Style Icon: David Lee Roth

Here’s something different–a Van Halen article written by a female. Liz Barker says, “‘Van Halen with David’ is the most magical and powerful and soul-changing sour-heart antidote I’ve ever known in all my awesome life.”


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(L: David Lee Roth, the year I was born. R: The David Lee Roth photo I identify with most.)

Do you want to know why I’m writing this? Why I started posting photos of David Lee Roth every Wednesday on, why I bought five Van Halen albums in one Saturday sometime last month, why I’m wearing a Van Halen shirt right now and why I was wearing another Van Halen shirt yesterday? Why I own two Van Halen shirts and listen to Van Halen, like, all the goddamn time nowadays? Do you wanna know?

It’s because of a dude, this dude I dated. He loved Van Halen. “Van Halen with David,” he qualified, on our second date. Who the hell calls David Lee Roth “David”? You call him “Dave,” or “Diamond Dave,” or you call him by his full name. But not this dude, apparently. I thought he was a good dude but turns out he’s kind of a sleazebag, with a real sour heart. I felt so duped! So I moped for five days, or maybe just five hours. “Motherfucker, you will not take ‘Jump’ away from me” is something I wrote in my notebook, cuz I’m so stupid-dramatical sometimes. And also because I mean it: I’ve loved “Jump” since I was six-years-old, and I’ll be a monkey’s uncle if I’m gonna let some sourhearted sleazebag ruin it for me.

So with no real recourse for revenge, I decided all there was to do was steal the dude’s favorite band, love them harder and hotter than he ever could. Evil, right? Almost as rotten as blowing up his hot car, but without the mess and the threat of jail time. I bought all the records, excepting the one I already owned, told myself I’d listen till I loved them all to death.

And then I loved them right away. Which not only cured me of sourhearted-sleazebag disease but also made me better at life than ever before – God, I’m so good at therapy! I should totally think about a career in positive psychology. Or maybe game-show hosting?

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10. “And The Cradle Will Rock…”
9. “Secrets”
8. “Hot For Teacher”
7. “Everybody Wants Some!!”
6. “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love”
5. “Little Guitars”
4. “Unchained”
3. “I’m the One”
2. “Panama”
1. “Jump”

And the kiss noise at the end of “Beautiful Girls.” I’m into hits.

Sometimes in bars I like to ask boys, “Hey, do you like Van Halen? Do you love Van Halen? What’s your favorite Van Halen song?” Last month I asked my friend Ian that, and he told me: “I always loved ‘Jump,’ mostly because of the jumping in the video.”

I like the jumping in the video too. But what I love most about “Jump” is when Dave sings “Can’t you see me standing here, I got my back against the record machine…” That’s the most I ever relate to David Lee Roth, apart from that photo of him up there, the one where he’s hiding behind his big ol’ mess of fake-blonde hair.


I wanted to write this entry while eating a cheeseburger. There’s this story in Crazy from the Heat about how when Dave was recording the vocals for “Jamie’s Cryin'” he made sure not to smoke any cigarettes and to eat a good breakfast the morning before. But when he sang it sounded all wrong, so the producer told Dave to go smoke a joint and eat a cheeseburger – which he did! And then he “knocked out ‘Jamie’s Cryin” in forty minutes.” And now “Jamie’s Cryin'” is my 14th or 15th favorite Van Halen song.

But: I’m not eating a cheeseburger. I’m drinking tea, Zhena’s Gypsy Tea Gypsy Rose, with soymilk and raw honey. I’m drinking rose petal tea and listening to “I’m the One” by Van Halen, and maybe that’s all you ever need to know about me.

My rose petal tea smells so good; it smells like rose petals and tea. Van Halen doesn’t smell anything like that; they smell like cheap cologne and spilled gasoline and skunked beer and cheeseburger grease. But they’re a prettier color than my tea; they’re hot-pink fireworks or the color my bathroom sink’s stained right now cuz I’m using Lush’s It’s a Date bubble bar for hand soap.



