|::. Dave's Links
|"Diamond Dave's Wit Rips Competitors"|
By: Dave Clark
Central Michigan Life (August 29, 1994)
|A rock star's rock star, talking music with singer David Lee Roth can only be summed up
in one word. Outrageous.|
"In the next couple of weeks I'm going
to be playing about 80 cities," said roth via
phone from his Minneapolis hotel room.
"That's just under a year of touring when
we wrap in Christmas. It's here today, gone
"I just wish there was more time in the day. I want to keep going and going. It's
one too many stamps in the passport for
Dave Roth...." he laughed.
A notorious motormouth, playing word
association with Diamond Dave is a bit like
getting the opportunity to play a game of
one-on-one with Michael Jordan or chugging
banana splits with Elvis.
Rock fans still consider him the definitive singer for Van Halen, some eight years after he submitted his resignation via the "Wizard
of Oz" of music videos, "Just a Gigolo," and
began his solo career. After a few seasons off, Roth is back with
his most diverse effort yet, Your Filthy Little Mouth.
His summer tour, a mix of solo hits and Van Halen favorites, tap dances its way to
Pine Knob Wednesday.
For those experiencing back to school
blues or just need one more fix of summer
before leaves begin to turn, Roth said he
has the goods.
"The summertime has played an
important time in my career and in my
lifestyle. When my pop moved the family out
to the West Coast it was in the middle of a
special time in pop culture, The Beach Boys
vs. The Beatles, " he said.
"The Beach and the summertime are a part of the music and a part
of my soul. Itís a lifestyle, not just shorts and a tank top. The
summertime is a perspective, itís an attitude, itís spiritual and it never
stops for meónot even when thereís snow on the ground, " Roth
At 39, the mane of blond and the Spandex pants are gone, but the
in-your-face-attitude and sardonic wit remain unchanged.
"I have a renewed enthusiasm for the whole thing. And the best
part is Iím having a great time: that shows in the music as well as up
on the big stage, " he said.
Fans may notice a little something extra in his trademark blues-rock
Thatís no studio gadgetry: Roth said heís discovered a new octave.
"You know the part in ĎStairway to Heavení live that leads up to
the big finish? The part where everybody in the audience is going ĎIs he
going to do it, can he hit it" And Robert (Plant) just never could. Now,
Itís a vocal toy he plays with frequently.
"Itís like discovering six new keys on your sax. Iím having a great
time with it. I sing in the shower, I sing along with Aretha (Franklin,
Queen of Soul) in the car. I sing between commercials, I sing at the TV
and when Iím in the park I Ö.sing at small animals, " he says,
punctuating the end of the thought with one of his trademark belly
Your Filthy Little Mouth is what Roth calls "a little Henry Miller with
your Huckleberry Finn."
On it he explores reggae, blues, Motown and country, styles not
usually associated with the standard hard rock fare.
"Song and the styles that they are written in, especially lyrics,
tend to be autobiographical. I have been around the block a few more
times than, say, the singer from the Stone Temple Pilots. My music
should sound different, more diverse," he said.
"Who wants to get off the bus (as) the same guy that got on 20
years ago? We live in a ready made culture that eats breakfast
burritos. Iíd rather grab me an art project than just grab one off the
rack," he said. A student of anthropology from the tour bus window, Roth says like
musical barriers, cultural boundaries are disappearing.
"There was a time 10 years ago that when you were in Texas, you
knew you were in Texas. In 1994, the geographical boundaries have
disappeared. Kids in Texas and Michigan are all wearing the same
baggy pants and the same backwards Raiders baseball hats," he
"We have become one nation under cable, and when you travel as
much as I do itís easy to see geological boundaries evaporate. The
only difference in Bradford, which has a large Pakistani population. ĎYo,
dudeí loses something in the translation," Roth laughed.
One of the biggest surprises on Rothís new release is a duet with
Travis Tritt on "Cheatiní Heart Cafť."
"We got along great, but we also have more in common than most
people realize. Musically we graduated from the same school, ĎTell the
truth an tell it wellí."
Though one couldnít tell Roth has been a country fan for years.
For a child of the Midwest, country music was the only thing going
"The heart and soul of rock is the same as country music; all you
have to do is get past the shoes and the haircut. Look at the music
videos on the country channel. They look a lot like the videos on MTV
seven years ago," he said.
With the release of their newest work only weeks away, Van Halen,
particularly guitarist Eddie Van Halen and Rothís replacement as the
groups vocalist, Sammy Hagar, are again taking shots at Roth in the
"Eddie Van Halen is an idiot savant, but a spectacular guitar player,
and at the end of the day maybe thatís all you need to be," he said.
"This morbid hostility keeps coming out of the Van Halen camp. Instead
of talking about their new music, they want to take shots at me.
"Maybe if the Van Halens would have taken a little bit more time
looking for a better singer than Sam they would feel more confident
about their music," Roth said.
Roth said a reunion is never out of the question and harbors only
respect for what "the old team" accomplished during their nine-year
"For years Iíve tried to be a gentleman about this and itís very
frustrating," he said. "Thats part of the reason I left. I think itís
obvious now that what Sam has brought to the band is onlyÖ..
mediocre at best. "Iíve never met Sam, but I almost feel sorry for the guy. If the old
team got back together to do a Farm Aid or AIDS benefit, that 45
minutes would totally eclipse what he has done in his entire career.
And Sam would be forgotten," Roth said, adding , "I wonder how he
sleeps at night."
Contrary to the buddy image Van Halen portrayed in "Hot For
Teacher" or "Panama," the good old days were never really that good.
"We always fought, but we used that anger to write some really
spectacular, stellar music. Music that has yet to be topped to this day.
There was a special chemistry on the stage, but nobody ever saw the
arguments or the fistfights before the show. That last tour was pure
Spinal Tap, " he said.
Roth believes his influence was obvious to fans, painfully obvious
when Hagar joined.
"The videos, the brown M&Mís, the stage, the parties,--it was all
me. I had to go as far as editing the guitar solo and choreographing
the bass solo Mike Anthony has been doing for the past 10 years. And
what are they doing.. right now?" he laughed, tweaking his former
groups Pepsi commercial/single.
As for Roth once again taking the drivers seat in VH, donít hold
"Even with latitude for temperament. I wouldnít want to return to
that situation long term," he said. "Maybe do a record with them every
six years. Life is short, but thereís always time. People are going to
have to put up with me for another 40 years."
After a break, Roth heads back into the studio to plot his next
A certified tour bus ninja, Roth has expressed concern and
disappointment with the monstrous productions that some big
names---some his own heroes---have tried to hide behind because of
Diamond Dave encouraged those in search of a good time to unbuckle
themselves from the couch, turn off the TV and check out his stripped
"Arenít you tired of watching a 230-pound whale of a singer trying
to hide behind miles of video screens and monitors because heís so
ashamed of the way that he looks? U2 anyone?"
"And arenít you sick of watching a band squeeze into the same
clothed theyíve worn for 25 years---the striped outfits and the
Converse All Stars---but playing music that only echoes their past?
Diamond Dave has said that he has came to the rescue.
"Wouldnít you rather come for the music and skip the distractions?
Get the pure uncut stuff thatís just Fóiní electric, and from the guy
who can do it better than anybody, in just a pair of jeans, under one
white light?" he asked.
"Here I am."
David Lee Roth will be performing at Pine Knob in Clarkston Wednesday
at 7:30 p.m. Pavilion seats are $20, lawn 12.50. Tickets are available
at TicketMaster locations.
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Interview © 1994 Central Michigan Life