VAN HALEN’s DAVID LEE ROTH: ‘If ED And I Can Get Along, Then World Peace Can Have A Chance’

Cameron Adams of recently conducted an interview with VAN HALEN singer David Lee Roth. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below. Eddie Van Halen‘s son Wolfgang is on bass now. What’s it like being in a band with a 20-year-old?

Roth: I’m starting to be impressed by the kid. I didn’t want to be. He can play the shit out of that thing. He’s bringing it. We never changed. We’re a ’70s hard rock band. We enjoyed our fame in the ’80s but all our roots are pre-’80s. That’s VAN HALEN. Old plus new. It’s like watching “Dragnet” on your iPad. How are you and Eddie getting on?

Roth: If Ed and I can get along, then world peace can have a chance. There’s sparks, there’s energy, there’s a team enthusiasm closer to pirates than little league. There’s still some pillaging going on there. You can hear it in the music. There’s routinely conflict but there’s a lot of laughter. A lot of appreciation for the privilege of the job; compared to some of the other jobs we’ve all held, this is better. In one of the songs I say, “I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor, rich is better.” It’s totally better. How do you describe the chemistry between you and Eddie? It’s led to you leaving the band a few times.

Roth: Our form of sparks will be in the first sentence of our mutual obituaries. These are the songs and messages that have brought a smile to a thousand hips. Maybe that’s our only responsibility as artists. You must delight. I don’t care if you’re running with a football in a screaming stadium or playing a solo violin in a concert hall, you must delight. We treasure that responsibility more than ever. You see it in the handshakes. The smiles are genuine. We individually idle somewhere between pissed off and not too pissed off in terms of anger. When you get too happy that’s a different band. That’s a vacation. What was it like seeing VAN HALEN when Sammy Hagar or Gary Cherone was frontman?

Roth: When you change the engine, you have a whole different form of transportation. Any similarity between the reality of some of the other vocalists and mine is purely coincidental. Can you see yourself in VAN HALEN long-term this time around?

Roth: It’s a revised spirit, it’s a real band. However temporary it may be there’s a real core of strength, an integrity to the band. An obsessiveness to it that will ring true at least for the rest of this tour. To promise anything beyond that, I don’t know. That kind of friction and back and forth solicits the best. In the battle of the bands, we actually are a battle of the bands in one band.

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