David Lee Roth
avid Lee Roth (born October 10, 1954) is an American rock vocalist, musician, songwriter, actor, author, and former radio personality. After living in Bloomington, Indiana, and Swampscott, Massachusetts, he moved to Pasadena, California, while he was in his teens. Several members of his family were surgeons. His father, Nathan Roth, was a renowned eye surgeon who made millions via his practice and in real estate. The senior Roth was featured on the TV show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous in 1984, on which he claimed that he was Van Halen's first manager helping the group obtain gigs in the early days. Nathan owned a 14,000-square-foot home in Pasadena, California named "Rothwood" as well as a chateau named "Bradbury".
By the time Roth was in his late teens, he was singing solo, as well as with a group called the Red Ball Jets. Los Angeles group, Mammoth (featuring Alex Van Halen on drums and Edward Van Halen singing and playing lead guitar). Roth was invited (and accepted) to join Mammoth as lead singer. In 1974, told that another act was using the name, they changed their name to Van Halen.
Performing both original and cover songs, Van Halen eventually gained local success, becoming a regular feature at the Starwood Club. It was during their four-month stint there that they were first discovered. In 1976, Gene Simmons took note of the band (in particular Eddie Van Halen, who Simmons hoped to recruit for his own band, KISS) and assisted them in producing their first demo tape.
Suffering from hyperactivity since childhood Roth's personality made it hard for his existence to continue in Mammoth or later Van Halen and he was forever restless and by 1985, after exchanging words with Eddie Van Halen he left for a solo career. Just before and while still with Van Halen he experimented with a solo 1985 release titled Crazy From The Heat, an album that made top 3 US with his cover of the Beach Boys' California Girls being the highlight. He would also release with the album several spin-off 7" singles under the administration of himself on vocals, Dean Parks,Eddie Martinez, Sid McGinness (all guitar), Edgar Winter (keyboard/synthesizer/sax/vocals), James Newton Howard (synthesizer ), Willie Weeks (bass), John Robinson (drums), Sammy Figueroa (percussion) and Brian Mann (synthesizer ).
In late 1985, Roth assembled a virtuoso solo band, consisting of guitarist Steve Vai (previously of Frank Zappa's band), bassist Billy Sheehan (previously of Talas), and drummer Gregg Bissonette (previously of Maynard Ferguson's big band). With veteran Van Halen producer Ted Templeman producing, Roth released his debut solo LP, Eat 'Em and Smile in July 1986. The album proved to be a truly entertaining listen and was praised by the press, getting a 4 US/28 UK, charting.
When Skyscraper came out in 1988 Matt Bisonette had taken over from Sheehan who had left to join Ozzy Osbourne. This album depicted Dave on the cover rock climbing. It too was a relative success gaining a 6 US/11 UK ranking. A set of quick membership changes ensued with Rocky Richette (ex-Steppenwolf/ex-Black Rose) replacing Vai who had left to go solo, and then joining Whitesnake. He was followed a few months later by Dezzi Rexx and Joe Holmes taking over the two guitar spots, while Todd Jensen (ex-Harlow) took over bass. The next album,A Little Ain't Enough (1991), charted reasonably well but began to show the formulaic approach Roth's music had been taking, and 1994's Your Filthy Little Mouth struggled to keep it within the top 80.
On February 2, 2007 The Official Van Halen Web Site released information that Roth had rejoined the band along with current members Alex, Eddie, along with Eddie and Valerie Bertinelli's teenage son, Wolfgang Van Halen. Michael Anthony, Van Halen's original bass player, played the summer 2004 tour with Sammy Hagar under a 'hired gun' contract. On March 8 the official band website posted a letter from Eddie Van Halen stating that Ed did not feel he could perform his absolute best and the tour with Roth would be 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 Eddie's condition.
On June 5, 2008, the band announced that the 2007-2008 tour with Roth grossed more than $93 million.
The new Roth-fronted Van Halen album A Different Kind of Truth was released on February 7, 2012. A tour commenced in February 2012.
In 2018, Roth, together with business partner and tattoo artist Ami James, created INK the Original, a full line of skincare products that protect tattooed skin.
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David Lee Roth, 2007
Photo by: Anirudh Koul
CC BY 2.0
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