Tales of Rock – Van Halen and the Craziest, Most Debaucherous Party of 1984

“Lost Weekend” directors Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb on all the sex, drugs and rock and roll you’d expect from Diamond Dave and Co.

In 1984, at the height of the arena rock era of big hair, bigger egos, lots of sex and drugs and all sorts of debauchery, MTV held a contest promising a “Lost Weekend With Van Halen.” Over a million contestants submitted their entries via postcard in an attempt to win a chance to spend a weekend in Detroit partying with the band and their entourage during the band’s infamous 1984 Tour, singer David Lee Roth’s last (for a while at least).

Kurt Jefferis, a 20-year-old department store loading dock employee from Pennsylvania, mailed in more than 10 postcards and had one of them pulled from the lot to win the contest.

“You’ll have no idea where you are, you’ll have no idea where you’re going, and probably, no memory of it after you go,” Lee Roth claimed in the promo for the contest. A promise that lined up with the reputation of the band who laid the groundwork for other hard-partying hair bands from Poison to Mötley Crüe.

Well, DLR wasn’t quite right about lost memories as Jefferis and the buddy who accompanied him, Tom Winnick, actually remember a lot about their trip to Detroit Rock City. What they recall is a two-day binge featuring, among other X-rated happenings, Jack Daniels, beer, champagne, lobster, filet mignon, cocaine, a food fight and a groupie named Tammy.

The pair’s recollections, as well as many others, are captured in Lost Weekend, a new short documentary film from directors Bradford Thomason and Brett Whitcomb (GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of WrestlingA Life in Waves) which recently screened at the Tribeca Film Festival.

The film weaves together clips of the band, interviews with Jefferis and Winnick, and plenty of archival footage from the weekend to create a visual time capsule which will likely evoke feelings of nostalgia whether or not you’re a fan of Van Halen or not.

That makes sense considering how the idea for the project came about Thomason and Whitcomb — neither of whom were actually huge Van Halen fans — tell InsideHook.

“Brett and I have always had a love for all things nostalgia,” Thomason says. “We grew up in the ’80s, so we have explored that in our previous films and this was really kind of born out of late-night watching YouTube clips of old MTV videos and stuff like that and just kind of having a wild idea. We saw the bumper for The Last Weekend trailer and it was like, ‘Well, let’s do a doc about that guy.’ It was kind of a joke and then I did more research and read a bit more his story thought, ‘Oh, this would actually make a good short doc’ so we pursued it.”

Keeping the film short (less than 15 minutes) was intentional and allowed them to capture a snapshot of Jefferis’ 15 minutes of fame as well as the period of time when it occurred.

“Even though we are predominantly feature documentary filmmakers, this one just seemed like a fun one to make,” Whitcomb says. “We’ve been to festivals where we’ve had really good experiences watching short documentaries and they have never left our minds. We kind of wanted to make something like that. Where people can have a good time in 15 minutes and then think back on and go ‘Oh, I remember that Van Halen documentary.’ It’s something short and entertaining. You can get in and out and have a good time.”

Kurt Jefferis and David Lee Roth in “Lost Weekend.” (Window Pictures)
Kurt Jefferis and David Lee Roth in “Lost Weekend.” (Window Pictures)

Despite the film’s reduced length, Thomason and Whitcomb didn’t have to leave much on the cutting room floor and found Jefferis and Winnick to be very forthcoming about everything that went down on April 5th and 6th in ’84.

“Kurt was much younger then so there were things that took place I think he was a little coy about with us but it ends up working out in the film because the viewers aren’t dumb,” Thomason says. “There are some things left to the imagination but I think we explored most of what happened and what they were open to discussing. I think it was a wild weekend, but not so wild that we couldn’t get those stories. It was kind of perfect. Today it would be a lot more sterile, obviously. But yeah, back then it was the wild weekend they promised.”

