“I just met David Lee Roth!!!”

Here’s a very unique story from VHND reader, Doug Lyle.

This past Sunday, Sept 5th, I was at the 145th annual Scottish Gathering & Games in Pleasanton, California.  What does this story have to do with David Lee Roth and Van Halen? Stay tuned and I’ll tell you.

For those that don’t know, the annual Scottish Gathering & Games include pipe band competitions and performances, Highland Dancing competitions, athletics (Heavy Events), Scottish food and drink, vendors of Scottish mementos, and audience members dressed in kilts and traditional clothing. I was there with my dad, wife, and my 20 month old son. We were there to see some of the Heavy Events and also to show off my son’s new kilt that my mom had made. After walking around for a while we decided to go see some of the Sheepdog trials and also take a look at the Clydesdale horses.

As I walked by the Sheepdog trial area I see four guys sitting in those little fold up chairs. The place is mostly empty because the Sheepdog trials start at 1pm but it’s only around noon. As we walk by the four guys I notice a voice.  Surprisingly, this voice sounds familiar. It’s a voice that, as soon as I heard it, instantly brought back countless great memories: Parties. High School. Girls. The best Rock ‘n’ Roll I’ve ever heard. It’s a voice that makes me smile inside when I hear it. It sounds just like the voice of David Lee Roth.

I thought, “That’s strange, one of those guys over there sounds exactly like David Lee Roth.”  But then I realized that no one sounds just like Dave! Only Dave.

So I turn and look at to see what the guy looks like. Sure enough, he looks like Dave, too. He has a dark goatee and is wearing a hat, sunglasses, cargo pants, a San Francisco Caledonian Club tee shirt, and what look like wool socks. I find this interesting because it’s ninety something degrees out. Sitting next to the chairs is a dog so I assume these guys are competing in the Sheepdog trials. This guy that looks like Dave is clearly in great shape as I can see the veins in his neck and arms. He must have like zero body fat. I usually wouldn’t remember so many details but I’m checking this guy out pretty closely to see if it really is the one and only Diamond Dave.

As we walk away I tell my wife that I think I just saw David Lee Roth. She saw him too but says there’s no way he would be here at the Scottish games, let alone a Sheep herding competition! I’m always saying how people I see look like certain celebrities and she assumes it’s just me doing that again. We walk away and move on to see the Clydesdale horses and other events. It’s killing me because I know it’s him.

A couple of hours go by and I’m still thinking about the guy that looks like Dave. We’re just about to leave and I’m thinking I can’t leave until I know for sure. Suddenly it hits me….they had a board with all the names of all the dogs and their owners. I decided to run back and take a look. I had my doubts because even if it was Dave he’d probably use an alias. As I look on the whiteboard I instantly see something down at the bottom that catches my eye…. “Dave Roth.” My heart stopped. It can’t be!

I look over and he’s still in the same chair. I go over and stand in front of the Dodge truck that they four guys are sitting next to. In my mind I’m thinking this can’t be real. I’m getting nervous because I have to do something.

While I’m standing there I can hear the guy talking with the other three guys about the dogs and their owners who are competing. “Call your Dog” he says. “You need to call your dog.” Right after he says that the person in the ring calls their dog. Wow, this guys knows his sheepdog stuff. While he’s talking I’m even more convinced that it really is DLR. I take my camera out.. maybe I’ll sneak a picture of him. I don’t want to sneak a picture….he’d probably see me anyway. I keep turning to look at him. By now he must be aware that I’m just on the other side of the truck, only 6 feet away. I’m thinking that this just can’t really be happening. If it were Dave wouldn’t he be surrounded by a ton of fans?

I’ve now lingered for a few minutes so I decide I have to find out for sure if it is him.  I turn to my left and I walk a couple steps towards the men in the chairs. I say, “Excuse me is your name Dave?” The man replies, “Yes it is.” “Holy crap!” I’m thinking!  I then ask him, “Is it David Lee Roth?” and he says, “Well, yes it is.” I couldn’t believe it! How was he not being mobbed by a thousand people? How could it be that I’m the only one that recognizes him?

I asked him a couple more questions. He asks where I’m from. I tell him I’m from Morgan Hill, about 45 minutes south of Pleasanton. I also tell him I knew it was him from his voice and he says, “Ah yes, the rusty pipes.” I tell him how I grew up listening to him and Van Halen and that it killed me living so many years with false hopes of him getting back with Van Halen. I then asked him if he was still with VH and if they were doing anything more. He gave me a knowing smile and said, “You’ll be hearing from us in the next 7-8 months”. He seemed very sincere… almost like it was a promise.

