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David Lee Roth. (2009, January 17). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:49, January 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=David_Lee_Roth&oldid=264656521

David Lee Roth (often referred to as "Diamond Dave") (born October 10, 1954, Bloomington, Indiana) is an American rock vocalist, songwriter, actor, author, and former radio personality, best known as the lead singer of Van Halen. In addition to his work with Van Halen, Roth is a successful solo artist and has released several platinum and gold solo albums. Roth rejoined Van Halen in 2007 for a North American tour that was the highest grossing tour in the band's history.

David Lee Roth is the son of the late Nathan Roth, an ophthalmologist, and Sibyl Roth. He is the brother of Allison and Lisa Roth. Roth's paternal and maternal grandparents immigrated to Indiana from Russia. One of his grandmothers was from Azores, Portugal. Roth's uncle, Manny Roth, is an influential New York City nightclub owner and entertainment entrepreneur. Manny Roth built and owned the famous New York establishment Cafe Wha? in the early 1960s, when the likes of Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix were working there. Seven-year-old David Lee got his first taste of, and desire for, show business from the inside by hanging out at Cafe Wha?.

Roth moved to Pasadena, California in his teens after living in Swampscott, Massachusetts, and Bloomington, Indiana.

Roth was educated at The Webb Schools in Claremont, California and John Muir High School in Pasadena. He later attended Pasadena City College (as did the Van Halen brothers), although he did not graduate. During this period Roth worked as a hospital orderly.

Roth rose to prominence in the 1970s Los Angeles rock scene as the lead singer of Van Halen. In 1974 Roth rented his PA system to the brothers Eddie and Alex Van Halen, after failing a previous audition, and later joined their hard rock band as lead vocalist when the band members decided that letting him join would both save them money and allow Eddie to focus on guitar playing. After finding out that the name Mammoth (which the Van Halens called their band at the time) was being used by another band, Roth persuaded the Van Halen brothers to change the band's name from Mammoth to Van Halen.

He spent much of his private time refining his martial arts skills and spinning kicks with martial arts Instructor Bob Smith also of Bloomington, Indiana after Smith had provided security for other 70's and early 80's Musicians.[citation needed]

In February 1978, Van Halen released their debut album, Van Halen. It quickly established the group as a commercial success, and is credited with establishing Los Angeles as hard rock's unofficial capital during the 1980s and early-1990s.[citation needed]

Soon after Van Halen's debut, Roth became well-known for his flamboyant showmanship and outrageous off-stage behavior.[citation needed] The 1983 Rolling Stone Record Guide Vol 2. described Roth as "the most obnoxious singer in human history, an achievement notable in the face of long tradition and heavy competition." Although often noted more for physical than for technical vocal prowess, Roth's bluesy baritone voice and distinctive screams, along with his often humorous and campy lyrics, were integral to Van Halen's sound. Roth is able to take his voice into a multi-pitched wheeze/rasp, almost like a train whistle (see Throat singing).

1979 to 1984 saw Van Halen release five more albums: Van Halen II, Women and Children First, Fair Warning, Diver Down, and 1984, each to increasing popular success and critical acclaim. In 1983, Van Halen was paid $1,500,000 to play one set at the US Festival in California, making them one of the two highest paid bands in modern history, along with the festival's other headlining act, David Bowie. Van Halen achieved their greatest commercial success, including their first Billboard #1 single, for the song "Jump", in 1984.

In early 1985, while still a member of Van Halen, Roth released a popular solo EP of off-beat standards. Singles for "California Girls", and "Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody" succeeded largely due to their innovative music videos, which featured ridiculous characters created by Roth.

In April 1985, Roth either left Van Halen or was fired, depending on who is telling the story.[citation needed] Reportedly, tensions between Roth and guitarist Eddie Van Halen broke over Van Halen's desire to incorporate keyboards, synthesizers, and power ballads into the group's sound. In his 1998 autobiography, Crazy From the Heat, Roth characterized Van Halen's music just before his 1985 departure as "morose." Roth wished to record an album quickly, tour, and then shoot a movie (the ill-fated Crazy From the Heat), but found his bandmates apathetic, lethargic, and drunk.[citation needed]

Reportedly, Roth also disliked Eddie Van Halen's behavior regarding an appearance on Michael Jackson's 1983 hit "Beat It"""Van Halen did not tell Roth that he had recorded the song, for fear that Roth would prevent him from releasing it. In Crazy From The Heat, Roth writes that he approved of Van Halen's participation on "Beat It"; he believed that the Quincy Jones-produced track provided an excellent vehicle for Van Halen to showcase his talents. Roth later claimed that his issue with Eddie's participation on the track was that Eddie had declined to be paid for his work, receiving only a thank you note. Roth lamented, "We don't think alike at all."[citation needed]

