What Does Sammy Hagar's Dick Look Like? A Chat With Home Blitz About Van Halen
"I've always thought of myself as a fairly sane person, but chronicling this experience is kind of making me wonder why." Those are the last words Theresa Smith, guitar player in one of New Jersey's best bands, Home Blitz, has to say on her bizarre, year-long decent into obsessively analyzing one of rock's most bombastic punchlines: Van Halen.
In a Tumblr called 20 Facts About John Rustey, in dozens of posts spread out over many months, Smith wrote exhaustive, scholarly pieces on the band, translating their songs into Latin, generating graphs of their lyrical content, and drawing complex stage plots of 30-year-old live performances. As she herself admits, the line between playful thought experiment and debilitating obsession become increasingly blurry.
I went to college with Smith. I knew her to be something of a monastic rock and roll figure -- living in a dark apartment on the edge of town filled with guitars and keyboards and other instruments I couldn't identify. It had ripped wallpaper, and she incongruously kept a (surprisingly clean) hamster in a cage next to her bed. She could talk for hours, more knowledgeably than I could even fake, on basically any music topic under the sun. It goes without saying that I was hopelessly in love with her. We moved to New York around the same time, and kept in touch over the years.
Home Blitz is fairly popular in the more uncompromising, fuck-you corners of the internet. It's not unusual for articles about them to have curse words in the title: "New Jersey's Home Blitz Knows a Shit Load About Australian Music," Vice wrote in a representative, questionably punctuated piece (shouldn't it be "shitload" or "shit-load"?). They even got name-checked on The Guardian the other day. The occasion of their show tonight at Shea Stadium with Blues Control seemed an ideal time to wade into the murky waters of her rock and roll nightmare.