I said something about how much it meant to me that they toured a couple years ago and that Van Halen was the soundtrack to my youth. He seemed to genuinely appreciate what I was telling him and he said something like, “It’s nice of you to say that… I appreciate hearing things like that.”

I said that I didn’t want to take too much of his time but asked him if he would mind taking a picture with me.  Dave asked the guy sitting next to him to take the picture. Dave stood up and I stood next to him. I got my camera back and thanked Dave for the picture. He asked me to double check that the picture came out okay. I turned the camera back on and looked at the picture. I told Dave that it looked great although it looked like a mug shot of me. I shook his hand and thanked him and walked away.

As I walked away I was giddy. I couldn’t believe it! I just met THE David Lee Roth! And he was very nice to me. I was amazed at how good he looked. I thought he would have been a little taller though. I’m 5’11” and he looks a little shorter than me. I wanted to scream and tell everybody. How could all these people not know he was there????

I left the event with a huge smile on my face. As we drove home I could not think of anything but what had just happened. I tell my dad that DLR is the equivalent to Paul McCartney of my generation. That may be a stretch to some, but not to me. My wife tried talking to me in the car but I had to tell her that I just couldn’t focus on anything else as I was still in a blur from what had just happened.

It’s weird meeting someone as big and famous as Dave. I wanted to respect his privacy so I only talked to him for a short while. There were so many more things I could have said and asked. What was his personal favorite song? How did he get in to Sheepdog herding? I also wish I could have told him a little more about what it meant to me having VH get back together with Dave.

When I think of my past, the soundtrack playing is Van Halen. I can remember a ninth grade canoe trip that my math teacher Mr. Myers took me and three other students on. For some reason he was letting the ninth grade students drive his old beat up Buick station wagon. I vividly remember cruising down the back roads near the American River near Sacramento with Van Halen Diver Down blaring on the cassette player.  The only interruption was the occasional command to slow down from Mr. Myers. When I was in high school my best friend and I wore out his cassette of 1984. I’m very thankful that I had the luck to meet David Lee Roth.  Dave getting back with Van Halen was like a link to my past had just been reestablished.  That’s a pretty cool feeling.

I can’t help but wonder if maybe I’ll see him again next year with Van Halen on tour. Thank you, Dave!

  • http://none Dirty Duck

    Big Bad Bill:

    You’re my fuckin’ hero!

    Well said!

  • Russ

    Outstanding work. Can hardly wait for the new stuff. It has been a long summer with nothing to look foward to. Now there all kinds of possiblities.

  • Scott

    Hey Patrick.It seems you`re interested in starting the same old dave can`t sing argument. Fact is when sammy was in the band the cloud of Diamond Dave hung over him for all those years.Now that that Daves back in the band the sammy years have been wiped away.no one is really interested or cares about the hagar years.If sammy was a better songwriter with van halen why is it that the songs with dave has stood the test of time and get turned on to a new generation when van hagar has`nt ?? thats very interesing LOL

  • Snoova

    >>Fact is when sammy was in the band the cloud of Diamond Dave hung over him for all those years.Now that that Daves back in the band the sammy years have been wiped away.no one is really interested or cares about the hagar years.If sammy was a better songwriter with van halen why is it that the songs with dave has stood the test of time and get turned on to a new generation when van hagar has`nt ?? thats very interesing LOL<<

    Scott, I don't think it hung over him like a dark cloud. Van Halen did very well for the whole band – number one albums, sold out shows, blah blah blah. Maybe no diamond albums, but still very well. It was Alex that said Van Hagar was the real band and the first version was a "tester model".

    I think the people that are Sammy fans, appreciate the Roth years. While Roth fans hate all that is Van Hagar. I'm a fan of it all, Sam solo, Roth solo, VH 1, 2 and 3, whatever. In my opinion, Hagar fans are over Van Hagar. At least I am. I don't want him to go back. I would rather attend a solo Sammy/Chickenfoot show than a Van Hagar show. I would put in Red Voodoo or Ten13 or Chickenfoot quicker than I would any Van Hagar disc. I love the Van Hagar discs, but the "newest" CD is from 1995??? That's old news. Any Hagar fans agree they would NOT want Sam back or am I alone in this thought? Roth in Van Halen and Sam in Chickenfoot and life is good.