In late 1985, Roth assembled a band often considered a supergroup, composed of guitarist Steve Vai, bass player Billy Sheehan and drummer Gregg Bissonette. He later enlisted Van Halen producer Ted Templeman to produce the band's debut album. Eat 'Em and Smile saw Roth return to hard rock music, and met with huge commercial success. In interviews around this time, Roth claimed that he had recorded additional Spanish and Portuguese language versions of the album, but to date only one of these, the Spanish language version titled "Sonrisa Salvaje", appeared. The Eat 'em and Smile Tour was one of the most successful concert tours of 1986.

Van Halen's first album with Sammy Hagar, Roth's replacement as lead vocalist, entitled 5150, met with greater commercial success than Eat 'Em and Smile, although it had lost a lot of the heavier rock edge from the previous Roth-era albums. Van Halen allegedly titled their 1988 album OU812 -- a homophone to "Oh, you ate one too?" -- in reference to the title Eat 'Em And Smile.

In early 1988, Roth released Skyscraper, a more experimental offering than the first solo album. It featured Roth's most famous original solo song, "Just Like Paradise", which was a worldwide hit. Skyscraper was co-produced by Roth and Steve Vai, and displayed the growing influence of the guitarist, featuring on many songs the dense layers of compressed guitars that gave it a unique sound that was to differentiate the album from the more Van Halen-sounding Eat 'Em and Smile. The album was certified platinum, reaching #6 on the Billboard album chart.

Nonetheless, it met with a more tepid commercial response than anything Roth had released previously. Roth then went on tour supporting the british metal band Iron Maiden on their 7th Tour Of A 7th Tour in support of their album Seventh Son of a Seventh Son. Soon after Skyscraper's release, Billy Sheehan left Roth's band, who then embarked on a world tour with new bassist Matt Bissonette during most of 1988. The tour was a major production featuring, at various points, Roth surfing above the audience on a surfboard suspended on wires and in a boxing ring, (both parts of the stage show seen in the "Just Like Paradise" video). The show also featured robotic replicas of the band in a calypso segment and all playing Caribbean steel drums and in an unplugged segment where the band performed acoustic covers of some rock and roll classics such as "Wake-Up Little Susie" by The Everly Brothers.

The tour was a huge success and met with ecstatic reviews in many places. A Sounds magazine review of a show on the tour at St. Louis, Missouri (published May 5, 1988) declared it "the greatest rock show on earth" and Kerrang magazine summed up the tour as "a don't blink or you'll miss it spectacular" that had the reporter Mick Wall "scrabbling to put new batteries into his pacemaker." Despite the critical and commercial triumphs of the Skyscraper Tour, Steve Vai left the band to release a solo album.

In 1991, Roth released A Little Ain't Enough, a more mainstream hard rock album, produced by Bob Rock; it achieved RIAA gold status. Twenty-year-old guitar prodigy Jason Becker played on the album, but he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease shortly before the accompanying arena tour. He was replaced by Joe Holmes. The stage for the A Little Ain't Enough Tour featured statues that spat whiskey at Roth's audience, and a pair of giant inflatable legs, positioned 'spread-eagle', wearing ripped, fishnet stockings. Musical tastes changed dramatically by the end of 1991, with the arrival of grunge music, hence Roth's tour did not sell out many venues, as in the past.

In 1993, Roth was arrested in New York City's Washington Square Park for buying what he once described as "$10 worth of Jamaican, bunk reefer maan" from an undercover police officer. The arrest made headlines, and became a late-night television punch-line. When asked by Howard Stern whether the bust was a publicity stunt, Roth said, "Howard, in New York City this small of a bust is a $35 traffic citation. It literally says 'Buick, Chevy, Other'. Your dog poops on the sidewalk, it's $50. If I was looking for publicity, I would have pooped on the sidewalk."

In 1994, Roth released Your Filthy Little Mouth, an eclectic, lyrically intricate album produced by Nile Rodgers. It combined elements of rock, country, reggae, hip hop, lounge, and others; for example, it included the song "Cheating Heart Cafe", a duet with the popular country singer Travis Tritt. It did not sell well, failing to achieve gold status. Roth then began to perform at smaller venues in the United States.

