How Not To Meet David Lee Roth by Ray Zell

How To Not Meet David Lee Roth


David Lee Roth. Showman supreme. Superman gets all of his ideas reading David Lee Roth comic-books. Ultimate hero of mine. Never met the bloke. Unbelievably, on purpose too…

It was around the time of his second solo album ’Skyscraper’, an album which I gave a lukewarm review of for Kerrang! I mean, it had its moments, like ‘Just Like Paradise’ and ‘Hot Dog And A Shake’. But, overall, for me, ‘Skyscraper’ barely left the first floor – more of a bungalow. (see below for review)

Wembley – Just Like Paradise (sort of)

Then, there was the gig at Wembley Arena. People were goin’ crazy – from both the heat and the extravaganza of it all. Diamond Dave bopping around a boxing ring in the middle of the Arena. Dave flying over our heads on a giant surfboard. Me, I just didn’t get it. It’s a paradox, especially me bein’ an Alice Cooper fan – but I just don’t like props or gimmicks. I like a band on a stage. Kiss is the only act that pulls off ‘gimmicks’, cos, behind it all, at the end of the day, when push comes to shove – Kiss is still simply ‘a band on a stage’. Which brings us back to Dave. Forget stupid boxing rings and surfboards; the only ‘prop’ I expect from him is that bottle of Jack sittin’ nicely on the drum riser.

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But, trust me, as us privileged (make that ‘spoilt’) press bods head eagerly for the after-show party, everyone is raving about how fab the gig was. Then, at the after-show, there’s that buzz – will ‘he’ turn up? I’ve been to many an after-show where the band is a no-show. (HA! I got a great and strangely sweet Alice Cooper story on this very subject that I will doubtless share with you at some point).

After Show Party with David Lee Roth

Anyway, on this particular occasion, Dave does grace us with his presence. That Cheshire Cat smile entering the room five minutes before he does. I hang back and watch him ‘work the room’. It’s fascinating. He has this technique; he walks up to someone, asks their name, and chats to them with absolute focus for about 45 seconds. At this point, his eyes slightly dance left an’ right, probing for his next ‘target’. He then politely winds up the brief but friendly encounter and moves on to his next pre-selected destination.

Me, I’m not too good at bullshit and often upset people with my brutal honesty. I decide I can neither muster a “Great show, Dave” greeting or a polite response to a “Did you enjoy the show, Ray?” rhetoric.

So, while Dave, bless ‘im, is literally out to give each and every person there a slice of his time and charisma, I’m strategically staying out of his side-glance. A couple of steps forward, a couple of steps back. Eyes on Dave like a hawk. Batman would kill for this level of stealth. And, I can honestly say, I was the only person at that after-show party that did not meet David Lee Roth. Pretty impressive, eh?

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“Experimental is a poor substitute for recklessness”

Amazing what you can dig up these days when you do a little digging… so here is Kerrang review in question

Listen to Skyscraper on Spotify

Bonus Youtube clip

Usually, we’d post a Dave Lee Roth clip here, complete with bikini-clad girls and gallons of Jack Daniels. That would be usually, but because absolutely nothing is “usual” about David Lee Roth, we thought we’d go with Henry Rollins talking about his love of DLR and Van Halen.

Oh Go On Then – bonus Youtube clip 2

Oh go on then, so here’s a bit of Diamond Dave doing his thang with those Van Halen boys.

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