Sunday, March 3, 2019

VIDEO: David Lee Roth recalls formative years of Van Halen on The Joe Rogan Experience

David Lee Roth shared his thoughts on the formative years of Van Halen - and plenty more – during a three-hour appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience on February 28.

When asked by the host about the cultural impact the band had in their early recording and performing career – bursting out of the gate with their 1978 self-titled debut – the rocker spoke of Van Halen’s years performing covers on the Southern California club- and backyard party-circuit as the learning curve that helped define not only their original sound, but their ability to appeal to a wide range of audiences.

“Your end game depends on how you started….it’s like chess,” explained Roth. “We began very early on identifying that there‘s a whole lotta different neighborhoods in Southern California. I knew this from being with my dad (eye surgeon Dr, Nathan Roth) ; all of his patients – it’s like a Benetton ad – that’s part of the beauty of Pasadena: you got everybody.

“What you play at the birthday party in the Spanish-speaking neighborhood (sings some Santana), is different than what we’re gonna play for the surfers out at Venice Beach – that’s Aerosmith stuff. And then you have the working man out in San Bernardino – that’s ZZ Top. Subtle, but important: genius is in the details.”

According to Roth, the lessons the group learned during this era proved invaluable to live performances, understanding audience demographics and, most importantly, putting food on the table as a working band.

“Dozens and dozens of places that were all a little bit different, and our thing was that we could play anywhere. We had to,” he added. “We had to feed ourselves…and that meant five, 45-minute sets a night…five, six nights a week, if you could get it. We would ping-pong all over the Southland, anywhere we could drive, for two hours.

“Every neighbourhood was a little different, and that shows up in the music. I don’t think of it as impact – that’s a result; what’s the verb? Contribution.”

During the extended interview, Rogan shared his love of the original Van Halen era and his refusal to accept the Sammy Hagar years that followed, which led Roth to attempt to illustrate the differences between the two.

“All of Sam’s lyrics contained love: ‘Why can’t this be love?,’” Roth began. “’I ain’t talkin’ about love’ ... come on, who do I jog with? I don’t. Who is my running partner?”

“Yeah, ‘Runnin’ With The Devil,’” responded the host.

Referencing the subtle influences that informed much of Van Halen’s original run, the rocker summed up the Halen vs. Hagar lineups thusly: “It was two different folks: I wanted to be the art project, not just wear one.”

On hand to promote his tattoo skin care line INK The Original, Roth continuously threw out pop culture references while veering wildly from one topic to the next throughout the session, including his lifetime love of the outdoors, education, his experiences as an EMT in New York City, living in Japan in recent years, and the influences of past and current music history icons.

In recent months, Roth has hinted at a 2019 return of Van Halen, as rumors continue to surface following a three-year hiatus by the band.

See also:

Sammy Hagar confirms Van Halen have contacted Michael Anthony about a reunion tour
VIDEO: Original David Lee Roth band members reunite at NAMM
Rock News Story Of The Year No. 2: VAN HALEN
Rock News Artist Of The Year No. 10: VAN HALEN
Search Van Halen at hennemusic