Mention the smell of fresh sawdust on the floor and David Lee Roth is immediately taken back to his earliest memories of performing with his longtime bandmate Eddie Van Halen.
“I actually walked past the door of a local drinking establishment and smelled the sawdust and like Proust with a lemon cookie, it triggered volumes of memory,” Roth recently told Variety.
It’s a memory the legendary Van Halen frontman turned into lyrics on his latest single “Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bar & Grill”, which he dedicated to Eddie Van Halen:
“Down at the local canteen
You know the smell of fresh sawdust
When they first throw it on the floor
You hear a rockin’ little rhythm
From inside the rhythm kitchen
As you’re walkin’ past the canteen door
120 degrees, the good times spreading like humanity
And here’s what I found out
This one belongs in the book or it oughta be
We’ll do a shot as we sail out”
“There are two kinds of burials in show business,” said Roth. “One’s very quiet, behind the scenes, nobody attends. And then there’s a ‘show biz’ approach, where you have a solemn ceremony and it’s followed by a reception where everybody gets up and tells stories. They can be off-color, they can be tear-jerkers, they can be of any nature. When my dad passed, the reception was at a Mexican restaurant around the corner. Everybody was eating and drinking and then the speeches become more colorful and much more energetic. Sometimes that’s the most heartfelt, heartbreaking, best material ever.”
He continued, “And so I thought, if that occurred for Ed — which it did not — and everybody was going to get up and tell a story, when it got to my turn I would start with, ‘The smell of fresh sawdust on the floor…’ And go from there. That’s the beginning of the story, at least for me. Because that was everywhere we played — the smell of fresh sawdust on the floor.”
David Lee Roth: “Somewhere Over The Rainbow Bar & Grill”:
Since its late October release “Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bar and Grill” has garnered positive reviews from both critics and fans with the video on YouTube compiling close to a half million views.
“For somebody in my position, at this point in my career, that’s a knockout over the park,” said Roth.
Roth acknowledged that although his new material has been well-received it will likely always place second to the music he created with Van Halen. “I won the Super Bowl seven times over with the Four Horsemen — ain’t nothin’ going to knock that mountain down.”
Read the rest of Roth’s interview with Variety HERE.