This was my fourth Van Halen related book this year. Reading so much about my favorite band had the unintended consequence of making me respect them less. I was hoping for the opposite. I mainly read this book as a way to learn more about Van Halen. I’m also interested in Sammy as I’ve enjoyed his solo projects over the years along with him more recent work with Chickenfoot.
The book is a recounting of Sammy’s life, from early years to the present (written in 2011). We see Sammy go from someone who lives his life how he thinks others (mainly, his first wife) want him to live to someone who lives from his heart.
My favorite parts of the book was where he talked about the balance between his music and business careers. This was the best quote along that interplay (also including the heart):
“I don’t take much money from my music career, which makes me love it more. It takes the business out of it. That’s been the most successful thing I’ve done, take the business out of my music, because now, anything I do comes from the heart, baby.”
I hated reading about the debauchery, deception, and destruction that marked the Van Halen years for Sammy. It was also hard reading about Sammy’s first marriage, the infidelity, and the lies. I guess I was hoping my musical heroes were a little more polished than they are.