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David Lee Roth

In the eyes of countless hard rock fans, David Lee Roth is the prototypical frontman. With a flamboyant, larger than life stagepresence and a party-hearty surfer dude persona (not to mention his acrobatic leaps, long mane of blond hair, and skintightspandex outfits), Roth was an integral part of Van Halen's meteoric rise to global dominance from 1978 through 1984. Born onOctober 10, 1954 in Bloomington, Indiana, Roth was introduced to music at an early age, via his father's affinity for Al Jolson,Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, and Louis Prima. By the dawn of his teenage years, his family ...read more

In the eyes of countless hard rock fans, David Lee Roth is the prototypical frontman. With a flamboyant, larger than life stagepresence and a party-hearty surfer dude persona (not to mention his acrobatic leaps, long mane of blond hair, and skintightspandex outfits), Roth was an integral part of Van Halen's meteoric rise to global dominance from 1978 through 1984. Born onOctober 10, 1954 in Bloomington, Indiana, Roth was introduced to music at an early age, via his father's affinity for Al Jolson,Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, and Louis Prima. By the dawn of his teenage years, his family had relocated to California, and bythe early '70s, Roth had become a major rock fan (Led Zeppelin, Black Oak Arkansas, Grand Funk, ZZ Top, Alice Cooper,etc.). Roth was soon singing in local bands, including the Red Ball Jets, who would play shows along with another up-and-coming rock band from Pasadena, California -- Mammoth. The members of Mammoth, including brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen on guitar and drums, respectively, would often borrowRoth's PA system for their gigs, and a friendship was struck up. Soon after, Roth was asked to join forces with the Van Halenbrothers, who had enlisted a new bassist as well, Michael Anthony. The new quartet decided on a name change by the mid-'70s as they played the Sunset Strip -- Van Halen (reportedly Roth's idea). By 1977, the quartet was signed to Warner Bros.,and 1978 saw the release of their landmark self-titled debut, one of rock's all-time great recordings. Mixing heavy metal riffswith punk's fury, Van Halen were onto a whole new sound, which resulted in the band taking the world by storm. The bandissued a string of classic mega-selling albums (1979's Van Halen II, 1980's Women and Children First, 1981's Fair Warning,1982's Diver Down, and two years later, 1984), while becoming a major arena-headlining concert draw in the process. Just as Van Halen had hit their peak and appeared they could do no wrong, Roth issued a four-track solo EP in 1985, Crazyfrom the Heat, with rumors swirling that the bandmembers were bickering behind the scenes and that the singer was going tomake a major motion picture. Still, it was a shock to rock fans everywhere when Roth left Van Halen later that year (VanHalen would soldier on with Sammy Hagar filling Roth's spot) -- leading to a war of words in the press. When his plans for themovie proved to be a bust, Roth immediately formed a top-notch solo band, consisting of ex-Talas bassist Billy Sheehan(often called "the Eddie Van Halen of bass"), ex-Frank Zappa guitarist Steve Vai, and ex-Maynard Ferguson drummer GreggBissonette. In 1986, Roth issued his first full-length solo effort, Eat 'Em and Smile, which was another hit and gave way toanother sold-out tour. Roth had also become a master of creating hilarious and highly original music videos (featuring a wide assortment of wackycharacters), especially Van Halen's "Hot for Teacher" and Roth's solo clips "California Girls," "Just a Gigolo," "Yankee Rose," and"Goin' Crazy." But while Roth's new solo band seemed to be on the way to a very promising future, the lineup began tosplinter with each subsequent release (1988's Skyscraper, 1991's A Little Ain't Enough), until Roth was the only remainingmember. With interest waning, Roth attempted to branch out musically on his experimental 1994 release, Your Filthy LittleMouth (produced by Nile Rodgers), but it was met with a cool reception, as was his attempt to break into the Vegas circuitaround the same time. By 1996, Van Halen had parted ways with Hagar, leading to an onslaught of rumors that a Roth/Van Halen reunion was in theworks. The rumor appeared to become reality on September 4, 1996, when Van Halen and Roth appeared together at theMTV Video Music Awards in New York to present an award. Despite the fact that they had recorded several new songs theprevious summer (two of which would appear on their forthcoming Best Of: Vol. 1 collection), the reunion was short-lived --Eddie and Roth got into a near fistfight backstage on the night of the awards show, as relations soured once again when itbecame known that Van Halen tricked Roth into thinking that he was back in the band (meanwhile, they had secretly hiredex-Extreme singer Gary Cherone a few months prior). Undeterred, Roth penned a tell-all biography, 1997's Crazy from the Heat, and issued his best solo album in years, 1998'sback-to-basics DLR Band. When Cherone was dismissed from Van Halen in 1999 after only a single album (the horrific VanHalen III), rumors began swirling once again about a possible Roth/Van Halen reunion. With both camps keeping things veryhush-hush, Roth finally broke the silence in April of 2001, issuing a statement on his website that he and his former Van Halenbandmates had indeed regrouped the previous year in the recording studio, but that he hadn't heard back from them inmonths. Barely a week later, Eddie Van Halen went public with the fact that he was diagnosed with cancer; in May of 2002he reported on his website that his cancer treatments had been successful and he had "just gotten a 100 percent clean billof health -- from head to toe." Meanwhile, the good news from Eddie Van Halen did not apparently coincide with a return of Roth to the Van Halen fold, asthe singer's Diamond Dave, a 14-track collection of mostly covers that echoed the 1982 Van Halen classic Diver Down, wasreleased in 2003. In 2005, Roth took over FM "Shock Jock" duties for the satellite radio-bound Howard Stern, and thefollowing year he gathered friends for the tongue- in-cheek Strummin with the Devil: The Southern Side of Van Halen. « hide

Similar Bands: Van Halen, Sammy Hagar, Billy Idol

LPs
Strummin' With The Devil
2006

2
22 Votes
Diamond Dave
2003

2
12 Votes
DLR Band
1998

2.8
23 Votes
Your Filthy Little Mouth
1994

2.6
20 Votes
A Little Ain't Enough
1991

2.9
49 Votes
Skyscraper
1988

3.5
69 Votes
Eat 'em And Smile
1986

3.8
113 Votes
EPs
Crazy From The Heat
1985

3.4
29 Votes

Contributors: Baronessa, rockandmetaljunkie, suturno, Dave de Sylvia, Alex101, danielcardoso, Voivod, thejon93rd, DaveyBoy, TheRamblingElf,

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