Nevertheless, many partisan fans remained, and the Roth""Van Halen split entered iconic pop culture. For example, in the film Airheads released that year, people who sided with Roth in the Van Halen split were denoted as cool, whereas a character siding with Van Halen was fingered as an undercover police officer.[1] Similarly, in 2001, the title character of the film Joe Dirt declared he was a Van Halen fan, not a "Van Hagar" fan. In Bowling For Soup's song "1985", the narrator sings about the frustrated soccer mom, "Where's the mini-skirt/ Made of snakeskin? Who's the other guy/ Singing with Van Halen?..." And in the 1998 Adam Sandler film The Wedding Singer, set in 1985, Sandler's character tells his cheating girlfriend "Please get out of my Van Halen t-shirt before you jinx the band and they break up". Nerf Herder had a minor hit in 1996 with the song "Van Halen". The lyrics heralded David Lee Roth ("I bought Van Halen I/It was the best damn record I ever owned") and bemoaned Sammy Hagar ("Is this what you wanted, Sammy Hagar? ... I'll never buy your lousy records again").

In 1995, Roth devised and performed an adult lounge act, largely in Las Vegas casinos, with a brass band that featured Nile Rodgers, Edgar Winter, and members of the Miami Sound Machine. It also featured several exotic dancers, who in Roth's words were "so sweet, I bet they shit sugar!"

Living in New York City since the late 1990s, David Lee Roth trained as an Emergency Medical Technician and worked as such for some time.[2] He occasionally told stories about his experiences as an EMT on his radio show.

In June 1996, Roth reunited with Van Halen for a brief time and to great public fanfare. He recorded two new songs for Van Halen's Best of Vol. 1 album, "Can't Get This Stuff No More" and "Me Wise Magic." After an infamous appearance on September 5, 1996, at the MTV Video Music Awards during which Roth and Eddie Van Halen reportedly threatened each other,[citation needed] Roth was passed over for Van Halen's new lead vocalist job in favor of Gary Cherone. (Cherone's previous band, Extreme, had opened for Roth in 1991).

In 1997, Roth wrote a well-received memoir, entitled Crazy From the Heat. The 359-page book was whittled down from over 1,200 pages of monologues, which were recorded and transcribed by a Princeton University graduate who followed Roth around for almost a year. Among the book's revelations, aside from stories about backyard parties, Van Halen, and catching malaria in Third world jungles, was the infamous "Brown M&Ms" clause written into Van Halen's early contract riders. The clause was included in contracts not because of ego, but rather to make sure that structural stage specifications in the contract were read thoroughly and were adequately provided. Roth writes of a time when he found brown M&Ms in a bowl and subsequently had a fit. In the press, he was accused of causing US$85,000 worth of damage to the arena. Most of the monetary damages were due to Van Halen's staging sinking through the floor. Roth writes, "they didn't bother to look at the weight requirements or anything, and this sank through their new flooring and did eighty-thousand dollars worth of damage to the arena floor. The whole thing had to be replaced. It came out in the press that I discovered brown M&Ms and did $85,000 worth of damage to the backstage area. Well, who am I to get in the way of a good rumor?"

In 2001, rumors swirled that Roth and the members of Van Halen had recorded several new songs together and were in the process of attempting yet another reunion. Roth later confirmed this, but nothing became of the music. A box set was also rumored, but never materialized. Instead, Warner Bros. re-released remastered versions of all six early Van Halen studio albums.

In 2002, Roth's Heavyweights of Rock and Roll Tour with Sammy Hagar revived his career somewhat. Despite this, Roth's future with Van Halen seemed uncertain.

"Yankee Rose" appeared in the 2002 videogame Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, playing on rock station V-Rock.

In 2003, Roth released Diamond Dave, an album of (mostly) classic rock cover songs ("If 6 Was 9", "Soul Kitchen," and a solo/big band version of "Ice Cream Man").

In 2003, On December 31st, Roth played a one night sold out New Year's Eve show at the House of Blues in Hollywood, CA consisting of Van Halen era songs as well as Roth era songs, and some drunken midgets roaming about the stage.

In 2004, he appeared on The Sopranos as a poker-playing guest of Tony Soprano, to which Roth was quoted on his website as saying, "Mom says I'm going to look like Lee Marvin in 10 years whether I'm in movies or not, so I might as well get after it!"

On July 4 2004, Roth performed with the Boston Pops at Boston's annual Pops Goes the Fourth celebration.

Roth's website has stated that he is also working on the book The Tao of Dave: Rock 'n' Roll Philosophy with David Lee Roth, a follow-up to his autobiography.

