David Lee Roth, Billy Joel, and the members of Aerosmith held a press conference at 11am today in Australia. The musical giants are headlining the inaugural Stone Music Festival at ANZ Stadium in Sydney this weekend, the first time they have ever shared a bill. Here’s three articles which feature highlights from the press conference, and two videos of the conference.
The Headliners Discuss Each Other
Aerosmith, Billy Joel and Van Halen have arrived in Sydney for this weekend’s Stone Festival at ANZ Stadium.
Here are some highlights from Thursday’s press conference:
Aerosmith, Van Halen and Billy Joel on each other.
Steven Tyler (Aerosmith):
“We loved Van Halen in the beginning but they got so big so fast that we offset each other on tour and we never saw them.
“We’ve been following them ever since and I’m always honoured to see them backstage. Every time I look into their eyes I see a camaraderie that knocks me over so I love those guys.
“Billy is my idol because he’s been around forever and every time I turn on the radio I hear him. I’m an old fan of people who write their own music.”
Dave Lee Roth (Van Halen):
“I always refer to what Billy Joel’s doing on stage with his musical dynamic and his arrangements in terms of ‘look how many folks he’s worked with, listen to the loud and soft, listen to the fast and slow’.
“I went to school at the college of musical knowledge, the Aerosmith. We were reflecting that although we didn’t serve together we’ve all been trained in the same road work, the same hotel mill, the same cutting of the various record companies and management agencies.
“Even though we haven’t played together we certainly got educated by the same good guys and bad guys. I see me reflected in their eyes.”
“I tried to do the thing in Jump but I split my pants. I couldn’t do the move.
“The guys in Aerosmith we’ve been friends together because we’re all from the same neck of the woods, from Boston and New York, and I’ve met them many times so we’re good, good friends.”
Rock’s cheeky guy David Lee Roth still has that twinkle in his eye
It has been 25 years since David Lee Roth toured with Van Halen on Australian shores.
Yesterday the man once famed for his endless sexual conquests and six-pack torso seemed to pick up right where he left off as he fronted the media prior to the start of tomorrow’s Stone Music Festival at ANZ Stadium.
With a short, sleek crop replacing his flowing blonde locks and a three-piece suit in place of the spray-on leather, Lee Roth proved that, while his looks have changed and his body may have wearied, age hasn’t dulled the twinkle in his eye.
“I slept with every pretty little thing who could put two legs in her pants – and who says those days are over?” the 57-year-old rocker cracked when quizzed on his famed sexual legacy.
Once reported to have insured his penis prior to a world tour (“True” he says), Lee Roth was also happy to clear up another famous rumour which circulated around the band during their pinnacle years through the 1970s and 1980s.
Legend has it that Roth instituted an “incentive program” of sorts amongst his road crew, who were given backstage passes to dole out to the ladies of their choice.
The roadie who gave out the pass pinned to the tube top on the floor of “Diamond Dave’s” hotel-room floor was given $100 and a commendation at the next pre-show dinner.
“Of course, that one is famous. It was my incentive program and it worked extremely well. It worked too well actually,” he said.
“It’s funny, I thought that ultimately the crew would start to work against each other – you know – start competing with each other. But in fact they started to work together.
“So if one of the lighting guys was the one who handed out the winning pass then he would divide up the spoils with the rest of the lighting guys.
“I inspired socialism.”
Ross Purdie, National Entertainment Writer, AAP
David Lee Roth Rules Battle of Bands
As press conferences go, a gathering of the members of Aerosmith, Billy Joel and Van Halen was always going to be a surreal affair.
The musical giants are headlining the inaugural Stone Festival at ANZ Stadium in Sydney this weekend, the first time they have ever shared a bill.
“I think we’ve been on the same radio stations for the last how many decades,” said Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth.
“Now we finally get to play together.”
And so began the bizarre and hilarious exchange between three of American’s biggest selling musical acts in the apt setting of the Hard Rock Cafe.
As expected, the singer known as “Diamond Dave” did most of the talking, but answered few questions, mulling in riddles over the prospect of new Van Halen material.
Referring to the band as “delinquents with an alcoholic coach”, Roth described the challenges of motivating his band mates, who were conspicuous in their absence and arrived in Sydney on a separate flight.
“Getting the Van Halen band to turn around is like moving an aircraft carrier. You can’t do it in two minutes, you can’t even do it in two hours. It takes twenty summers plus,” Roth said in reference to the band’s 24-year absence from Australia.
Decked out in a purple suit and sunglasses, the enigmatic frontman showed his love for the microphone by turning interviewer, quizzing Billy Joel on his rumoured retirement plans.
“To do this show will be like dipping my toe back in the water,” Joel answered frankly.
“If I suck I’m not going to do it any more.”
Joel sounded more concerned with supporting the next generation of musicians and talked briefly about his work mentoring college students in the US.
He revealed his disdain for concert promoters who sell front rows at premium rates, and described a time he told his road crew to move fans from the back, resulting in a view packed with “great looking women”.
“Believe me, it doesn’t hurt the show,” he deadpanned.
While that story raised some laughs, the real comedy moment came when Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler was asked about the health of his long mane. Joel, perfectly timed, lifted his baseball cap to reveal a distinct lack of hair.
For much of the exchange, Tyler was raising his eyebrows and smirking at Roth’s monologues. He brushed off the customary questions about groupies and drugs, and hinted at Roth’s rumoured substance use.
“I should have had some of the `coffee’ David had this morning,” he quipped.
Roth, for his part, did answer the question on groupies – “At my age sleeping with someone half my age is no longer a felony, let’s get that out of the way,” he said – bringing proceedings to a natural close.
Stone Festival takes place at ANZ Stadium, Sydney, on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are still available.