  • patrick

    id say van hagar stood up much better than solo roth.(same time frame).as far as the service comment,usually that sort of thing comes from a dave fan and i’ll leave it at that…wink wink

  • Lee

    @Diamond Dean: a little Dave solo era mix would be to great! i think the fans would eat it up! (or should I say Eat ‘Em and Smile!)

    @Big Bad Bill: classic! you’re so right!

  • steve

    They should remake an old unreleased early Van Halen song
    called “Angel Eyes”. You can find it on youtube. Great song and
    with a modern VH touch it would be an instant classic.

  • skutch

    Cool story. Dave could have walked right by me and I wouldn’t have recognized him.

  • ignatius

    hi doug,
    don’t worry about what you could or could’t tell dave. i think you made the most important question and i’m glad we all have an answer.
    a roth army soldier

  • Lounge Man

    Can’t wait for summer 2011- sunshine, girls, and some new Halen.
    That’s the good life.

  • Allen

    Van Halen should make a new t-shirt with a sheep dog on it!

  • satch

    So is David Lee Roth fired yet for leaking the info? Maybe Eddie is contacting
    Sammy Hagar as we speak to replace Dave. Michael Anthony is happy with
    whatever gig he gets so he’s going along with whatever Sammy or Ed decide.
    Gary Cherone is still confused and wondering whether he was really in Van
    Halen or not and sings More Than Words to cry himself to sleep. David Lee
    Roth already hired Slash as his new guitarist and will party hardy until Eddie
    comes back to his senses in another 10 yrs. No matter what, Dave always wins-
    no wonder he’s got that big ass grin on his face!

  • http://none Dirty Duck

    “Hide your sheep-dogs tour 2011”


  • http://none Dirty Duck


    The first love is the strongest….

    Dave was there since the “beginning”.

    Sam was not…


    Roth should bring out the sheep dogs and midgets on stage for the next
    Van Halen tour!

  • Milwaukee

    This is an awesome story. I lived in LA for 4 years and hoped i might run into him somewhere sometime. Went to the Rainbow alot, saw lots of metal guys ( Lemmy from motorhead, Blotzer from Ratt, Vince and Tommy from Crue) but never Roth or Eddie. I did know a bartender there ( jesus thats been there for years and he would see Roth every once in a great while. Turns out the place to meet Roth is at a sheepdog contest. priceless. Have to say you handled it well with how you appraoched him and keeping it short and sweet. It’s great how he genuinely seemed to appreciate your comments about him and VH. Funny thing is, i have a good story about him from my hometown in Milwaukee. i’ll elaborate later. Well done.

  • Yeolerocker

    The Ice Cream Man is coming back. Hope that comes to be. Last I heard, he was training to be an EMT. Can you imagine Diamond Dave coming to pull you from the hands of death and then you see him on stage the following week rocking his ass off?

  • http://vanhalennewsdesk Charles

    Awesome. You had the guts to “cure” your curiosity. I’ve had similar brushes of being in the presence of a celeb. But not being 99% sure, my loss. VH is my youth, having seen them twice 07 and 08 I am fulfilled. To here that there may be some news from soon is iceing on the cake. Peace to Micheal Anthony and Hagar.

  • DavesSouthernBelle

    This is a GREAT story! If you’re ever in CA, you can look for Dave all you want and NEVER find him…..because he’s probably right under your nose HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT. I saw VH in 1980, 81, twice in 82, 84, and in 2008 in New Orleans. They’re always worth every penny. Can’t wait for 2011!

  • Jack Daniels

    Viva Roth/Halen!!

  • Tim Goyer

    That’s an awesome story!! Rock On 🙂

  • Lesley

    What a totally amazing story, and so recent. You managed to convey the shock and excitement very well! Really, I would have gone up to him, but I don’t know if I would’ve been able remember my own name at that point!
    You were very perceptive to recognize him.

    I am much more of a David fan than a Van Halen fan anyway. He is one of the people that I would be delighted to meet!

    He is more than a rock star, he is very accomplished in so many areas, a very brave, interesting, special man. A true artist and much more.
    He is a real “man’s man”.

  • Lesley

    If you want to see more of Dave visit his website Davidleeroth.com and you’ll be able to see hundreds of personal photos of his past tours and his trips to exotic places. Also lots of his art of which you can make prints.

    Some of the photos are quite unexpectedly intimate and personal, including those of the last tour.

    There is a touching story from Claudio from Rio further up this site; the thing that makes these encounters so poignant, is that both of the writers are probably now in their 40’s and it still affects them as though they were back in their teens.

    I don’t believe the stars of these really big bands have any idea how much they really affect the lives of their fans, they’ve never been on the other side.