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I wish I had David Lee Roth’s metabolism. I’d be so be eating that cheeseburger right now, if I had David Lee Roth’s metabolism.

Other Diamond Dave properties I deeply covet:

He’s got joie de vivre. “Razzle dazzle.” He loves hot babes, hot cars, hot guitars; he’s hot hot hot! Dave loves ice cream, and ice cream cones. Dave drinks Jack right from the bottle, then goes rollerskating down the Venice Beach Boardwalk. Dave tested all Van Halen’s songs for danceability, by dancing to them. He’s wild, man, but he’s not outta control; he’s a got a real good brain – you know the truth about the brown M&Ms, right? It’s not because Dave’s crazy!

(Actually, we’ve got a lot in common, Dave and I, now that I’ve reviewed that paragraph. I also suspect we have a very similar hair texture.)

Nowadays I get my kicks seeking out boys with a little Diamond Dave in them, like this weirdo mohawked man I met at the milk-and-sugar embankment of the laundromat Starbucks a few weeks back. “What is it about humans that we just love being AWAKE?????!!!!!!!” he asked, wide-eyed, totally serious, craziest smile. “I don’t know, man!!!!!!!!!!” I said, trying to match his exuberance. He was wearing sweatpants and a sleeveless vest. Maybe it was this vest. There was a little boy with him; he must have been about five. “Do you eat FIVE CUPS OF COFFEE A DAY??????!!!!!!!!” the little boy asked my Dave Surrogate. The boy was a big weirdo too. The two of them, bonkers! I loved them so much.

In general I’m really into people who make me want to match their exuberance. The thing about me is I’m so exuberant in my own mind, but I dampen it down for most of the planet, with the exception of:

-all my buddies under the age of eight
-dudes I’m in love with and that’s just ’cause I can’t help myself
-some of my friends, some of the time
-Dave Surrogates!

I wish that last category were a more populous group. I wish Los Angeles/the Earth were just crawling with dudes who make me want to speak every sentence with ten thousand exclamation points, dance all the damn time, see everything like there’s pink fireworks going off in my eyes.

I mean, it would probably ruin the world if every dude were just like David Lee Roth. But in the funnest way possible.


  • freddiegirl

    Just for fun, my top 10 favs in no particular order..
    1. I’m the One
    2. Atomic Punk
    3. DOA
    4. Women in Love
    5. Mean Street
    6. Dirty Movies
    7. Secrets
    8. Little Guitars
    9. Girl Gone Bad
    10. ALL OF WACF!

  • temple5150

    Praying very loudly and constantly for a new album…SOOOOON!

  • Jeremy

    my top 10 Van Halen songs with David Lee Roth 🙂
    1.) Jump
    2.) Panama
    3.) I’m the one
    4.) Little Guitars
    5.) I’ll Wait
    6.) Romeo Delight
    7.) Hot for Teacher
    8.) Mean Street
    9.) Hang ’em High
    10.) Top Jimmy

  • Mark the Jeweler

    While that was a little interesting, I’m feeling like this is all the “opening band” waiting for the real thing…SOME REAL NEWS!

    Waiting for that anticipation before the lights go down, the lighters light up, and the roar of the crowd just goes bonkers…That’s my world.

  • temple5150

    My top 10 Van Halen songs with DLR
    1.) Light Up the Sky
    2.) Panama
    3.) Romeo Delight
    4.) Little Guitars
    5.) I’ll Wait
    6.) Mean Street
    7.) Everybody Want’s Some
    8.) Jump
    9.) Jamie’s Cryin’
    10.) Atomic Punk

  • 51504VH

    cool to see “I’ll Wait” on some peoples top 10 list…I have always liked that song, drum beat was great and it was Dave’s only serious sounding song.

