The so-called guacamole incident was one of the most famous food fights in rock history. Picture the scene: it's 1978, and Van Halen are touring with Montrose and Journey.
Backstage, David Lee Roth shoots first, reportedly throwing peanuts at the world's fastest-rising guitar hero, Eddie Van Halen. Van Halen returns fire with a bowl of guacamole, missing Diamond Dave, but covering Journey frontman Steve Perry with green dip.
According to legend – and as documented in Noel E. Monk's wildly entertaining Running With The Devil – Perry retreated to the bathroom, in tears. As Van Halen's tour manager at the time, Monk had to make peace.
It's a tasty story, and one that's been recently revisited after Eddie Van Halen's death, but it's one that Steve Perry himself has clarified in an interview with Rolling Stone.
No, there was no crying – "I wouldn’t cry over guacamole," laughed Perry. But yes indeed, Eddie Van Halen was a danger to himself and others when in possession of a family-sized tub of dip, and Perry, a rising star in his own right, had merely gone into the Van Halen dressing room to tell them they were awesome when this all went down.
"Now, back in these days, guacamole came in a cottage-cheese–like container," recalled Perry. "The band was having a food fight. Just as I was opening the door, a container of guacamole bumped off the mirror to my left and splashed against my most prized possession, being a small town kid from Fresno. It was my satin tour jacket that had 'Journey' on the back of it."
As Perry explains, that was a big deal at the time. "Wearing that, I felt like I was finally somebody. The guacamole went on my left shoulder and my left arm. I looked down on it and I looked up at them and they sheepishly laughed like, 'Oh shit.'
"I just looked at them and I closed the door and left because I was pissed. I went into the bathroom and I was just pissed. That was my prized jacket. I still loved them, but I couldn’t give them props anymore after that."
Perry's memories of that tour are not restricted to chips dips and dry cleaning. This was a pivotal moment in both band's career. He describes Van Halen has having an energy that was totally different from anyone else. "They sounded liked Led Zeppelin meets punk music," said Perry. "They were truly that powerful."
That tour changed his life. It changed Van Halen's, too, and it is a story of a more innocent era when rock bands would drive each other to new heights in performance, inspiring one another...
And, occasionally, throwing food at them, too. After that, Journey were never going to become America's number one salsa band: they released Infinity, and it was anthemic, melodic rock all the way...