The news of David Lee Roth’s recent retirement has led musicians, journalists and fans to reflect on the career of Diamond Dave. Like the man himself once sung, “Those were good times. Damn good times.”
Roth delivered the unexpected news on October 1st during an interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He said he will call it a career after performing five concerts in Las Vegas at the House of Blues beginning with New Year’s Eve. After the December 31st show, he’ll play January 1st, 5th, 7th and 8th.
“I am throwing in the shoes. I’m retiring,” Roth said. “This is the first and only official announcement. You’ve got the news. Share it with the world.”
“I know that when I am in the audience, whether you come out with a ukulele or a marching band, all I ask you give me everything you’ve got to give,” he added. “That’s what I did for the last 50 years. I’ve given you all I’ve got to give. It’s been an amazing, great run. No regrets. Nothing to say about anybody. I’ll miss you all. Stay Frosty.”
Shortly after Roth’s announcement made headlines, Wolfgang Van Halen shared his thoughts on social media.
“Thankful and proud to be a small part of your amazing journey,” Wolfgang posted to Twitter.
In Wolfgang’s post to Instagram he stated: “One hell of a run, Dave.”
Thankful and proud to be a small part of your amazing journey ?? pic.twitter.com/5xGcZ3CZ49— Wolf Van Halen ? ? ? (@WolfVanHalen) October 2, 2021
During an appearance on Metal Edge Magazine’s Another FN Podcast with Izzy Presley, author Greg Renoff (Van Halen Rising, Ted Templeman: A Platinum Producer’s Life In Music) said it’s not a total surprise to see Roth decide to retire given his many years of performing physically demanding concerts.
“My basic look at this from the little information I have, which is basically listening to Dave interviews and when I wrote the books is that I can only imagine that, after multiple orthopedic surgeries that Roth has talked about – listening to the Joe Rogan show, his biography – he just mentioned last year he had a spinal fusion. In the statement he made he talked about health concerns and real risks to his health. I can only imagine that the physical pain of trying to perform out on the road over and over again has got to be incredibly difficult,” said Renoff. “That has to be like an athlete reaching the end, like, ‘I can’t physically do it anymore. I just physically can’t do it. To think about that being the end of the Van Halen, Diamond Dave persona. His identity. I don’t mean that as like a character, I just mean – this is who he is. That has to be incredibly difficult to accept that it’s over.”
In that same podcast, musician Brynn Arens (Flipp, Zen From Mars) speculated that there could be several reasons Roth decided to retire, most notably the death of Eddie Van Halen last year.
“I do know some people that were dancers with David Lee Roth in the first Vegas era, some of the women,” said Arens. “What word came down to me was that Dave often gets depressed and really bummed out. I think David Lee Roth, like all of us, on some level or another, suffers greatly from depression. And I think this episode with Eddie, between [his death] and his age and the shifting of the musical tides has really put him in a whirlwind. It appears as though, and I’m hoping, that Alex [Van Halen] has been his landing pad.”
Since Eddie’s death, Roth has mentioned Alex’s name often during interviews, including his most recent with the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“Al and I have been talking,” said Roth. “I can’t speak for him just yet but he knows what I am about to say. We speak to each other constantly, two or three times a day. We laugh like pirates.”
Guitarist John 5 was asked to comment on Roth’s retirement during his recent appearance on The Jeremy White Podcast. He said now is the time to be thankful for the many memories Roth gave over the years.
“These are our superheroes, ya know? [But] they are human and a lot of them are starting to retire and I think that’s OK,” John said. “They’ve given us so much great music and so many amazing memories. If they wanna retire they know. I think it’s good for certain artists to say, ‘I’m gonna hang it up.’ Instead of us being upset and mad about it I just feel like, ‘Thank you for the music, the memories, and all of it.”
During a recent interview with Rolling Stone, guitarist Tom Morello shared John 5’s sentiment.
“David brought so much intense joy and peak moments of rock and roll excellence since I was a kid,” said Morello. “All I can say is ‘thank you’ and ‘I’m appreciative.’ We were so sad to lose Eddie Van Halen recently. And with Dave retiring, it’s certainly the end of an era. I have nothing to say but ‘thanks.'”
And neither do we Tom.
Thanks for the good times Dave…