“It was almost on par with what MTV said they would be doing,” Whitcomb adds. “The experience MTV advertised was pretty much exactly the experience that they had.”

But probably not one MTV would be able of offer in a similar contest today.

“Bands partied differently back in the day than they do now,” Thomason points out. “And obviously that comes with some things that might be frowned upon or might be difficult to deal with today. With our guys Kurt and Tom, they were so young … It’s definitely not something that’s in the forefront of the film but we were definitely aware there would probably be people watching who have those thoughts and we definitely wouldn’t hide from that or anything.”

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California Dreamin’ – 1982 to 1984 – Crazy Eyes

Here we were living in Santa Monica, and living the dream. Just a bunch of poor musicians having the time of our lives.

I was at a party at a friend’s place. One of his friends had been flirting with me all night, but it wasn’t normal flirting — she wouldn’t say a word to me. She’d only touch me and giggle as I walked by. Towards the end of the party, she took my hand and quietly led me to her room, which has a bed and just a bunch of clothes everywhere. Less than sixty seconds into making out, she started to go down on me. Which I accepted. I realized how creepy and weird the situation had been to that point, but it was head. What nineteen year-old dude turns down oral?

She finished up, and put her head on my chest to rest. At that point, I was thinking this girl was loony tunes, but I didn’t want to be an ass, so I began to reciprocate. But she grabbed my hand and stopped me, and said, “Sorry, I have a boyfriend and I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that.” I looked at her totally dumbstruck. She must have misinterpreted my dropped jaw to mean that I was hurt, because she immediately came back with, “But it was really nice sucking your cock.” These were the first words she’d said to me all night.

So we were both quite high, we decided to head back to my place. Everything seemed normal. She finally decides to get it on with me. Sex was good and then we got to talking. Since we’re both high, we started talking about death and what happens to your body after you die and she asks me whether I have ever thought about killing anyone. I could sense a creepy story coming my way and just shook my head.

She then proceeded to narrate how she has always thought about killing someone by suffocating them, with a pillow. And since we were on the bed, there were 2 pillows around us and of course, I was majorly creeped out. She was looking at me with the crazy eyes and I was so confident that I wouldn’t see the sun rise the next day. I turned around and pretended to sleep. After a couple of hours, she left without saying a thing.”

 

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Christmas 2018 and Beyond – Part 3

The train goes back underground as we enter Camden NJ. That place is a den of scum and villainy that could have been a mini mirror to Philly but has failed in so many horrible ways. I’m actually glad in this moment my internet connection has gone black again as we enter Camden.

I think back on good and bad memories in Camden and will write about them at some point but that time isn’t here.

Camden is an awful place in New Jersey, but at some point I’ll tell you some stories from that once great seaport but for now I’m just passing through.

Happily locked in an extruded aluminum passenger car on PATCO.

 

The train once agin rises from the darkness of Camden’s tunnels and re-enters the sunshine on the this fine sunny day.

I look at all of the scenery and as the train roars east. I see all of the ghettos and shit neighborhoods below the elevated tracks. It hasn’t changed in over 40 years. I’m sitting here in a brand new train in a comfy chair, listening to Howard Stern and Christmas Carols and I’m shooting past absolute poverty below me.

What will Christmas morning be for the children in this neighborhood.

But I’m facing backwards. So I watch it all fall away from my view. By not sitting forward the sadness was never coming up… but going away from me.

See how this is working?

We roll into the Ferry Avenue stop. This is the stop where for years I would pick up and drop off of my daughter with my ex-wife.

I remember I would pick her up there and bring her to Philly when she was younger. But I also remember when I would ride the train with my little one and arrive at Ferry Ave to give her back on Sunday, I knew I wouldn’t see her for two weeks.

I was always sad on that quiet train ride back to Philly.

 

I feel all of that rush back into me but I’m not sad because I know at the end of the line, my daughter and her boyfriend will be picking me up and we’ll all go to Janice’s house for an amazing gathering.

