It’s been said that art is in the eye of the beholder, and everyone will have their own interpretation. Apparently, so is a painting by David Lee Roth.
Roth recently took to social media to share more of the artwork he’s been posting during the COVID-19 downtime. His “soggy bottom” series of artwork usually features things like “inebriated frogs arguing with each other during happy hour,” as Dave described them to VHND today.
This particular piece of art included quotes that, soon after, made headlines. As a result, some fans have been coming to terms with now having to call their long-time favorite frontman either David L. Roth or El Roth. Oh, the horror!
For those out of the loop on this one, here’s a brief rundown of what appears to be another colorful chapter in the very colorful book that is David Lee Roth’s life.
Roth’s recent “controversial” Tweet included a painting of a large frog being watched by a small man who appears to be holding some arrows in his left hand. That is, of course, not the controversial part. That belongs to the phrases posted along with the images including, “David ‘Lee’ Roth Changes Name!… Diamond Dave, following Lady Antebellum ‘s (now ‘Lady A ‘) example, will be dropping the ‘Lee.’ From now on, he wants us all to call him ‘David L. Roth ‘ or simply ‘El Roth..'”
For those who haven’t been keeping up on the latest “Lady A” fka “Lady Antebellum” news, the trio of Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood announced on June 11th that they will remove “Antebellum” from their band name, since it’s considered a racially charged term referring to the pre-Civil War era. In a lengthy social media post, the band explained how the past few weeks of protests had awakened the group to the insensitivity of their former name.
Soon after Roth’s social media post hit the media’s radar, some took its statements seriously alleging that Roth appeared to be referencing a connection between the “Lee” in his name to Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
Was Roth actually trying to get political with his Tweet, or was he just trying to add some levity to the situation? After all, Roth doesn’t really get political. He seems to be liberal…except when he’s not. He’s been quoted as saying, “I’m a combat hippie… peace, love and heavy weapons.” And don’t forget his classic, “I am currently running, but not for office” statement.
While some media outlets are speculating that Roth is getting political, others question his sanity and sense of humor. The website Metalsucks posted the headline “David Lee Roth Jokes About Changing His Name, May Be Getting Crazier.”
Here’s some of what Axl Rosenberg wrote in his opinion piece posted yesterday:
Folks, I think it’s safe to say that the heat has finally gotten to David Lee Roth in the worst possible way.
Roth has, as of late, been sharing paintings he himself has created on social media. Apparently, this has been his way of dealing with the sheer bug-fuck-nuts-ness that has been 2020. Okay. Fine. Fair enough.
But the paintings are, well… weird. And I don’t just mean “weird” as in “surreal” or “impressionistic.” I mean the general theme of the paintings seems to be… well…
All of the pieces have been shared under the name The Soggy Bottom or some variation thereof, and they all include “humorous” text, like Diamond Dave was making his own personal The Far Side, or something.
And what does Rosenberg think of the name change?
- David Lee Roth is David Lee Roth’s birth name.
- The name “Lee” does not have automatically have predominantly racist connotations.
- The name “Lee” in this context does not have racist connotations — for example, Roth is not, to the best of my knowledge, related to Robert E. Lee.
So what point does Diamond Dave think he’s making?”
What do we think of this?
Maybe it’s because we’ve been fans of Dave’s for so long that we knew not to take it seriously. I suppose if you’re not a long-time fan you’re gonna buy into it especially if you read the headlines.
Honestly, this is Dave being Dave. He once said, ‘If I should ever do a book of my lyrics it should come with a bong, a thesaurus, and a driver-side airbag.’ Looks like his Tweets should come with a statement: “All David Lee Roth Tweets are subject to misinterpretation. Interpretation is in the mind of the beholder. You’ve been warned.” That being said, if Dave is getting political and he does decide that he’s runnin’ for the office, he’s got our vote!
But in reality, no, David Lee Roth did not change his name. It’s a play on what’s happening with Lady A (fka Lady Antebellum), Mrs. Butterworth, Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben, etc. He’s just having fun with it and making fun of the ridiculousness of it all. It’s very tongue-in-cheek.
What does Dave think of this?
We reached out to Dave today, and we got him on the phone. Roth wants to tell the Van Halen News Desk regulars, “If you put your hand up with your palm out and say, “El Roth!” It’s got a certain ring to it! [Laughs]
“I don’t want to cause any political confusion. Let’s just go back to calling me ‘Champ!’”