On May 25, 2006 in an interview with Billboard magazine,[3] Roth predicted a classic Van Halen reunion. "There's contact between the two camps..." says Roth, and "To me, it's not rocket surgery. It's very simple to put together. And as far as hurt feelings and water under the dam, like what's-her-name says to what's-her-name at the end of the movie 'Chicago' -- 'So what? It's showbiz!' So I definitely see it happening." In the same interview, Roth also admitted that he hadn't seen Eddie Van Halen "in a couple of years."

During the summer and fall of 2006 Roth toured the United States. He performed classic Van Halen hits as well as selected songs from his solo career. Roth also promoted a new CD, "Strummin' with the Devil," a Van Halen bluegrass tribute album, which features his vocals on two songs, "Jump" and "Jamie's Cryin'". Roth performed a bluegrass rendition of "Jump" on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.[4]

Also in 2006, Roth recorded the album Strummin' With The Devil: The Southern Side of Van Halen - A Tribute which was released on CMH Records. This album consists of tributes to Van Halen performed by David Lee Roth, The John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band, Blue Highway, Mountain Heart, The John Cowan Band, Iron Horse (band) , David Grisman and Sons.[5]

On January 3, 2006, Roth began a career as a radio personality, hosting a self titled show that replaced satellite-radio-bound Howard Stern in the morning drive slot on CBS Radio stations in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and West Palm Beach. Roth stated in an October 2005 interview with Stern that his show would be political, but at the same time, not overly serious.

Roth's show developed into a mix of music reviews, interviews with porn stars and strippers, political discussions, and guests from many walks of life. Roth's show featured an in-studio guitarist, Brian Young, referred to on air as "B. Young."

On Feb. 27, 2006, the Dallas, Boston, and Philadelphia affiliates started airing local programming in Roth's morning time slot, rather than repeat airings of "Best of Roth" while Roth was on vacation. When ratings were released on Feb. 28, 2006, certain entertainment bloggers suggested Roth's hiatus would become permanent.[citation needed] However, on March 6, 2006, Roth returned as scheduled, and continued to broadcast on weekday mornings. On March 8 and 9, Roth blasted his management on the air, explaining to his audience that they had asked him to stop catering towards ethnic groups and women, and instead focus on 35-year-old white males.[citation needed] On his March 10 show, he announced that things between him and the management had been settled "for the time being." During the week of March 27-March 31, Roth Radio took its show on the road for the first time, broadcasting from Miami, Florida all week long.

On Wednesday, March 29, 2006, Roth was taken off the air by CBS; affiliates were told to find other programming to air. That day, Karen Mateo of CBS radio released a statement saying that David Lee Roth would return to the airwaves from New York on Friday, March 31. Upon Roth's return on March 31, the format of his show had changed drastically. Many of the show's callers expressed dislike of the new format, saying they felt that the show had "lost its edge." One caller aired his opinion that Roth's tendency to laugh at one-liners was annoying. Starting Monday, April 10, 2006, the Dallas affiliate (now KRLD-FM) moved Roth up one hour from 6-10 central to 5-9 by running the show live instead of on an hour delay. The extra hour was given to the newly acquired Jagger Show.

On April 10, 2006, the New York Post reported that CBS Radio would replace Roth with the team of Opie and Anthony "within weeks."[6] On the morning of April 21, 2006, about halfway through the show, Roth began complaining that his show was not able to take calls or emails. He then went on to read the news stories, only getting halfway through a story before commenting that he didn't care about it and going on to the next one. Following a commercial break, Roth chose to play only songs because of his frustration with CBS radio.[citation needed] At 8 AM, Roth returned to the air to interview car salesman "Chop," and then at 9 AM he interviewed actor Jeff Bridges. Roth made an agreement with CBS to address the situation with 15 minutes left in the show; however, when that time came CBS pulled the plug on him, and did not allow him to say good-bye to his fans.

As of April 22, 2006, David Lee Roth was rumored to be in talks with Sirius Satellite Radio to do an afternoon show. This was later denied by Howard Stern and Sirius CEO Mel Karmazin, who stated, "Mr. Roth is still under contract and unable to go to another radio medium whilst still being paid by CBS Radio."[citation needed] Roth is also expected to pursue his full one year payout of approximately $4 million. Howard Stern has come to Roth's defense claiming that he should have been allowed time to grow an audience.[citation needed]

On April 24, 2006, the rumor about The David Lee Roth Show being replaced by Opie and Anthony was confirmed. The duo filled Roth's former timeslot on Wednesday, April 26, 2006. Two days later, an article appeared in the Boston Herald, which stated that CBS, supposedly, never intended for Roth to replace Stern permanently. Reportedly, the company wanted Opie and Anthony to replace Stern all along; however, because of a public feud between Stern and the duo, they selected Roth to 'go first,' so as bear the brunt of fan outrage, and thus ensure Opie and Anthony's success.