The train rings and surges forward, and I watch as that sad memory fades as well and becomes joy.

Collingswood, Haddonfield, and all of the rest of the stations pass.

I can see my whole history living in New Jersey in my miserable marriage fall away from me. All vanishing down the gleaming rails.

All of it. I’ve lived in several of those towns and it’s good to see them all fall away from me and know that my daughter and I are no longer prisoners to the lie that is a domestic life so many hold dear.

I no longer have any feelings or emotions about any of that nonsense, but it’s nice to see South Jersey simply go away through a window on a train ride.

I could feel the cleanse of that moment and the exuberance of all of the wonderful people I was about to see, and where I was now in my life.

 

I finally arrive in Lindenwold. I don’t know this station. iI don’t care. I get off and head down the escalator and go outside. I’m listening to music and feel really good. The weather is surprisingly mild and I take a seat on a bench outside awaiting the arrival of Lorelei and her boyfriend.

I’m so happy and so filled with holiday bliss and energy I’m not even listening to Christmas music anymore. I’m listening to songs by a Swedish metal band called Angel Dust. I haven’t listened to any of that in 10 years! Maybe longer. I must be drinking deep on my dopamine.

I text my daughter that I have arrived and I think she’s a little stressed as so many young people are. She doesn’t want to keep her dad waiting. I tell her not to worry and to take her time and be safe.

I know this lovely day will unfold as it should.

I sit back on the metal bench and smile.

It’s been a while since  I simply sat in the sun.

I feel it on my face and it is as comforting as my mother’s hand in mine.

I don’t know why, but I was just in such in a beautiful moment of calm sitting on this bench out in the middle of nowhere in a place I’ve never been.

I knew my daughter was coming, but I loved this moment in the morning sunlight by myself.

I felt the sun’s energy on my face. I put out my hand and felt the sun in my hand.

Sun in my hand.

Happiness in my hand.

It’s within me and right here on my face and right here in my hand.

This is my holiday alone moment.

Just waiting but not impatient. Just calm. It’s so nice. It’s never been like this.

Sun in my hand.

No problems. Just Happy Christmas time.

Maybe for the first time ever.

 

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Christmas – 2018 and Beyond – Part 2

I’m happy to see her fade from my view like all of the other beautiful women in my life. Like beautiful Christmas ornaments on the tree of my life. Some are gone. Some fallen and broken, some stolen by guests and strangers.

I had been talking last Sunday about how I had been searching for the Christmas spirit before my sister’s annual holiday party.

All of the Christmas carols, the lights in Rittenhouse, the hustle and bustle of the season. None of it gave me the surge I was expecting.

But if you read that post, (Christmas 2018) you’d know that the holiday season had been in me all along.

What a blissful feeling it is.

My life is so simple and elegant now. I finally get it. You don’t need a bunch of stuff and events to be happy.

Live simply, and simply live.

 

Before the event I stopped at the liquor store. Every year I have a ritual where I present my sister Janice’s husband with a quality bottle of liquor.

I figure, I come into his home, and eat and drink as much as I want and am surrounded with all of my favorite people in the world. So give the guy a good bottle of booze!

I pick it up the night before and settle in at home after work listening to Christmas music and writing. My favorite place to be most evenings.

I’m really looking forward to seeing my whole family tomorrow.

 

The next morning I get up and grab a healthy breakfast. In years past I always had a great deal of anxiety when I had to travel. Just an old ailment. Usually there were several moving parts to traveling to my sister’s party. There would be daughter Lorelei, my then girlfriend Michelle. We had to pull it all together and get to 30th Street Station.

It was always stressful for me. But the end result once we got to my sister’s was always so good.

I had to get all of the tickets at a machine I always struggled with at the station. I would sometimes go out there the day before and buy all of the tickets just to take the edge off.

I always got a large bottle of water and a package of crackers just to put something in my stomach. Just nerves and anxiety and travel.

