David Lee Roth: Working With Eddie Van Halen Was ‘Better Than Any Love Affair’
David Lee Roth says his relationship with Eddie Van Halen was one of the best of his life.
In the first episode of his new The Roth Show podcast (audio below), the singer looked back on the band’s earliest days before reflecting on the guitarist's passing in 2020.
"Boy, I miss him," Roth said. "I had a ball with Ed. Walt Disney once said, 'You know what? My love affair with Mickey Mouse was better than any love affair with a woman I ever had.' ... I gotta tell ya: playing with Ed, writing songs with Ed, presenting those songs with Ed, was better than any love affair I ever had."
He continued: "And some of those songs, I think, might last forever – or until the last syllable of time, like Shakespeare said. They became anthems. Where are they playing 'Jump' right now?"
Referring to the fact that he hadn't liked the hit single when it was originally suggested to him, he explained: "I remember when he played it on the keyboard downstairs. I said, 'No!'" Laughing, he added: "Well, we reflect the times, and the times at that time was guitars, guitars, guitars; and 'Jump' was one of those hybrids."
Elsewhere in the episode, Roth reported that the Van Halen covers he'd been releasing over recent months were the result of putting a live band in a studio and trying to capture the feel of the original era, while relying on gear developed in the EDM genre. "Being from classic rock, there's not much that I'm gonna really change in the Van Halen issues," he said. "We went for the sonics; we went for the sounds; we went for the mix.
"Let's employ some of the EDM technology, record with the original instruments...and with those same amps and pickups and microphones and stuff, what can we bring that's new?" He argued that the results were "a little bit fatter" and answered what he called the "Starbucks questions," which were: "What's your band sound like, how's your voice and are you still skinny?"
Roth also revealed he was currently on medication after having had surgery on an arthritic foot. "I have a new big toe. ... I had an ungrateful big toe," he said. "I have taken it around the world I don't know how many times, and then it gave up on me. So what you're listening to right now is the upside of me having to deal with a big bandage on my toe."
Among the many trademark asides he delivered during the episode was: "You remember back when my haircut was still alive? I didn't look like I came from anywhere planetary – that got me in everywhere!" Another was about his struggle to shop in a modern marijuana store: "We have a pot dispensary that's so digital, I'm left out! I was afraid to go in and get some pot [because] it's digital menus. I had to go to the other one!"
Listen to 'The Roth Show' Season 2, Episode 1