From the New York Post (By DAN AQUILANTE):
Return of Diamond Dave
Van Halen singer erupts with reunited band and first new VH album in 27 years
With David Lee Roth back on the mike, Van Halen’s legendary career has “come full circle,” the singer says. Two weeks ago, the revamped quartet broke a 27-year drought, releasing “A Different Kind of Truth,” its first album with Roth in 27 years. The group — rounded out by Van Halens Eddie (guitar), Alex (drums) and Wolfgang (bass) — arrives at Madison Square Garden for two shows on Tuesday and Thursday.
“We’re pumping thunder, man,” Roth says of the reunited crew. His enthusiasm seems genuine, which is no surprise for a guy who spent nearly three decades apart from the band that made him a star. In between stints singing for Van Halen, Roth, 57, authored two books, issued six solo albums, hosted an NYC talk-radio show and landed a job as an accredited Emergency Medical Technician here in the city.
From soundcheck in Chicago, Roth told The Post what it’s like to be hot for teacher all over again.
You and Eddie are ultimate definition of “frenemies.” What’s your take on his playing these days?
We’re doing a lot of tunes that don’t usually get out of the deck and Edward is more lucid now than any time in my memory. I’m his biggest fan. I still remember the first time I saw him playing in a backyard party in Pasadena in high school. He was great then and he’s great now. We’ve come full circle.
Why do so many women still turn up at your shows?
We’ve always paid a lot of attention to women. Do you think I’d wear yellow-anything for guys? Do you think I move anything below elbow level in honor of my bros? Come on! Every night is ladies night and that feeling is right.
How has the pop world changed since you started the band back in 1972?
These days, I see too much cheerleading and not enough stagecraft, and what I’m seeing isn’t worth cheering for. The questions I want to ask most of my colleagues are: Can you even do the whole song from beginning to end? Can you do it onstage like you did it in the studio? Do you float like a butterfly or sting like a pre-recorded bee?
So what sets Van Halen apart from the posers?
We throw a sick party, and if you get invited you gotta go. For starters, on this tour Kool and the Gang are opening our shows, and that’s full circle for us because we used to play “Hollywood Swinging” in five-sets-a-night-beer-bars. And the first three songs on our new record are thunder-funk. What we’re giving is the best of the old and the new — think of it like watching “Dragnet” on your iPad.
You once said you were part Scarecrow from “The Wizard of Oz” and part Bruce Lee. Can you explain that?
There’s a Japanese term, wabi-sabi. It refers to an object that is perfect because of its imperfections. Keith Richards is very wabi-sabi. Your favorite ripped pair of bluejeans — also very wabi-sabi. The Scarecrow singing “If I Only Had a Brain” is pure wabi-sabi. He’s all knees and elbows when he moves. It’s how I think I look on stage.
So where does Bruce Lee fit in?
Bruce Lee is about the pursuit of perfection, the discipline and devotion to hard work. He personifies the confrontational ain’t-talkin’-about-love aspects in me. It’s the art and heart of struggle in me.
You come from a family of doctors and you’ve worked as an EMT. Have you ever saved anyone off duty?
I was driving near Hollywood High in my pickup, and three cars ahead of me there was a hit and run. This kid gets mainlined by a Mercedes, and goddamn if Dust Bowl David Lee Roth in bib overalls doesn’t jump out of a pickup truck and save his life. I stayed with him until an ambulance got there. What a story this kid has. I bet he wrote home “Hollywood is a great place, you gotta come.”
What’s your best fortune-cookie wisdom?
It wasn’t in a fortune cookie, but I’d say: “Just because nobody understands you doesn’t mean you’re an artist.”