David Lee Roth Articles

LEAVING VAN HALEN
In David Lee Roth's own words

David Lee Roth Crazy From The Heat autobiography
I did what I did with Van Halen in good faith and I left on good faith and I asked for no quarter. I asked for no settlement, nothing. And I guess thatís precisely what I got. I should have led with my fist instead of my heart, but that would have put me right down in the bottom of the barrel with the kind of thinking that Iím railing against now.

Iím very proud of what was that band and what was that show and what it did mean to people. It disgusts me that it has turned into the complete opposite. That it now represents everything that I spoke against, that we supposedly represented the converse of. I donít want to have to remember that the team turned into that. Makes me question what the team was while I was a member.

Was it all bullshit? If nothing else, it confirms in my mind that from my standpointóyours truly, David Leeónot a fraction. If nothing else, this kind of morbid, wounded animal anger aimed my way has caused me to look deep into that bathroom mirror and come back to you with "my shit was legit." It was for real. And perhaps the test is time. Because here I am, a decade and a half later, havenít changed much. I look a little different, but not much. My sense of humor is about the same.

When I left Van Halen, it was not something that I was delighted to do. I was not celebrating. I was not relieved. It was one of the scariest moments in my life. I perceived that Van Halen was heading towards catastrophe. So do you ride that plane all the way into the sand? I said no, weíd already been through a yearís worth of the Hatfields and the McCoys with the bottle of moonshine in betweenóand Iím not a prince. I am not Mr. Not Guilty at all, but the chemistry between us was becoming morbid, it was becoming threatening and nonproductive. You can hear it in the music, it started turning melancholy right after I left. Thatís great, thereís plenty of room for melancholy music, but itís not my personal constitution.

Ed and I hugged each other and cried at my fatherís house. I said, "Ed, your brother is up to two six-packs a day. Maybe if we get ourselves square, down the line we can reconvene, and I would love nothing more than that." I donít think he understood. We went our own ways.

Some six months later, perhaps less, somebody deposited a stack of magazines as long as your forearm on my desk, full of all the new Van Halen interviews. It had been easier for them to put a new album together because I had worked with Edward on half of that album already. Brought in a new singer, went right to all those old tapes and started with that as their go point, so it was much easier for them to reconstruct. It was going to take me a considerable while longer. So that first stack of magazines landed in front of me, and it was a Van Halen hatred campaign that was peddled belligerently and strongly as it is to this day. This had been a spectacular group, spectacular writing unit and a sensational show, and if you got anywheres near any element of it, it changed your life.

And here we currently reside thirteen years later, same mudslinging, same kind of thinking from their camp. So I guess the most critical decision I have to make is, do I really describe some of their carryings on, on the roadí? Or do I continue to be the quiet guy? Do I continue to be the nice guy? Ninety-nine percent of all the hijinks and carrying on was my contribution, but everybody had a proclivity. Everybody had a little side-bar to their story.

Itís unfortunate that this feuding has to continue all the way up until the present, because what Van Halen meant to a lot of people and myself in particular, was very positive. What it meant in the early daysóread:

The time period that I was involved in the bandóis hanging in there like an Indian summer. Itís still all over the radio, still in the magazines, people still ask questions about the breakup.

I guess the best I can say is: Donít believe every syllable of everything that you read by everybody who wrote it. Go out and buy those records and see if you can hear the truth in the music. Thatís my recommendation. Some of those records you may have to buy twiceójust in case you want your best pal to listen in too so you can discuss it some more. Dolemite, motherfucker!

Copyright ©1997 David Lee Roth Crazy From The Heat.

WHY ROTH LEFT VAN HALEN

This is a partial transcript from The Howard Stern Show from 12 July 1992 with Dave. This was the first time Dave has stated why he left VH in full. Also, Dave talks about his father's kidnapping. 

DLR: Well, the reason that I left Van Halen wasn't based on money at all. It was a completely artistic thing.

Howard Stern: It was not.

DLR: Well, no. I'll say it for the first time here, ever, on a radio interview.

HS: Wait a minute. Say that without using the F word.

DLR: I want it to sound just as serious as it actually was.

HS: The reason you left Van Halen was why? Without using the F word.

DLR: Because they were completely stoned all the time. How do you make music with someone who has a hangover or is copping a buzz on a regular basis?

HS: Right.

DLR: You've got kids, right?

HS: Right.

DLR: Would you like your daughter to spend any amount of time with somebody who's constantly hung over or constantly coppin' a buzz?

HS: And he's in Van Halen? Let me think about it. My daughter gets to be with the guy, but he always has a buzz... There's ups and downs to everything.

