Twenty years ago, when Ramses Rios sat down to play the video game Grand Theft Auto, he was a fourth grader raised on classical music. Rock and Roll music wasn’t even on his radar. Then he heard David Lee Roth’s music for the first time.
“I became a fan when I heard ‘Yankee Rose’ for the very first time while playing a video game in 4th grade back in 2002,” said Rios. “Primarily raised to play and listen to classical music, hearing a song of that caliber and that level of pure rock was like a nuke going off in my head as a kid. It was a total game changer for me, and the start of it all.”
Like David Lee setting out on a new jungle adventure, Ramses was on a quest to hear everything “The Diamond One” recorded – from the ’78 Van Halen debut right through to his latest solo release. Inspired by Roth’s passion for the visual arts, Ramses decided to use his own creative skills to pay homage to his rock and roll idol.
The result is his David Lee Roth tribute channel “The Mojo Dojo”. He launched it via YouTube in January of 2018. Since then, he’s created just under 45 videos including his own animations and videos created using classic DLR footage.
Before we take a look at some of the highlights from Ramses’ work, let’s get to know a little more about his love of all things DLR…
1. How many times have you seen Dave live (solo and with VH) and do you have a favorite show?
Since I’m a 90s kid I missed out and had some catching up to do, but I’ve managed to catch DLR Twice with VH – 2007 and 2015 (Dallas); then 3 times in Las Vegas (Jan. 2020). All were my faves!
2. Have you ever had the chance to meet Dave?
I have! I was blessed with the opportunity in 2020 to meet Dave in Vegas to give him a custom replica model I made of his ’51 Mercury. To be able to meet my hero, a hero to many, and give him something I made for him is simply a moment I’ll forever cherish for the rest of my life. It was an honor!
3. When did the idea of creating the Mojo Dojo YouTube channel begin and what inspired it?
I created the channel as a way to express my fandom, gratitude, and respect that many of us share towards Dave. To me, “DLR” is more than a persona, more than legendary – DLR is a lifestyle man. I’m just doing a small part as a fan to keep that flame burning and put smiles on people’s faces, “Here have one free, it looks good on ya. Have another, wear it for breakfast.”
4. How long does it take to create a video?
It really depends. Animations take the longest and that’s what I’ve been doing more of since animating “Lo-Rez Sunset” for Dave, but if it’s like a prop build or something from one of the music videos, maybe a day or so. I only get a chance to do this outside of my normal work, but I enjoy it more than anything.
5. Watching your videos, It’s clear you are a die-hard fan. You include images of Dave from all eras of his career from late 70s right up until today. Is there a particular era of Dave you prefer most in terms of his music, look and stage presentation?
I’m a die-hard fan of all the eras! From the VH days to the solo album days. But if it has to be one that is very dear to me, it’s got to be the Eat ‘Em and Smile era since that started it all for me.
6. You’ve created a total of 44 videos. Is there one that is your personal favorite and why?
It’s very hard to choose since I put a ton of effort in all of them that I make and always try to set the bar higher in quality, but I would have to say my favorite is the one simply titled “Dave”. It’s essentially an homage to DLR.
7. Can you share with us any ideas for upcoming DLR videos?
Sure! There will likely be some more animations combined with DLR stories alongside them, some more replica builds, and potentially some music covers. A little of everything here and there. In true fashion – like Dave TV!
8. Dave has been great to the Van Halen News Desk over the years. There’s a chance he may be reading this article at this very moment. Is there anything you’d like to say to him?
“Eat ‘Em and Smile and Stay Frosty!”
The Replica DLR ’51 Mercury
Photos courtesy of Ramses Rios
Below are just some of the videos created by Ramses, including his most recent creation “Mirror Ball”. Ramses also offered up his comments on each.
Gimme A Bottle Of Anything: This was the start of this channel. A small idea that I created in my room using a few recognizeable props.
Amazon Echo: David Lee Roth Special Edition: Alexa? Nah we don’t need her, We want Dave! ‘Cuz who wouldn’t want Dave giving you advice through the Amazon Echo?
Dave TV: A video where I recreated the Dave TV logo and added Dave’s voice to mimic a type of radio broadcast.
Jack Daniels Advertisement: JD owes David a mink coat. Woke up one morning with a double bass voice after I came down with something and I thought, “Hey! I kinda sound like low voice Dave!, Let’s make a video!”
Red Bull and Pop Tarts: Notice the outfit? Used Dave’s song along with some footage to make a small little music video.
INK the Original and a Glazed Donut: Brought back a familiar face to grab himself some INK the original… pays with a glazed donut, of course.
“SKYSCRAPER” Custom Acrylic Art: A custom acrylic art piece I made of the skyscraper album.
“Lo-Rez Sunset”: This was made on an iPhone. Yeah, you read that right. Was a concept to what ultimately became as the “Lo-Rez” sunset video.
“Volkswagen”/”No Big Thing”/”Samurai Roth”/”Blacksmith”: Short animations inspired by Dave’s Soggy Bottom illustrations.
“Bad Bunny”: The guy in the bunny suit knows best. Fear the bunny.
“Dave”: This is an homage and tribute to all the familiar faces we have seen of the greatest front man of all time- David Lee Roth.
BRAND NEW – “Mirror Ball”: The PiperClub incident– Since no footage exists, wanted to bring it to life as a short animation with some Dave humor in there.