David Lee Roth Says He's One Of The Rare Singers Easily Imitated
Still no world about the long-rumored 2019 Van Halen tour dates, but that hasn't stopped "Diamond" David Lee Roth from talking to the press. During an interview with Forbes, Roth spoke about his cult of personality, explaining, "I'm one of a half-dozen frontmen that after two beers the whole world can imitate. Everybody has a David Lee Roth imitation, just like you have a (Mick) Jagger imitation and now you have a Freddie (Mercury) imitation."
He added, "Nobody imitates Steven Tyler or Robert Plant. Those are static singers that are a little bit closer to a (Frank) Sinatra. I've been dancing, they don't dance. They perform and they present a little closer to what (David) Bowie did. Bowie didn't dance either. Neither does (Bruce) Springsteen. Springsteen is a job site foreman at a construction site (laughs). I'll imitate: 'Finish those gaskets, Armin, I'm buying lunch.' They don't dance."
Roth went on to say that classical influences played a key role in Van Halen's work: "That edge is in Van Halen music. That dark minor key tone is in everything we ever made and that's why we have two diamond albums (Van Halen and 1984.) Elvis (Presley) doesn't have two. He has one and it was Christmas tunes and he didn't write them. That darkness, that little shot of sea salt in the caramel is what makes it work, the John Lennon note. Not the (Paul) McCartney note. The reason I'm so funny is because I ain't even vaguely happy. And that's in your music all the time, from mid-range down to here."
David Lee Roth told us that these days bands just don't make their bones playing out the way the pre-fame Van Halen did in the first half of the 1970's: "Used to be, you would play in clubs five, six, seven 45-minute sets a night. The mighty classic Van Halen, when I was quarterback, must have learned 400 songs by other people, ranging from KC & The Sunshine Band, doing four-part harmony on 'Get Down Tonight.' We played Led Zeppelin, and we played Ohio Players, and we played ZZ Top. Somewhere in between, you had a balancing act there."