The passing of Eddie Van Halen has of course put his eponymous band back in the spotlight. Today I would like to discuss the 1984 track “Top Jimmy” off the appropriately titled album 1984.
Top Jimmy cooks. Top Jimmy swings. This album cut off of the mega selling 1984 really does cook and swing. The rhythm is shifty. The guitar work is as idiosyncratic as anything EVH ever did. Diamond Dave is at the peak of his vocal prowess, doing what he did best – telling a sleazy tale about a sleazy character. This time the story is about a real dude named Jimmy who ran a taco stand called…Top Taco. This Jimmy introduced Roth to the notorious underground Hollywood punk club the Zero Zero Gallery.
Zero was a dingy dirty club run by art punk weirdos for art punk weirdos. So imagine the surprise when a certified Capital R Rock Star pulls up to their little club in a limousine.
Early 80s Hollywood punk scenester Pleasant Gehman wrote up an excellent recap of the whole Zero scene but had this to say about Roth:
The thing about Diamond Dave, at least back then, was he just wanted to find a good time. Didn’t matter if it was a Coke fueled bash in a Hollywood Hills mansion or a Coke fueled bash in an underground punk club the only thing that mattered was the party…and the Coke I assume. However in the case the feelings seemed to be genuine on Dave’s part. Legend has it he carried his Zero Club membership card in his wallet for years after the whole scene had been long forgotten. The love was real and in 1984 he immortalized it in song.