During a brief war with Howard Stern, Stern was expecting Roth to show up at his K-Rock WXRK (in New York) station The Howard Stern Show, but when Roth failed to show up, Stern declared war on Roth and told his listeners to call him David Weave Roth. When Stern and Roth buried the hatchet, Roth came on and proved to Stern that he wasn't wearing a weave by having Stern pull his golden locks.

During the course of Roth's radio show, he maintained a relationship with Howard Stern News Department reporter Steve Langford. Roth and Langford met frequently after shows, with Langford bringing tape back to Howard of Roth's complaints towards WXRK's management. Issues included Roth's firing, the missing podcast, and his show being cut off early. Langford and Roth met last on Roth's final day, April 21,2006, Roth performed the Rolling Stones song "You Can't Always Get What You Want" for Howard and discussed an impending lawsuit against CBS.

On August 23, 2006, it was announced at the Interprovincial Music Camp "Rock Camp" in Ontario, Canada, that for the 2007 camp, Roth was to teach the "Advanced Vocals" students.

On December 28, 2006, David Lee Roth warned that a reunion with Van Halen could result in a "NASCAR-style wreck."[7]

On January 24, 2007, after much anticipation, Billboard.com reported that David Lee Roth would rejoin Van Halen for a 40-date amphitheater tour in Summer 2007.[8] This report, among many others, was confirmed with an official press release posted on the official Van Halen website on Feb. 2, 2007.

On Feb. 2, 2007 The Official Van Halen Web Site released information that David Lee Roth had rejoined the band along with current members Alex, Eddie, along with Eddie and Valerie's teenage son, Wolfgang Van Halen. Michael Anthony, Van Halen's original and only bass player up to now (excluding Eddie played bass himself on some of Van Halen III and all the new songs on the Best of Both Worlds compilation), was fired by Eddie before the summer 2004 tour with Sammy Hagar and played that tour under a 'hired gun' contract. Michael Anthony's website confirms his firing. David Lee Roth's website has a fan poll asking if Michael's absence will detract from a "reunion" tour. On March 8th the official Van Halen website posted a letter from Eddie Van Halen stating that Ed was entering rehab and that the tour with Roth had been indefinitely postponed.

In March 2007 five members of Van Halen, the four original members and Sammy Hagar were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Van Halen brothers did not attend due to Eddies condition. Roth was to perform with the band Velvet Revolver however conflict with the band caused his part to be canceled. Roth subsequently did not attend the induction, leaving only Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar to represent Van Halen. Both Anthony and Hagar thanked Roth publicly for his contribution to the band during the awards acceptance.

The conflict was rumored to be based on song selection. Roth wanted to perform "Jump", the band's highest charting song, but Velvet Revolver would only agree to play "Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love" or "You Really Got Me". When it was finally agreed upon that Paul Schaffer would perform "Jump", Roth claimed that there was no longer enough time to rehearse and opted not to attend the ceremony.

On G4's show Code Monkeys, Dave is shown giving an inspirational speech to keep the others from taking up jobs at Bellecovision and asks "Would David Lee Roth leave Van Halen?" The show takes place in the 1980s.

On August 13, 2007, 6 months after the initial reunion tour was postponed, it was finally confirmed by Van Halen with Roth at a press conference in Los Angeles that they would start the tour back up again and schedule it starting in September 2007. At that conference, David Lee Roth claimed that he and Eddie were "like brothers" now. It was also announced that the band had the possibility of further worldwide touring and a new album in mind for 2008.

On June 5, 2008, Van Halen announced the 2007-2008 tour with Roth grossed more than $93 million, a record for the rock band. Van Halen played to nearly one million people during 74 arena shows throughout the United States and Canada, beginning September 27 2007 in Charlotte, N.C. and wrapping June 03 2008 in Quebec City, Qc for the 400th anniversary of the city. Although currently inactive, it is rumored that the band will release a DVD of the largely-successful tour in time for the Christmas holiday. A studio album of new material is also expected to follow.

Note: Roth played with Van Halen from 1972-1985. He was a solo artist 1985-1996, and again 2001-2006. In 1996 Roth had no solo band, due to the Van Halen reunions. He later attempted to rejoin the band three times in the period 2000-2001, though each time was met with failure. In 2006 he rejoined Van Halen again, putting an end to his solo band. Members of Van Halen are shown in bold.

David Lee Roth. (2009, January 17). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:49, January 21, 2009, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=David_Lee_Roth&oldid=264656521

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