Friday, December 16, 2005

David Lee Roth: Making It Talk

There is a lengthy piece about David Lee Roth in the New York Times. Here is some of it:

"The Hollander brothers are adventurous, danger-loving visionaries for hiring a guy like me," Mr. Roth announces. "I'm getting total control! Such an aberration in this industry! As an artist, this is a pre-eminent performance!" (Yes, he's excited about the new job.)

Would it be uncool...to ask why the heck the former mouthpiece of Van Halen, the now-estranged assemblage known for hits like "Jump," "Panama" and "Runnin' With the Devil," slaps on a baseball cap and a moderately menacing headset before he acquiesces to having his picture taken? Maybe, but who cares? Not him. Turns out he is a tad sensitive about his unkempt mousy brown hair; the headset is a leftover from helicopter flying today in proud pursuit of a pilot's license he has craved since he read and watched "M*A*S*H." [So that explains it! -JH]

Between bouts of self-generated hysteria - refreshing to see a guy from the jaded, celebrity side of the coin still able to get such a kick out of himself - he is a virtual open book, and even offers up, unsolicited, his bedside manner: "It's not who you sleep with," warns the never-married Mr. Roth, "it's who wants to sleep with you again." No fooling.

...The patio door to the Great Outdoors is open because Mr. Roth, effervescent and vociferously verbal at 51 despite being 20 years past his rock-star prime, is a fresh air freak, even with the temperature hovering at freezing. Press him and he is liable to display slides of his treks to the Himalayas, New Guinea and other exotic spots.

To fend off the chill, his sips from a glass mug of black coffee are interspersed with giddier gulps from a tiny bottle of Courvoisier: Mr. Roth is no stranger to the joys of minibars. Besides, he has protocol on his side: "Oh please, it's Happy Hour," he rasps.

...Same voice: "I think I'm the one single voice who has united the liberal left with the Nascar voting bloc," he says of the audience for his music, which encompasses six multiplatinum Van Halen albums and eight solo releases. Different gig: Mr. Roth is just a few weeks from taking over what he describes as "the hottest seat in American radio," Mr. Stern's at WXRK-FM, a job for which he deems himself uniquely qualified: Sure he can sing, but as a conversationalist, just wait, he will knock your socks off.

..."Come on, I can bond with a fire hydrant," he says, explaining his faith in his conversational prowess. "I can interview a Dalmatian," he adds. "It's about the capacity to entertain, like at a really good Algonquin table. I've got a fourth-degree black belt in conversation; I think in bold caps!" Obviously.

HE is not, by the way, out to attempt anything so gauche as to replace Mr. Stern. "I'm not the new Howard," Mr. Roth says. "Your editorial bias is entirely based on your memories, and I couldn't think of more diverse backgrounds than between the two of us. The only thing I have distinctly in common with Howard is a wicked sense of humor. And Hanukkah."
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I think David Lee Roth would make the greatest wedding officiant ever. He is also quite Advanced, and you can put that in bold caps if you wish. One other thing, he says he can interview a Dalmation, but he can also be interviewed by Steve Vai's guitar. The only other radio personalities who could say that are Edward R. Murrow, Wolfman Jack, and Leo and Woody Windham.

1 comment:

Leo Windham said...

Hello, and thanks for mentioning me and my brother. I'm still on the radio. WXLY in Charleston SC.
If you'd like to listen, we stream in real time at www.y1025.com. Go to my web site and send me a blog.
www.leowindham.com

have a good day.

Leo Windham