The following David Lee Roth quotes were taken from a 1997 interview that Roth did with Frank Meyer from the now-defunct POPsmear magazine. Photographs by Robert Yager.
“This band has been at each others throats since before the beginning. Once upon a time, no even before that. And out of this conflict comes marvelous, competitive, flame throwing, hallelujah, dump truck size, Bubba’s hot barbecue, Watusi couple number two to the dance floor please. When classic Van Halen is together it’s like one person. When I say ‘I’ in this respect, I mean my whole cadre that I am part of. I’m the tear boss, and I’m a fuckin’ lifer.”
“When I was in classic Van Halen, I was in charge of propaganda. Beautiful thing, all the photos, the rumors, the stage shows, the T-shirts, and on and on.”
“I am a team player. Spiritually, critically, I am. I love the responsibility that is labeled onto me because of that, and I love to be able to depend on it, ya know. For me it’s not the Dave Roth show.”
“In America, we believe big time in publicizing the shit out of ‘we ain’t talkin’.’ First we make goddamn sure that everybody knows we ain’t saying anything.”
“There’s only one David Lee. I’m the fun in Van Halen, always will be. My belligerent enthusiasm is as optimistic as ever. I’m an optimist. When I go fishin’, I take a Nikon and a frying pan.”
“It is purely magical to be part of a dynasty. Van Halen, to many people, is equal to what Mick and Keith may be to some people. Page and Plant. Lennon and McCartney. There comes a point in your career if you make it past the requisite three to six years, which if you think about it, Beatles, six years and gone. Hendrix, six and a half, gone. And on and on. There comes a point, if you’re lucky, where you enter a pantheon of heroes where you’re known for what you’ve done, not what you’re doing now, or what you’re going to do in the future. If Beethoven were cryogenically brought back into the market place tomorrow, what would we all want to hear, ‘da-da-da-da’ (Beethoven’s 5th)! When the Three Tenors get together and they surf every wild vocal wave operatically throughout history that you could imagine and then some, what’s the encore? ‘O Solo Mio!’ Ha Ha! When you go to the Stones, what do you want to hear? Play me ‘Brown Sugar’ and I’ll go get a T-shirt. That’s Van Halen. And that is part and parcel of when what you do as an entity transcends just music.”