All of that is long gone.

The plan has changed. NJ Transit is doing track work and not running. (Now what do I do?) I’m not getting any younger, and my lovely daughter Lorelei takes charge and I love it.

I get the text. “Dad. Take the 10:15 train at PATCO and take it to Lindenwold, NJ. You’ll get there a half hour later, and we’ll pick you up in the car and drive you to Janinice’s house.”

I love it.

I’m finally at a point in my life where I don’t have to figure everything out and manage everybody else.

After a nice breakfast, I head to the PATCO station at 16th and Locust. Normally for a solo mission to Absecon NJ on New Jersey Transit it used to run me $40 round trip.

I enter in my coordinates into the ticket purchasing machine at the station and it tells me it will be $6 round trip!

Six bucks! It’s a Christmas miracle!

I grab my ticket and hop on the train.

It’s been a while since I’ve set foot on PATCO. They’ve replaced all of the trains with newer models! Lovely train cars. I step into one of the cars and figure out if I want to sit forward or backward.

I know it may seem odd, but that’s part of the trip.

I go with my instincts and decide to sit at a window seat and actually decide for some unknown reason to sit backwards.

It was a great decision.

I don’t travel much and I don’t know why I chose this. Normally people like to face the way they are going and so do I. That’s just normal existence. Makes sense.

Underground in the subway at 16th and Locust there’s no wifi or cell contact. So I sit in silence waiting to go.

The bell rings and the train lurches forward. I’m just chilling in the darkness thinking about all of the wonderful people I’m going to see this afternoon.

This one day a year.

This one day in time.

A party that someday I will no longer be around to attend. Just like my parents before me.

The train is traveling east and then south. It will leave Philly underground and then rise from the depths of the subway and traverse the Ben Franklin Bridge which crosses the Delaware river into New Jersey.

I always took New Jersey Transit to get to my sister’s house. But like I said,  NJT is having construction done through January, so it’s down. I am taking PATCO for the first time to Lindenwold.

As the train roars up along the side of the Ben Franklin Bridge the view is spectacular. I watch my beloved city stand in the cold winter sun glistening under the blue blue sky on this Sunday before Christmas.

I love her.

I want to die in this city.

I’m happy to see her fade from my view like all of the other beautiful women in my life. Like beautiful Christmas ornaments on the tree of my life. Some are gone. Some fallen and broken, some stolen by guests and strangers.

I know I’ll be back around dusk to see her again. I’ll feel the snap in the air and the flash of her holiday season as her heart beats in every household, restaurant and chest of every Philadelphian in my city.

 

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Andrea – 2014 – S&M Girl

“Hi Lorelei. Daddy’s just going to take this fat, drunk bitch back to his room and tie her up. Then you’re going to hear a lot of slapping and squishing sounds. You’re also going to hear Daddy say a bunch of really foul sexually degrading things to this woman, so you better put your ear buds in and crank that shit up.”

One night a couple of years ago, I was out with a friend of mine. We were having drinks outside at Misconduct at 15th & Locust. He was telling me a story about this girl he met on Tinder. Pure hookup. She comes over to his apartment. Sadly, she doesn’t look like her Tinder pics. Which is not good. That’s like seeing a photo of a car you want to buy in the Auto Trader and when you get to the lot to check out the car, it’s an older model and a little banged up and maybe even a bit more car than you saw in the photos.

But he was drunk and up for the foul deed. He said she was a thick girl but he went to town on her anyway. Like my tinder profile says: “If you don’t look like your photos, you’re going to buy me drinks until you do.” So he said it was good sex except for one thing. He didn’t like that she wanted him to spit on her and hit her. There’s nothing wrong with what two consenting adults do with each other behind closed doors. Especially if everyone’s on board with what’s happening. But he didn’t like it. Just not his thing.

