What Eddie Van Halen said about David Lee Roth’s solo debut
The singer David Lee Roth was part of Van Halen for the first time for eleven years, from 1974 to 1985. He recorded six albums with the group during that time. In the same year he left the Hard Rock group he already recorded his solo debut EP “Crazy From The Heat” (1985) that had some of the most famous songs of his solo years. He had some special guests on that record like Edgar Winter, Carl Wilson and Christopher Cross.
Curiously, Guitar World magazine asked in 1985 the guitarist Eddie Van Halen if he had heard that EP and what was his opinion on the solo music that David Lee Roth was making at that point.
What Eddie Van Halen said about David Lee Roth’s solo career
“I think it’s something [David Lee Roth] always wanted to do. I think it’s great he’s actually doing it. Put it this way – it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and haven’t done. I guess in a funny way, it explains Dave as a vocalist and lyricist.”
“He did four cover tunes. But these songs do convey a message within him. ‘California Girls’, ‘Easy Street’, ‘Just a Gigolo’ and one other one. But I’m sure it’s going to happen in the true Van Halen tradition even though it’s not Van Halen music,“ Eddie Van Halen said.
Talkin with Shaun Baxter back in 1995, Eddie Van Halen was asked about what he thought when David Lee Roth presented the guitarist Steve Vai on his first solo albums. “I’m going: ‘this guy is better at what I do than I AM’, you know. But [whispering] he lacked the vibe… the feel. He was technically VERY proficient, but stiff.”
“It always made me feel bad in a way, because it made me feel like, ‘Wow, is that how people perceive ME?’, ‘cause, to me, listening to him it didn’t SOUND like me, but he took my chops, so to speak, and made them very robotic… and did them twice as fast,” Eddie Van Halen said.
“Crazy From The Heat” EP tracklist
The EP was produced by the famous Van Halen producer Ted Templeman that decided to to produce Lee Roth’s solo career after he left the band. The first track was “Easy Street”, originally recorded by the Edgar Winter Group.
The second was a medley of two pre-World War II songs “Just a Gigolo” and “I Ain’t Got Nobody” based on Louis Prima’s 1956 medley. The version made by Lee Roth reached the number 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 at the time. The video of the tune was a success on MTV.
The side two of the EP had the cover for The Beach Boys “California Girls”. It was another song that performed well on the charts reaching number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100. It also was also a success on MTV with the video made for the song. Curiously, one of the musicians who made the backing vocals in the track was The Beach Boys member Carl Wilson.
The final tack of the EP was “Coconut Grove” that was originally recorded by The Lovin’ Spoonful.
Other musicians who played on the EP were: Dean Parks (Guitar), Eddie Martinez (Guitar), Sid McGinnis (Guitar), Willie Weeks (Bass), John Robinson (Drums). There were also Sammy Figueroa (Percussion), James Newton Howard (Synthesizers) and Brian Mann (Synthesizer).
His solo albums
After that EP, David Lee Roth released more three praised albums: “Eat ‘Em and Smile” (1986), “Skyscraper” (1988) and “A Little Ain’t Enough” (1991). Also three other ones that didn’t performed so well: ‘Your Filthy Little Mouth” (1994), “DLR Band” (1998), “Diamond Dave” (2003). Many praised musicians had played on his solo band over the years. Some of them are Steve Vai (Guitar), Billy Sheehan (Bass), Gregg Bissonette (Drums), John 5 (Guitar) and Jason Becker (Guitar).
He returned to Van Halen twice. The first time was in 1996 that resulted in a frustrated reunion attempt. Then he was a member of the group from 2007 until 2020. During that last tenure with the group he recorded a new album with the band “A Different Kind Of Truth” (2012). It was the last one from their discography.
The band came to an end when Eddie Van Halen died at the age of 65.