  • Tommy

    I love the Claudio Rocker story also. Amazing how kids in Rio had the opportunity
    to meet Roth at the beach as he was going out for a bike ride. Claudio’s genuine
    appreciation for the whole encounter is so vivid. Both of these stories are just
    awesome, thank you Claudio and Doug.

  • http://none Ron from Holland

    On the next tour I hope ( thinks it never gonna happen)
    they’ll play some tracks they’ve never played live like :
    Dirty Movies, Fools, Push Comes to Shove and Me Wise Magic!!

    And if it’s possible some songs we didn’t hear live for a (long) time like : You’re No Good, Take you’re Whiskey Home, Girl Gone Bad, Where Have all the Good Times gone and
    On Fire!!!
    And ofcourse all the other great stuff, ouch, this means they’ve to do 3 hours shows, well ok, and let them make a dvd from the upcoming tour with a lot of OLD bonus stuff!!
    (Donington ’84 etc)


  • Brett

    Great story! The same thing- exactly- happened to me when I met Steve Vai at the airport when I was waiting to board a plane. I was sick to my stomach as I realized we were going to be on the same plane and I approached him in exactly the same way you did.

    Thank God that VH will be coming back on tour in 2011. My friends and I can’t wait.

  • Dave

    Don’t you guys think that Dave would be a great contestant on “Dancing with the Stars”???? Before anyone asks, I watch it for the hot chicks but I’ve always thought that Dave would be a great bit of entertainment on that show and I’ll bet he could go fairly deep into the contest. I’ve sent an e-mail to ABC to suggest it… maybe if we get a campaign going?

  • Ted

    I’ve seen Michael Anthony at the Best Buy in Arcadia, CA twice. Both times
    I just told him hello and how much of a fan I am. He was very down to earth
    and friendly. Love to meet David Lee Roth some day.

  • Perry

    Roth on Dancing with the Stars would be great! Remember David Lee Roth and
    the Mambo Slammers in Las Vegas circa 1994? He danced really well for those
    shows and I bet he still has it. I read that his mom use to own a dance studio in
    Pasadena so that’s probably why he such a good dancer.

    Also, Roth could have been a good judge on American Idol! When Marc Anthony gets annoying, Roth can tell him, “You better shut up or I’m gonna F&*# your gal (J Lo)!” Nice!

  • Dave

    The good folks at “Just For Men” should hire Dave as a spokesman. The goatee looks great!

  • drop dead legs

    Whoa! Thank you Doug, for sharing that wonderful encounter – and on my birthday too!! I nearly shat myself when I saw the photo – He’s (dave)looking VERY ‘fiiiiiine’ (Australian accent please!!) I’ve heard some so-called encounters with people who did nothing but bitch that he verbally abused them or ignored them – perhaps they went at him like a bull at a gate – you get what you give out mate!!! Cant wait to see if the so-called announcement by Live Nation of a ‘2011’ VH tour will eventuate… Especially if they decide to do Asia-Pacific as well as the well-toured European – South American Routes that they did in the past – Last time they toured in Oz(stralia) was back in 1998 with Cherone as lead, DLR toured once in the late 80’s with his band. I’ve read the book(CFTH)and, from the information within, Dave has a multitude of interests other than Music and the Cult of Celebrity, (remember the Jungle Studs?? and training to be a EMT??). I recall in an interview he did while he was in Canada making an album with Bob Rock back in the 1990’s he took his dogs up to Canada with ‘Big’ Ed and rented out the entire floor of a low-rent hotel for a period of time and let the dogs loose to give em’ exercise. I sincerely hope they do tour and they release a new album (or vice-versa, whatever flies up the flagpole and works), it will be a long awaited end to the dirth of CVH material other than the original 1978-83 stuff. I’ve had a look at the ‘smoking gun’ site it has a wealth of documented info regarding the VH tour (voluminous)contract riders, including the “brown M&M’s” and the 2007-2008 tour….its an interesting read. As for meeting the man himself……Doug my friend, youre indeed a lucky bugger – I’d give both my kidneys to meet him!!! (as ‘just Dave’ I dont know if could handle full blast ‘Diamond Dave’ right before my naked steaming eyes!! -lol)
    Faroc….BTW Dave turned 56 today –

    Just a quick question…..I noticed that since the Roth-Hagar Tour (or the Hagar-Roth tour) there appears to be a total back-flip of how Dave puts himself across….is it just me or has Dave almost become ‘humble’ and ‘thankful’ at one point even emotional. I watched the YouTube grabs of the 2007/08 tour and his rapping to the audiences, he doesnt seem to have that ‘how ya doin’ tonight mother-fuckers?!?’ going on – its more like he’s talking to old (and new) friends one-on-one, rather than the full-bore JD soaked patter that built his rep as ‘the toastmaster general of the immoral majority’…has anyone else noticed that??? (no abuse please!!!) 🙂

  • drop dead legs

    Before I forget, as a coda, there is one thing on my ‘bucket list’ that is non-negotiable……..meeting the real Dave Roth – no question!!!

