REWIND: It’s hot, so listen to Metallica, Sammy Hagar and Van Halen

Sammy Hagar

We were also shocked to learn that there was an era of Sammy Hagar that did not include the goatee.

It’s hot.

After a rainstorm in the Bay and snow in the Sierras for Memorial Day, we skipped spring entirely and leapt dramatically into summer. It’s going to be in the high 90s to the low 100s in the East Bay for the next few days, because climate change is real and it wants us to feel bad.

That said, if we have to suffer I should at least get a column topic out of it, right?

Metallica — “Jump in the Fire”

Nothing makes a person less miserable than thematically appropriate Metallica. Or any Metallica really, but thematically appropriate Metallica especially. “Trapped Under Ice” in the winter, “Jump in the Fire” in the summer.

Tangentially, the video above is from Metallica’s performance at Rasputin Records in Berkeley in 2016. I was unable to go because I was busy with work, so my friend and then-coworker Jim Harrington grabbed me a button and guitar pick and left them on my desk in the newsroom. Then, before I could pick it up on Monday morning, I was laid off. I eventually got it when cleaning out my desk a couple weeks later.

The first moral of this story is that you shouldn’t skip something fun to work on a Saturday because you may get laid off before you finish the story, rendering that work utterly irrelevant. The second is to never work for a company owned by a hedge fund. The third is that lucky charms are real, because I’ve carried the pick around in my wallet ever since and had nothing but good professional luck.

Sammy Hagar — “This Planet’s On Fire (Burn in Hell)”

Use Bill Nye’s cameo on Last Week Tonight as an intro and it’s pretty much the perfect theme song for climate change. It’s also the perfect theme song for weather like this, since both parts of the song’s title are what I spend a lot of time shouting at nobody in particular when the temperature goes over 95.

Another good choice from Hagar is “I Can’t Drive 55,” since, for many people, myself included, the air conditioning in their car is better than in their house. And many people, myself included, can’t drive 55. But ironically using the car’s AC means more exhaust, which means more carbon, which means higher temperatures.

Deep Purple — “Burn”

Is this list all hard rock and metal because those genres evoke an unbearably hot day the best or because they have a disproportionate number of songs about things being on fire?

The answer, of course, is yes.

Deep Purple is underappreciated these days in the annals of hard rock. They deserve to stand with Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin as pioneers of hard rock, just like The Kinks deserve to stand with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as members of the British Invasion. But alas, apparently people can only remember two bands at a time from any group of musical revolutionaries.

Van Halen — “On Fire”

The last song on Van Halen’s debut album is aptly named, because Eddie Van Halen is absolutely on fire on the guitar for this one.

I understand that it’s dangerous to put a Sammy Hagar song on the same list as a Diamond-Dave-era Van Halen song. Among Van Halen fandom, Roth fans and Hagar fans are roughly akin to Catholicism and Protestantism, or Sunni and Shia, or Kirk and Picard. But can’t we all just get along? It’s way too hot to fight. Or do anything else.

Donna Summer — “Hot Stuff”

Man cannot live by metal alone. Sometimes you just need a little Donna Summer in your life. And this is one of those times.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go see if I fit in the fridge if I take all the shelves out.

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