David Lee Roth: From Rocker to EMT ... and Back
Van Halen's frontman grapples with the new zeitgeist
By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff
Posted Apr 21, 2013 7:27 AM CDT
Van Halen members Eddie Van Halen, right, and David Lee Roth perform at Cafe Wha? in New York, Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012.   (AP Photo/Charles Sykes)

(Newser) – Remember David Lee Roth? The wild Van Halen lead singer had quite a bumpy ride once the band broke up and his solo career ran its course in the 1980s, writes Steve Kandell in BuzzFeed. Starting over, Roth worked as an EMT on ambulance calls in New York City. "The altitude drop is when somebody realizes who you are and they take you to task,” he says. "Now you're the guy who gets to do garbage five days in a row instead of one. … That will test you." Why the tough times? "Two words: Kurt Cobain," says Roth, of America's shift to a gloomy zeitgeist. "I went from playing to 12,000 people to 1,200."

But the determined bon vivant left ambulance work for other adventures—like studying Japanese swordplay, hosting a radio show, and posting video monologues on everything from tattoos to pop-video semiotics to an influential sumo wrestler. At 57, he's also back with Van Halen, now a humbler band that practices year-round and refuses to promote itself. Which makes the band members' wild past stand out all the more: "We lived our lives like roughnecks," Roth says. "Roustabouts, circus carnies. I wonder if it's still a dream to live the way we lived. I wonder if I even see that in people's eyes." Click for the full article.

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Showing 3 of 7 comments
People_Suck
Apr 22, 2013 7:38 PM CDT
Eddie looks healthy in this pic. One of the all time best guitar players. DLR was lucky to hook up with this band because he has no talent without them.
OooShiny
Apr 22, 2013 7:30 AM CDT
It's a sad habit of mine to grouse cynically and disbelieve most claims of penance and contritition. Have never qualified as an actual fan of the band, though do appreciate why their music and unique sound are so woven into American rock history. DLR was simply a promiscuous baffoon, a clown, a jester. All that said, I DO believe his words of humility this time. In fact, his evolution from spoiled to spurned seems to have made him a better person, and I'd look forward to hearing his story as told by the current version of DLR.
Gonethesun
Apr 21, 2013 1:55 PM CDT
Yeah Ultraworld, that would be a great theory if true. Unfortunately for you it's not even close. Van Halen sold 36 million records in 15 years in the US with DLR ... and 16 million in 15 years with Hagar. So record sales were more than twice with DLR than with Hagar.Further, Hagar joined the band in the mid 80s. After 1991, Van Halen has only sold 6 million records.