  • DavesSouthernBelle

    Happy Birthday Dave. Like fine wine, you’re getting better with age!

  • http://www.myspace.com/rickybyrum Ricky Byrum

    That’s a superb story and pic! Too Kewl…

    Thanks for posting.

    peace to you and yours

    Ricky Byrum

  • Jayden

    While this is a nice story, don’t let the truth get in the way of a good story. I wouldn’t recognize my own brother’s voice at an outdoor festival while with my wife, kid and father in tow.
    I love Roxy Music, but I wouldn’t recognize Bryan Ferry’s voice in a crowd. Or Robert Plant’s for that matter.
    It’s just not possible to randomly walk past someone you’ve NEVER met and recognized their voice. Even if you were a friend of Roth’s it’s unlikely.
    This is a professionally written account probably orchestrated by Roth’s managment, or the man himself; expert at self promotion that he is.
    Just look at the comments section on most postings on YouTube to see the caliber of writing from the average fan, complete with miss-spelled profanity.
    While I am a fan, I believe this was a clever way of releasing information in a unique way.

  • Jean-Pierre

    I met the band in 1979 after a concert in Paris, I found the door by chance behind the building hall concert where the roadies were carrying the amplifiers into the trucks, right away I decided acting like a roadie with the friend I was with and just walked with self-confidence in a long corridor to the band I loved so much. We asked some signatures and shaked hands, I could get the signature of Eddie and Michael on a post-card I got in Texas the summer before and the one of David on the flier of the first part band ”Lucifer’s friends”. I was wearing a t-shirt with Eric Clapton transfer, I remember Eddie saw my t-shirt and said he likes Eric Clapton, I couldn’t get Alex signature because he was walking away with his broken leg going to one door and disapeared, I saw David saying good bye and going away with two girls, just near there was a long table with a lot of Champagne bottles I guess, then last look at their faces, so shy we were and the security guys understanding and friendly asked us to leave . . . Next springtime I was arrested by the police to have launched some stones on trains in north Paris suburb with the same friend I went to this concert, I was wearing a base ball t-shirt white and red bought in Texas, and some special original leather shoes bought in Mexico, I had very long hairs like my ”Idols”, I was seventeen, this friend my best friend has been killed in 1996 during a robbery in his jewelry, I remember when I was going to his home sometimes he put some hard rock music because he knew I liked that and he wanted to give me a sign I guess. Now I live in China Shanghai , I’m trying to record something about the music I imagined, I am 47 I start beeing a model and actor two years ago even at my age and I like that but this music is the most important thing in my life and I know that I’ve been influenced by Van Halen music for ”the short tragics sounds chords” sometimes that I could hear in differents songs. An other thing : I must perform ”father Christmass” a little bit crazy not traditional we gonna do on 24th this month , I will think about Crazy Diamond Dave to help me ha ha !!!

  • Stephen

    Great story.

    It’s always nice hearing about celebs who are nice and accommodating to their fans, who of course made them rich and famous. It doesn’t hurt when fans such as yourself are respectful and don’t overstep the boundaries.

    I would love to have a pic like that!

    This just shows Diamond Dave is a class act, and he won some points in my book for this random fan interaction.

  • Rocking Ron

    7-8 Months!!?? C’mon Dave give us a ‘break’!!

  • Jarrett

    Loved your article. You were in the right place at the right time and rarely in life does that ever happen. I must be your age, because I have similar memories and was so thrilled a few years ago when VH toured w/ Dave. I actually became friends with his stage manager and got to go to about 4 shows that year. It was amazing. He is definitely one of the best front man of any rock and roll band, up there with Mick Jagger in my books!!!

  • Mr. Mike

    What a great story !! ‘Ah yes, the rusty pipes’…Can’t you just hear Dave saying exactly that?! Seems like such a cool guy to hang with. Always irritated me to hear that Sammy slams Dave for not being real, and always being ‘on’ in interviews…well, maybe so, but I think this proves that the real Dave is a helluva nice guy. Awesome read.