Born in Bloomington, Indiana, David Lee Roth was interested in music since he was a kid but everything changed after he moved to Pasadena, California with his family when he was a teenager. It was the same town that the brothers Alex and Eddie Van Halen lived and it was there where the legendary Hard Rock Van Halen was born.
Roth was a member of the group from 1974 to 1985, in 1996 and from 2007 to 2020, when the group came to an end after Eddie’s death at the age of 65. Roth also had a successful solo career, releasing many classic albums especially in the 80s.
A famous Rock star since the late 70s, the singer had the opportunity to see up-close many bands that achieved fame. Besides being known for his vocal talent, Roth is also famous for being a very sincere person and he once compared a successful band with “freeze dried coffee”.
The famous band David Lee Roth called freeze dried coffee
David Lee Roth always had a unique sense of humor and personality, which didn’t make things easy for anybody who worked with him. So he always had a different point of view about almost anything.
Van Halen’s solo debut was released in 1978 and it caused a real revolution especially among guitarists that were impressed by how talented Eddie Van Halen was. But Dave’s singing, phrasing and stage presence was also a huge influence for countless generations of frontmans.
During the 70s many other American bands were starting and creating new music. One of them was Toto, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1978. The group is famous for hits like “Africa”, “Rosanna” and “Hold The Line”. Although Roth likes the group, he used the term “freeze dried coffee” to explain them. Because according to the singer people wouldn’t be able to name the band members.
The Van Halen vocalist said that in an interview with Joe Rogan back in 2019 (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage). “One of my favorite freeze-dried bands in history is Toto. Well, all freeze-dried coffee looks the same (laughs) and it’s great.”
“(Africa) is a great song, that’s Smithsonian level song, ‘Rosanna’ and so forth. Toto is amazing, any of the fellas could walk up to me and I wouldn’t recognize them. I would not recognize them. And then there are artists where you just can’t replace it,” David Lee Roth said.
Over the years, Toto lost many important members, especially the praised Jeff Porcaro (Drums), Mike Porcaro (Bass) and Steve Porcaro (Keyboards). Right now, the two most famous members of the band are Steve Lukather (Guitar, vocals) and David Paich (Keyboards, vocals).
Roth wasn’t happy when Steve Lukather appeared when Van Halen was in the studio
The guitarist Steve Lukather helped to form Toto in 1977 and has been part of the band ever since. He also had a very successful career as a session guitarist, working with names like Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie.
He had a good friendship with the late Eddie Van Halen and used to see him a lot. But as he recalled in an interview with Sunset Sound Recorders (Transcribed by Rock and Roll Garage), Roth wasn’t happy when he appeared at one of the sessions Van Halen had.
“I walked in the studio looking for Ed once and Roth was sitting there with Donn Landee (Producer and engineer). I walked in like the ever jovial self: (saying) ‘Hey man, what’s up. Where’s Ed?’ And Roth looked at me like I just killed his parents or something. The look on his face was like ‘What are you doing here?’ Like, ‘How dare you share the same air?'”
“I got the vibe right away and said ‘I’m just looking for Ed, man’. Donn was like ‘No, no, he’s over there’, and I got out of there quick. I’m a friend of all those guys. I just never knew David,” Steve Lukather said.
In the same interview he revealed that he asked the drummer Alex Van Halen to record something with Toto once and he said that he couldn’t accept because he only worked with his brother Eddie.
Since their inception, Toto has sold an estimated amount of more than 40 million records worldwide. Recently their hit “Africa” reached an incredible number of more than 1 billion streams on Spotify.