by Jerry Honigman

In 1978, I lived in a 200 square foot studio apartment in North Hollywood, in the shadow of Universal Studios. A murder of crows formed their Birds on a Wire Choir outside my window, serenading me with a constant cacophony of caws before the backdrop of the 101 Freeway flying over the suburbs of the San Fernando Valley.

I had my guitar, a TV, and a stereo. I was listening to Bowie’s “Hunky Dory”, Tom Petty’s “You’re Gonna Get It”, “Some Girls” by the Stones, and Todd Rundgren’s “Hermit of Mink Hollow.” In my car, a blue Delta 88, the eight-track was playing Dwight Twilley, Warren Zevon, Tim Curry, and David Johansen. I was never happier.

During this time, and after recording some demos for Elektra Records, I wrote a batch of songs that I called “Rock and Roll and Love and Death” by the Romeos, a band that I had in my head. The title came from one of the songs, “Seriously Affected”, and the demo of these songs, which I recorded in Alexandria, Louisiana, after Elektra passed on them, led to a record deal with CBS/Columbia Records and the formation of the actual band, the Romeos – Alexandria boys Bootsie Normand, Dony Wynn, Dan Diefenderfer, and me.

The subsequent album on the Columbia label, produced by Toto’s David Paich, was called “Rock and Roll and Love and Death” and contained the song “Seriously Affected”, which enjoyed considerable airplay across Southern California and beyond. KROQ (K-Rock) was the coolest radio station around (naturally), and they took a particular liking to the track. The station, located at 106.7 on your radio dial, put out a year-end Countdown List touting the top 106.7 songs by airplay each year. In 1980, the year’s list featured “Seriously Affected” at number 90, ahead of songs by such artists as Elvis Costello, Cheap Trick, Journey, Queen, Rod Stewart, and Tom Petty. Suck it.

Such radio exposure led to recognition of the song by a wide variety of folks, including Van Halen. It came to my attention that for one of their tours, Van Halen would get themselves into a rocking mood each night before their show by playing “Seriously Affected” in their dressing room before hitting the stage. Coolio.

It seems that even after splitting with the band and launching his solo career, David Lee Roth continued his affinity with my song. He recorded a cover version for one of his solo records. Now, I’ve never been much of a fan of Diamond Dave’s, but I could have been persuaded to change my mind on that count had he released the track thereby generating royalties for yours truly. Unfortunately, his version didn’t see the light of day on vinyl, but remains available in a lo-fi bootleg demo version on YouTube.

On a flattering note, Roth and his band do a virtual carbon copy of the Romeos’ version, from my original arrangement to mimicking every musical nuance, all the licks and kicks, and especially Bootsie’s guitar feel. Ole Dave does, however, miss a couple of the lyrics, which I will include here in case the reader gets a wild hair and wants to compare the versions, available on YouTube: search Seriously Affected (Rock and Roll and Love and Death) the Romeos, and David Lee Roth Seriously Affected (The Romeos Cover).

I had wanted to write a story, all warm and fuzzy, that would be appropriate for the Holiday Season, but, unfortunately, things are a little too seriously affected these days.

Feeling seriously affected
Like when I like it by myself
From now on it’s just the whole damn world
Them and me and nobody else

I’ve got a reputation
Try to keep it intact
Walk and talk it with a swagger
Make it look like matter of fact

In and out of neighborhoods
They’re all my home, and that feels good
All across the width and breadth
Swallow that and hold your breath
For rock and roll and love and death

Sunday at the café
I was feeling real rough
I called on everything within my power
Another power was calling my bluff

In and out of neighborhoods
They’re all my home, and that feels good
All across the width and breadth
Swallow that and hold your breath
For rock and roll and love and death
And love and death
And love

Feeling seriously affected

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