He told me that he wasn’t comfortable with that situation. He said at that point no matter what he was into or what he would do, he couldn’t do that again.  It just wasn’t him. (He didn’t spit on her or hit her at all) At that time, back in the beginning of 2014, I had just come off a break up and told him to send Andrea pics of me. Because I was up for whatever she wanted dished out. The key here is when it comes to dominance, be firm…not mean. There’s a big difference. I would discipline and correct her if necessary. And remember, the submissive party is ALWAYS in control. They have the safe word and hold the power to cancel the fantasy at anytime. That’s the rules of S&M play.

Well, nothing came of it. Until earlier this year when she connected to me on LinkedIn. LinkedIn of all places! Can you imagine with all of the dating websites out there, LinkedIn brings me the crazy S&M chick? So we chatted and did some texting. She wanted me to text her all of the things I was going to do to her, so I did. I have a pretty good imagination. She said she was getting really turned on and that we should meet.

I set it up that we should meet at the Ranstead Room. It’s just a good spot normally to hideout with somebody. I get there and I’m just chilling with a drink. She arrives shortly thereafter. My friend was right about her. In her Tinder pics she looks really hot, but in real life she is a lot bigger, and what was with that low tranny voice? Not good. I just wasn’t feeling it. I would have to drink a LOT of cocktails for Andrea to start to resemble her profile pics on Tinder. So I figured what the hell, I was already here and the drinks were flowing. She wasn’t that hot but at least I was someplace where nobody knew me.

Then the manager from the restaurant where my daughter works suddenly comes through the door and walks right up to me and says hello using my name.

Now I’m made. He can see who I’m with and now everybody there knows my name.

Andrea starts telling me about her life. She hates her job and wants to leave Philly. (Probably a good idea for us all.) She was seeing some crazy drug dealer loser guy. He’s suicidal, and does tons of coke. It’s bad, and she’s not much better.  I always thought if you did a bunch of cocaine you were skinny. Certainly not the case here.

After awhile we’re getting pretty tipsy. We went outside for a cigarette. She was on me like a northern pike hitting the bait. So I’m making out with her and people are walking by on Ranstead and she just pulls her boobs out. She’s losing her shit. She wants to take me back behind the building and give me a blowjob.

Yea. Great. I’ll just go stand behind my daughter’s manager’s Mercedes-Benz and you can give me oral. What if he walks outside and sees that shit? That’s not going to be good for me or anybody. Now, if this was Los Angeles and it was 1982, yea I’d be down for that, but not now. That’s gross. Sure, I’m flattered that she’s turned on enough from my words and the alcohol to want to blow me in a filthy alley, but no. Just no. I don’t roll like that.

She’s drunk. We go back inside and we’re in the vestibule and all sorts of things are happening with lips and fingers. If somebody comes through either door, we’re going to jail. So after that brief encounter, we go back inside. I kind of want to go home. In the right environment, some S&M play could be fun with her, but I’m just not getting a good vibe from her in this moment. She’s calling me daddy and all that shit. She says she loves older men, etc. I tell her I have an early sales meeting in the morning that I have to travel to so we should wrap it up. (A bold-faced lie)

She wants to go back to my place and have sex. Great idea. I can see it now. Me walking through the door to my apartment with Andrea and my daughter sitting on the sofa.

“Hi Lorelei. Daddy’s just going to take this fat, drunk bitch back to his room and tie her up. Then you’re going to hear a lot of slapping and squishing sounds. You’re also going to hear Daddy say a bunch of really foul sexually degrading things to this woman, so you better put your ear buds in and crank that shit up.”

No. Not happening. We pay the bill, and we walk over to 18th Street. I hail her a taxi and send her on her way. I was actually relieved when she was gone.

If somebody I met and was in a relationship wanted to experiment with some things, I’d be down with that, but Andrea just isn’t that person.

Update! She appeared at the salon tonight for a tan before she goes to L.A!

She’s leaving Philly for good!

 

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