    I just can’t pick a favorite top 10 from the first 6 albums, for the last 30 years I have just gone threw phases as far as favorites go. I can listen to everyone of those albums from beginning to end and feel every magical note and of course Dave’s voice and lyrics has a way of making me feel like the only thing to worry about is absolutely nothing because life is just one big party (Live life like there’s no tomorrow).

    Thanks Van Halen, no one has ever givin me anything that has made me happy for (30 years)…those first six albums were magical.

  • 5150

    @ Carnal Knowledge

    Aah, excellent experience! I will respect that song from now on! Great story!

  • Dooley

    My VH Dave era list:

    1 Little Dreamer
    2 Ain’t Talkin Bout Love
    3 Secrets
    4 Mean Street
    5 Panama
    6 Drop Dead Legs
    7 Little Guitars
    8 Where Have All the Good Times Gone!
    9 Runnin With the Devil
    10 Unchained

    And Liz Barker strikes me as a real cool rock n roll stoner chick. Hail to her rock n rollin backbone…it ain’t love but it ain’t bad.

  • littledreamer

    Jump is not on my top 10 BUT whenever I hear it, I have that goofy $700 video playing in my head. And that gets me laughing.

  • Carnal Knowledge



    I’m The One
    Light Up the Sky
    Romeo Delight
    Mean Street
    Girl Gone Bad
    Good Enough
    Finish What Ya Started
    Judgement Day
    Dirty Water Dog

    Can’t Get This Stuff No More
    Up for Breakfast

    (if we’re counting those GH albums)

  • Wilkster5150

    LOL! Too awesome that someone MIGHT like WACF as much as me.

  • Brennard

    Dude, I want to freakin meet you!!!!!!! You sound like the girl of my dreams. Someone that would appreciate what I am on the inside: Dave!!!!

  • 5150

    Awesome list Carnal Knowledge!

    I can see you have the entire VH discography! You are a true VH fan! I would replace some songs. I like Drop Dead Legs and Little Guitars. Also, Humans Being was a good jam! And for VH 3, “I think I like, I like what I see”

  • Carnal Knowledge

    5150: Yep. I own all their studio albums, Right Here Right Now, Live W/Out a Net, both GHits albums, (Bootlegs): 1976 Goldenwest Ballroom show, 1978 in Oakland, 1979 Fresno show, Uraguay 1983, Tokyo 1989, Holland ’95, VHIII tour, Zero Demo, and tons of the “unreleased” demos n such, The Wild Life soundtrack, and Eddie’s two Porno Instrumentals.

    286 songs altogether.

    The first 4 bootlegs on that list are, literally, mindblowing. Except at the end, Dave gets pretty hammered….and we all know where that leads!

  • freddiegirl

    Wilkster5150..I can never choose fav songs from WACF cuz I love them all! Take Your Whiskey Home (which might be the coolest VH song ever…), In a Simple Rhyme, Fools, Loss of Control; all of it!

  • Wilkster5150

    Instead of doin Ice Cream Man for his “solo” spot, I’d love to see Dave and the boys rip into Whiskey. Even though Ed played the intro on the album I think Dave could do a decent enough job and I’m sure he could come up with a helluva story to get the crowd laughin during his “solo.”
    Really, they need to just do the whole album live start to finish!

  • Wilkster5150

    @Carnal Knowledge
    How bout Ed’s best solos off each studio album, excluding his instrumentals, of course.
    Atomic Punk
    Somebody Get Me A Doctor
    Romeo Delight
    Hear About It Later
    Where Have All The Good Times Gone
    Drop Dead Legs
    Cabo Wabo
    Pleasure Dome
    Year To The Day

  • Carnal Knowledge

    Wilkster5150: Cheers for the “Pleasure Dome” reference. His solo is exquisite on that song.

  • http://wippies mikko

    my fav Van Halen songs:
    Push comes to shove
    Drop dead legs
    Romeo delight
    Ain`t talkin`bout love
    Mean street
    Dance the night away
    Little guitars
    Everybody wants some!!!
    Suomi rakastaa Van Halenia. Translation: Finland loves Van Halen!