Van Halen, Accidental Saints & the Rest of Us

Oct 5, 2015

600px-Eddie_Van_Halen_2007-11-10Greg Renoff grew up in New Jersey and earned a Ph.D. in American history at Brandeis University. His first book Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal has just been released and he’ll be discussing and signing the book at Vroman’s on October 9.

Renoff told Tim O’Shea of Talking With Tim that he conducted his first interviews in 2008.

When I first started, I was spurred on by curiosity about Van Halen’s early days more than the idea I’d write a book. I talked to a LA nightclub owner who’d booked Van Halen in 1976 and then to a Pasadena drummer who’d seen the Van Halen brothers perform live long before David Lee Roth joined the band. Then about a year later, I had a break from teaching and decided to dig into the topic some more by doing more interviews. After I started hearing more tales of the band members’ wild days before they were famous, I saw that there was a great story here that needed to be told in book form.

With over 230 interviews, Van Halen Rising tells the story of “how these rock legends made the unlikely journey from Pasadena, California, to the worldwide stage” (ECW Press).

Greg Renoff discusses and signs Van Halen Rising
Friday, October 9th, 7 p.m.
Vroman’s, 695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena 91101
For more info, visit








The article is titled “The Misfit Pastor,” and author Jonathan Merritt writes in a 2013 interview with Nadia Bolz-Weber that she “is not your typical pastor.”

She’s plastered in colorful tattoos, says she wishes she weren’t a Christian, and cusses with impunity. But her ability to wield words with perspicacity is giving Bolz-Weber a growing platform among Christians. (Jonathan Merritt, “The Misfit Pastor: An Interview with Nadia Bolz-Weber,” Religion News, 2013)



Tattooed, angry and profane, this former standup comic turned pastor stubbornly, sometimes hilariously, resists the God she feels called to serve. As she lives and worships alongside these accidental saints, Nadia is swept into first-hand encounters with grace a gift that feels to her less like being wrapped in a warm blanket and more like being hit with a blunt instrument. But by this grace, people are transformed in ways they couldn’t have been on their own. (Convergent Books)

Bolz-Weber is the bestselling author of Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint and is the pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado.

Accidental Saints with Nadia Bolz-Weber
Saturday, Oct. 10th, 6:30 p.m.
All Saints Church, 132 N. Euclid Ave, Pasadena 91101
Free event and open to the public
For more info, call All Saints at 1.626.796.1172








Patrick Ness has been called “brilliant” and his Chaos Walking trilogy has been called “nothing short of spectacular” (, 2009).

Now, Valentine, writing for The Guardian online writes of the “brilliant” Patrick Ness in regards to his newest release The Rest of Us Just Live Here. She writes of flawed, but lovable characters, sharp and entertaining dialogue that made her forget she was reading a book of fiction, and gives credit to Ness for “tackling” the issue of mental illness.

Though not an uncommon theme in other Young Adult novels, I feel like mental illness is often romanticised or dominates the plot to an extent that the novel has a negative message. This book is different. I feel it shows mental illness without being completely a story about mental illness and also explored the way people recover from it. (

Ness joins Aaron Hartzler to discuss The Rest of Us Just Live Here and finding the extraordinary in an ordinary life on October 10 at Vroman’s Bookstore.

Patrick Ness with Aaron Hartzler discusses and signs The Rest of Us Just Live Here
Saturday, October 10th, 3 p.m.
Vroman’s,  695 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena 91101
For more info, visit






Photo, top right, Eddie Van Halen by Anirudh Koul from Montreal, Canada [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.





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