David Lee Roth Explains Where Van Halen’s ‘Arrogance’ Came From
He also outlined his approach to leading a concert, and revealed that he’d been getting ready for his January Las Vegas residency as long ago as last October.
“We did our 10,000 hours before we even did our first record,” Roth said about Van Halen on the latest episode of The Roth Show. “We were the result of really unsmiling, unfriendly European music teachers, and when we brought it together we brought craft. Thousands and thousands of hours of just working together as a team, and working together as individuals. And that’s where our spirit and our drive, and maybe some of our arrogance, came from.”
You can watch the episode below.
He also explained his attitude toward being the band's frontman. “I’ve been in three good car accidents as a passenger, and the first thing I said when I woke up was, ‘How are you?’" he said. "That is built into everything I do as an MC. ... I started getting myself ready – like a boxer or a ballerina or a tap dancer, and I’m kinda like a combination of all of it – I’m depending on my body completely. … I started getting that ready around my birthday last October.”
Roth repeated comments he recently made that the residency wouldn’t be a Van Halen tribute show and how he had no intention of sounding like the band used to sound live. Instead, he wants the concerts to sound like a fully produced album. “Man, that’s a high hurdle,” he admitted. “You’re gonna have to come after the show, tell me if I did it.” Noting that he decided not to give the band a name, Roth added that he did name its sound as “horses of God,” telling his colleagues, “Let’s see if you can add up to that.”
He then attempted to outline his thought process in presenting his performance, comparing it to what he called the “old British music hall” approach known as “routining.”
“You take 10 acts, 10 records, 10 songs, like a DJ, perhaps," he explained. "What order are they put in and how are they presented? Is there overlap, quick segue, do you stop and introduce? Routining. And you have to be able to work with your audience the same way that you work with a single individual. Sometimes it’s in debate, sometimes it’s conversations, sometimes you’re laughing and celebrating together.
“Frequently, in my audience, it is the victory dance. But it’s back and forth – a little but more like fucking sometimes. And at the end of the day, it’s not who you slept with, it’s who wants to sleep with you again. … Am I making any sense here? I’m trying!”
Roth also referenced the fact that the first of three shows will take place on Jan. 8, “Elvis’ birthday – let’s not let the poetry of this be lost!”