Wednesday, August 11, 2010

David Lee Roth's "No Holds BBQ"

“(It’s) a combination of Kurosawa meets Groucho Marx times Led Zeppelin meets Jimmy Buffett times Action Figure remix - sort of Club Med goes Lil’ Rascals adult version”

- David Lee Roth (“No Holds BBQ” commentary)
I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

One of the craziest video compilations you’ll ever/never see is David Lee Roth’s “No Holds Bar-B-Que.” The hour-plus set was sold on VHS during the ill-fated 2002 “Sam And Dave” tour – pairing up (at the time) former Van Halen singers Roth and Sammy Hagar (fans dubbed it the “Sans Halen” tour).

Watching “No Holds BBQ” is mind-bending enough for big DLR fans; I can’t imagine the sensory overload for casual fans - and I mean that in the best possible way.

The collection is ideal for the A-D-D set: songs, styles, themes and images all flash by before you’re able to make much sense of them, and when you think you’ve got one nailed down – boom – you’re already into the next clip. It’s all very Warhol and exactly what Roth intended.

“I've woven it together in a form that I think is much more appropriate for our national attention-deficit syndrome, or whatever it is we're having,” Dave said in a 2002 interview. “In this, you're entertained right along with your current state of biorhythms, which is frenzied. If you watch television and listen to radio regularly, if you spend any time at the local shopping mall, then your inner tempo is frenzied. At least in the United States. And I tried to create a different type of television—it's not really a show and it's not really a biography. There's a lot of show-and-tell in there. I'm not really sure what it is. Perhaps that makes it pure. Like Picasso said, it's bound to go over some people's heads, so I created a version with a director's commentary.”

The entire project was written, directed and produced by Roth, who also oversaw the production of all the musical performances – most were done at the mansion, but some were done at Henson Studios in LA.

The musically-diverse setlist runs from techno to blues to mambo to swing, mixing some Roth originals with covers galore, including “Baker Street” (Gerry Rafferty), “Fool For Your Stockings” (ZZ Top), “Tomorrow Never Knows” (The Beatles), “Let It All Hang Out” (The Hombres), “Dig Your Own Hole” (The Chemical Bothers), “Shine A Little Love” (ELO), “Love Time" (Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee), a couple of Django Reinhardt songs (“Exactly Like You” and “Lime House Blues”), as well as an unplugged version of VH’s “Mean Street.”

A couple of the tracks (Beatles, Hombres) appeared later on 2003’s "Diamond Dave” album.

The cast of characters is off the charts: mixed in with outright looniness and military themes are video storylines featuring actual war veterans, midgets and a cast of thousands - including plenty of ladies.

"BBQ" footage was shot at Roth’s mansion in Pasadena, California (he calls it the “Mojo Dojo”); from indoor party scenes to underwater night action in the pool to the tennis courts, which featured a giant ghetto blaster as the backdrop. Photo stills featured in the package were shot by famed rock photographer Neil Zlozower.

Roth originally designed the video as a media kit (an “EPK,” or Electronic Press Kit), but it became something much bigger. “Instead of a page that says, 'Dave's been fishing, is planning on going into the studio, and likes Django Reinhardt this year,' let's take the camera to the beach, play some Django, and go after what I'm best at!” Roth said in 2002. “I spent easily $600,000 outta pocket. I spent the mortgage, literally. It grew beyond a simple 'here's a kinda the day in the life,' because my day is full of fantasy and literary references."

The original VHS set features two viewing options: the “regular” video plus a second version complete with running commentary by Roth.

According to reports, "BBQ" was planned for sale via Roth’s website and, eventually, retail, but neither seems to have materialized, making it one expensive “lost weekend” home video. Copies seem to show up on eBay periodically, so keep your eyes peeled if you’re in the market for one.

Mean Van Halen - Mean Street - Fair Warning

David Lee Roth – Mean Street (unplugged)
No Holds BBQ (2002)
(original by Van Halen)
(note: includes language – discretion advised)

That David Lee Roth - Tomorrow Never Knows - Diamond Dave

David Lee Roth – Tomorrow Never Knows
No Holds BBQ (2002)
(Original by The Beatles)

Shine ELO - Shine a Little Love - Discovery

David Lee Roth – Shine A Little Love
No Holds BBQ (2002)
(Original by ELO)

Dig Chemical Bothers - Dig Your Own Hole - Dig Your Own Hole

David Lee Roth – Flex (version 1)
No Holds BBQ (2002)
(Original by The Chemical Brothers)

David Lee Roth – Love Time
No Holds BBQ (2002)

Adrift Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra Adrift In Tangier - The Hours Between Night & Day

David Lee Roth – Adrift In Tangier
No Holds BBQ (2002)
(Original by Ottmar Liebert)

Dig Chemical Bothers - Dig Your Own Hole - Dig Your Own Hole

David Lee Roth – Fire It Up, Scarecrow
No Holds BBQ (2002)
(Original by The Chemical Brothers)