DLR: You've got to think about it in a personal context. The first time that Edward graduated from Betty Ford I called and said "hey, you remember when I said when you get your act together then maybe we can do it?" ...and I'm no saint, and then the second time that he graduated from Betty Ford I tried to call and I got his manager. He called back and said "If you want to talk to those guys you talk to me". Then the third time that he graduated from Betty Ford I called and said "Guys, this is what we talked about if we get back out on the line then we go". I didn't leave Van Halen to pursue some movie career, that would be crazy.

HS: Look at David. How proud he is...

DLR: This is the very first time I've ever done it. I've always said "Aw, it was musical differences, and aw, it was this, and aw, it was that".

HS: Something about Eddie playing keyboards I kept hearing...

DLR: Nonsense. Then you've got Sammy Hagar, who at best is a mediocre talent...

HS: I agree with that. I'll rate him lower than mediocre...

DLR: And Sammy would sell the property rights to his butthole to get fame.

HS: Right.

DLR: Because he was a complete failure till he got with the Van Halen bunch.

HS: True.

DLR: And he does all the talking...

HS: Right.

DLR: You've got someone who's enfeebled himself with dope and alcohol who's gonna go along with the situation.

HS: Right.

DLR: But you know what, Howard, there is a God. Because I left and I said "I really want to make music and I'll take a cut if that's necessary to be an artist". But listen to this. The last album sold a million and a half, theirs sold a little more than that, but I don't break it up five ways.

HS: You got a point there.

DLR: It's not even something I really thought about, but lo and behold, there is a God.

HS: Well, let's face it. When you were with Van Halen that was THE group. That was a great group.

DLR: It still could be a great group. It still absolutely could.

HS: You think you might get back together with those guys?

DLR: I've been saying it for years. Guys, get on track, here. We could make history again.

HS: I hate Sammy Hagar, period.

DLR: Well, Sammy is a mindless little bridge-troll drone. You know, everything that comes out of his mouth is word-barf. You know? It's the lowest common denominator. It's meant for children. Jimi Hendrix never made music for children. Children may have loved it, but he never made music like "Hey, the 14-year-olds will love this". The guys in Led Zeppelin and the Beatles never said "I'm gonna aim this at the 12-year-olds".

HS: Why are you talking about this now?

DLR: I've always backed off and said "Hey, we had our differences" but they keep slammin' me and slammin' me.

HS: They are still slamming the good name of David Lee Roth.

DLR: Yeah, you know, Sammy is my boy. He works for me.

HS: That's right.

DLR: He's my bitch, and when he says my name we just sell that many more records.

DLR: Somebody tried to kidnap my father with a gun not terribly long ago.

HS: Is that right?

DLR: Yeah, you buy the land, you get the indians and not all the indians are friendly.

HS: Right, right...

DLR: A few things like that happen to you and you simmer way down.

HS: You mean they actually went to his house and tried to abduct him?

DLR: Yeah, you know, walked into his office.

HS: For ransom or something?

DLR: You bet. Yeah, and the guy got killed in a shootout about two weeks later.

HS: What do you mean he got killed in a shootout?

DLR: He got shot in Highland Park. He had a shootout with the police.

HS: For something else?

DLR: No, no, the police were chasing him.

HS: Really?

DLR: Oh yeah.

HS: The guy who tried to kidnap your father was killed over that?

DLR: Yes, he was.

HS: That's a fascinating story.

DLR: You know, people ask "Dave, where are you in-between albums"?

HS: Laying pretty low.

DLR: Yeah, cause I ride my bicycle around on the streets. I'm not hiding in back rooms.

HS: Yeah, I got you...

DLR: People say "Dave, haven't heard from you" and it's because when I'm not making music I disappear. I evaporate. It's only been 12 or 14 months...

HS: That's a frightening story, that someone tried to take your father.

DLR: Makes you aware. We get all kinds of characters. I had some gal calling herself Yankee Rose who sent out wedding invitations all over the world that we were getting married in the football stadium in Rio De Janero. I was getting phone calls from Japan going "Dave san, finally you do this".

HS: You're kidding...

DLR: People from all over the place R.S.V.P.-ing. "I can't make the wedding, but I want to be at the bachelor party".

HS: How did the cops catch this guy who was trying to get your father?

DLR: They tracked him down. Evidently they had a little bit of history on him. They tracked him down and threw him in the Pasadena lockup. He stayed there for six or seven nights. When he was coming out of the jail to be transported to central a couple of his buddies busted him out. Stole the cop's guns, busted him out and they caught up to them about five days later. He died under a Toyata.

HS: Well, good for him. That's good. What a happy ending. You should write a song about that.

DLR: Well, you know. You wanted to know what happens in-between albums.


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