David Lee Roth

From Academic Kids

David Lee Roth, also known as Diamond Dave, (born October 10, 1954 in Bloomington, Indiana,) is a Jewish, American rock vocalist.


With Van Halen

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 Edward and Alex Van Halen, and later joined their hard rock band as lead vocalist. Roth soon persuaded the Van Halen brothers to change the band's name from Rat Salade to Van Halen. The group also performed under the name "Mammoth". In the late 1970s, Van Halen developed a local following while playing the nightclubs on the Sunset Strip.

Missing image
Cover from 1978 album Van Halen with David Lee Roth in the upper right corner

In 1978, Roth sang lead vocals on Van Halen's eponymous first album. Van Halen is considered one of rock music's greatest debuts — it quickly established the group as a commercial success, and is credited with establishing Los Angeles as popular music's unofficial capital during the 1980s and early-1990s. Soon after Roth became well-known for his charisma, acrobatic showmanship, and outrageous off-stage behaviour; he quickly became a media celebrity, due to his sex appeal, larger-than-life persona, and ribald witticisms. Although unremarkable from a technical standpoint, Roth's bluesy baritone voice, and high-pitched screams were integral to Van Halen's sound. His lyrics were often humorous and ironic.

1979 to 1984 saw Van Halen release five 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 $1,000,000 to play one set at the US Festival in California, and thus became the highest paid band in modern history. Van Halen achieved their greatest commercial success, including their first Billboard #1 single, (for the song Jump,) in 1984. Soon after, tensions boiled over between Roth and his bandmates. In early 1985, while still a member Van Halen, Roth released a solo EP of off-beat standards, which became wildly popular. Singles for Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody, and California Girls succeeded largely due to their innovative music videos, which featured ridiculous characters created by Roth.

After Van Halen

In April 1985, Roth either quit Van Halen or was fired, according to differing reports. Thereafter Roth and his former bandmates engaged in an acrimonious (if often colorful) feud that made headlines for decades, and became the subject of much popular debate and speculation.

In late-1985, Roth assembled a band that many considered a "supergroup", composed of guitarist Steve Vai, bass player Billy Sheehan and drummer Greg 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 considerable commercial success. 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. Van Halen titled their 1988 album OU812 (i.e. Oh, you ate one too?) to ridicule Eat 'Em And Smile.

In early-1988, Roth released Skyscraper, a more experimental album, musically, with a pop sound. It met with a more tepid commercial response than anything Roth had released previously. Soon after Skyscraper's release, Billy Sheehan left Roth's band. Following the Skyscraper Tour, Steve Vai left Roth's band. Since then, Roth has been without a steady band.

After releasing two poorly selling albums in the early 1990s, 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.

In June, 1996, Roth reunited with Van Halen to great public fanfare. He recorded two songs with Van Halen for their Best of Vol. 1 album. After an infamous group appearance on September 5, 1996, at the MTV Video Music Awards, during which Roth and Eddie Van Halen reportedly threatened each other, Roth was passed over for Van Halen's lead vocalist job in favor of Gary Cherone.

In 1998, Roth wrote a well-received memoir, entitled Crazy From the Heat. He continued to release new music; however, it did not sell as well as before.

In 2001, rumors swirled that Roth and the members of Van Halen had recorded several songs together, and were in the process of attempting yet another reunion. Roth later confirmed this, but nothing became of the music.

In 2002, Roth's Heavyweights of Rock and Roll tour with Sammy Hagar succeeded beyond expectations and revived his career somewhat. Despite this, Roth's future remains uncertain, as Hagar's recent rapprochement with Van Halen casts doubt on the "DLR Army's" hope that Roth will ever reunite with Van Halen.

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

According to news reports in July 2004, Roth has relocated to New York City where he is training to become an emergency medical technician.

Currently, there is speculation that Roth might take over Howard Stern's time slot on morning radio next year.

Roth's father, Nathan Roth, was an ophthalmologist.



  • Crazy From the Heat

External links

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