, if his son could form complete sentences, he definitely could name over five songs, but at this point, he just claps when a tune comes on that he likes. Neither child nor father will agree with my assertion that Roth is an ass clown. Meanwhile, the Red Rocker is signing autographs, handing out cocktails, and casually interacting with fans, with no autograph lines. I yell his name as he’s leaving, and he smiles for a picture.

Then the fart. The blonde woman is waifishly thin, and under normal conditions, probably not threatening. But now she is erupting verbally, and her body seems to vibrate with rage. I ask what happened, and she indicates that a douchebag was handsy. Whether it was groping or theft remains unclear. Then an older woman approaches to lecture the blonde about standing on the walkway and blocking foot traffic. It’s not a casual aside, but rather a targeted attack: the older woman, who I am calling Mabel, settles in, lips curled back, berating the blonde while her husband tries to look in another direction or find a place to disappear.

Not wanting to take part in walkway obstruction and risk my own chewing-out, I stroll over to the sand sculpture created by Greg LeBon. It’s been a popular photo op for partygoers for a while now — but then a woman strikes a sultry pose for her companion’s camera, not realizing or maybe not caring that leaning on the sculpture will cause it to collapse. This upsets an Australian journalist named Rod, and he starts doing a play-by-play of each grain of sand’s crumbling. I head back to the blonde waif, and that’s when she tells me she’s sick of fat old ladies and douchebags with 619 tattoos. She asks me if I’ve seen any such tattooed men, and I break the news that it would be like looking for sanitary napkins in the feminine hygiene aisle.

On my way out, a man named Brad walks across the bar to compliment me on my Iron Maiden tattoo. It turns out he’s also a huge Queen fan and met Freddie Mercury while on the Jazz tour — our mutual favorite recording by the band, an album famously augmented by a controversial poster of nude women on bicycles. I’m hesitant to ask the Roth question, but I pluck up my courage and am rewarded: he agrees that Roth is indeed an ass clown. As I turn to leave, I have a bounce in my step, filled with optimism for the human race. ■

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