Is David Lee Roth’s New Song a Farewell to Van Halen? Here’s The Answer!


UPDATE EXCLUSIVE UPDATE #2: David had a change of tune. Check out this: David Lee Roth: ‘On second thought…’

UPDATE EXCLUSIVE UPDATE #1: We at VHND just received an exclusive update from David Lee Roth, after reaching out to his management about the meaning of this song. They tell us, “It’s poetry. It has nothing to do with Van Halen.” So there you go, rock fans!

Our original article:

David Lee Roth’s new and somewhat haunting song, “Ain’t No Christmas” (from the latest episode of The Roth Show) has some fans wondering if the lyrics are a sort of farewell to Van Halen. Listen to the tune and read the lyrics below. Are the lyrics actually about his relationship with Edward Van Halen, or instead, about some lost love, or about time slipping away as you get older, or yet something else? It’s hard to say, but — as some fans try to see a deeper meaning in almost everything that happens in Van Halen land — the song has got some fans wondering.

In any case, it’s yet another set of incredibly interesting lyrics from David Lee Roth. Are they simply just that – or do they portend to his current situation in Van Halen? Interesting food for thought. In any case, that’s the sign of truly great lyrics  – they lead to different interpretations, and could mean different things to different people.

“Ain’t No Christmas”  (lyrics transcribed by DRFC at VHLinks)
David Lee Roth

Sure looked good on paper, once upon a lie.
Happily never after, and I’m not OK to drive.
You and me both, speaking the language of dreams.
Now it’s dark glasses on a sleepless night, ain’t no Christmas for me.

Let’s put the pin back in this one, and say we both survived.
Last blank space on the map, I think we’ve arrived.
Headway or getaway, makes no difference to me.
This side or the other, ain’t no Christmas for me.

Shakespeare’s heroes all drink ale, his villains all drink beer.
I had to drink something bitter, or I wouldn’t be here.
Have a pitcher full of pity, a shot of possibility,
Tall cool glass of nothing else, make no difference to me.
Dark glasses on a sleepless night, ain’t no Christmas for me.

[spoken] Here’s where the narrative changes.

Only hurts when I’m awake, that you can believe.
Yeah, I’d do it all again, just not for free.
If love’s a collect call, why-why’s it always for me?
Quittin’ while you’re ahead ain’t quittin’, and I’m quittin’.

Locals-only naked city, and the visit ain’t free.
Was the pear on the ground, not the apple in the tree?
Give me a pitcher full of pity, and a shot of possibility.
This side or the other, ain’t no Christmas for me.
No Christmas, ain’t gonna be no Christmas
Ain’t no Christmas for me.
Ain’t no Christmas for me.
Not this year.

Greg Renoff, author of Van Halen Rising, wrote this in his newsletter today:

Last week, David Lee Roth released a new episode of his web series, The Roth Show, over at his new website. As usual, it featured Roth’s unique brand of stream-of-consciousness commentary.

But Roth also offered up some new songs, including this somber acoustic number, “Ain’t No Christmas.” I’d urge you to take a couple minutes to listen to it, because my take is that the lyrics provide a commentary on Roth’s recent months with Van Halen and perhaps a window into the future of Van Halen.

Roth’s vocal performance here is mournful and somber. His lyrics express feelings of bitterness and regret. This song really affected me, and it’s stuck with me long after I listened for the first time.

What does everyone think? Is Roth singing about a lost love? Or is he speaking about Edward?

Anyway, the mystery is solved. Big thanks to David Lee Roth for clearing this up for us today!