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Music / David Lee Roth

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"This must be just like livin' in paradise
(It's just like paradise)
And I don't want to go home
(And I ain't never goin' home)
David Lee Roth, "Just Like Paradise"

David Lee Roth (born October 10, 1954 in Bloomington, Indiana) is an American hard rock singer who first became famous as, and is best known as, the lead singer in Van Halen. Roth famously split from the group after the 1984 album and was replaced by Sammy Hagar, setting off what may be the single biggest Fandom Rivalry in music. His solo work, starting with Crazy from the Heat, helped launch the career of Steve Vai.

"Goin' crazy, goin' crazy, oooh, from the tropes!"

  • Affectionate Parody: The video for "California Girls" starts with a Rod Serling-style voiceover, announcing that the characters are about to take a trip into "The Sunlight Zone".
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Probably one of the most hyperactive people in show-biz, supposedly having been diagnosed as a child. Famously, he's stated he never did cocaine, and it's actually believable.
  • Album Title Drop: In another album: the EP Crazy from the Heat has its title mentioned, as seen in the trope list title, in "Goin' Crazy!"
  • As the Good Book Says...: From "The Dogtown Shuffle":
    "And like the Good Book says be quick or dead"
  • The Bartender: In the video for "She's My Machine."
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Nobody did being a rock star better than David. Say what you want about his ego, but he had the talent to back it up, the personality to make it work, and the business savvy to keep himself in the black. The whole "no brown M&M's" thing was just a very clever way to make certain the promoters did their job so he could do his job.
    • Additionally, he's also a high-level black-belt, fluent in several languages, a former E.M.T, and was notoriously very serious about his exercise.
  • Canine Companion: Russ, his late 12-year-old Australian cattle dog.
  • Carpet of Virility: Type 1. Although in The New '10s he shaved his chest... and also covered it in tattoos!
  • Cover Album: His solo debut, Crazy from the Heat, which included versions of The Beach Boys' "California Girls," the Edgar Winter Group's "Easy Street," The Lovin' Spoonful's "Coconut Grove," and Louis Prima's Medley of "Just a Gigolo"/"I Ain't Got Nobody."
    • Diamond Dave is mostly covers of rock and Blues songs.
    • Cover Version: "That's Life" (by Frank Sinatra, among others), "Tobacco Road" (written by John D. Loudermilk, originally recorded by the Nashville Teens)
  • The '80s: His heyday, with both Van Halen and solo.
  • Excited Song Title!: "Goin' Crazy!", "It's Showtime!", "Slam Dunk!", "Wa Wa Zat!!". He had a few with Van Halen too, which are in their page.
  • Facial Markings: On the cover of Eat 'Em and Smile
  • Handicapped Badass: Lead guitarist Jason Becker finished ”A Little Ain’t Enough” while suffering the early stages of ALS, which eventually left him unable to speak or move, and still composes music twenty years later, suffering from an illness that kills most sufferers within a few years.
  • Hair Metal: A significant influence at least as a member of Van Halen.
  • Hidden Depths: He speaks fluent Spanish, he's licensed as an EMT in New York, and he's trained for years in, martial arts, Japanese swordsmanship and ink painting. The famous "no brown M&M's" waver also shows he's quite cunning and a skilled businessman.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Time flies...
    • Played with at the end of his video for "A Lil' Ain't Enough", which does a time skip to October 10, 2021 (which was Dave's 67th birthday) and he appears as an overweight, barely mobile version of his 30-year-younger self.
  • Intercourse with You: "Bump and Grind," "Cheatin' Heart Cafe," "40 Below"
  • Kick Chick: A male version. Diamond Dave loves performing high kicks and can do a perfect jumping split as well due to years of martial arts training.
  • Large Ham: Dave is not known for his subtlety or restraint. He also never indulged in cocaine or other drugs to explain it. He's just naturally that energetic.
  • Long-Haired Pretty Boy: In his heyday.
  • Lyrical Tic: "Ow! ow! ow!," "Whooo hooo!"
  • Master Swordsman: He's trained in sword fighting since he was twelve and is extremely adept at it.
  • Mind Screw: David Lee Roth's No Holds Bar-B-Que, his hour-long art film, made in 2002 and uploaded to YouTube in 2016. Nobody knew quite what to make of it.
  • Moral Guardians: Spoofed with the "Censorship Bored" in the video for "Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody"
  • Mr. Fanservice: Especially when Van Halen first took off in the late 70s. And he worked it.
  • Oh, Crap!: From "Goin' Crazy":
    "Remember dancing on the pier last night?
    Got drunk and fell into the water
    The big policeman wasn't laughing, didn't blink an eye
    He said, 'You're messing with the mayor's daughter', oh no"
  • Technician vs. Performer: One of the most famous performers around, being way, way more famous for his stage antics than his singing ability. That said, he made sure to surround himself with some of the most technically skilled performers around.
  • Precision F-Strike: From "Two Fools a Minute":
    "See, the meek shall inherit shit"
  • Read the Fine Print: If you're the promoter and Van Halen tells you to put a bowl of M&M's backstage, and there'd better not be any brown M&M's in the bowl, do it. You do not want David Lee Roth to see a brown M&M in that bowl. If he sees one, it means there is a very good chance you did not follow the technical specifications for all the equipment and safety measures in their show. That means the show may not go on, which pisses off Van Halen, their fans, and also comes straight out of your pocket.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: In his often outrageous stage outfits. The man had no issue dressing up as garishly as possible. He is also a lifelong martial artist with training in Karate, Kung Fu, Kickboxing, Jeet Kune Do, Brazilian Jiujitsu and sword fighting as well as a workout fanatic and avid rock climber.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "The Dogtown Shuffle"
  • Red Baron: "Diamond Dave"
  • Scatting: Hummala beebuhla zeebuhla boobuhla hummala beebuhla zeebuhla bop!
  • Self-Deprecation: From "Two Fools a Minute":
    "See you in the funny papers
    Guess that's where I'll be
    They say two fools born a minute
    Guess that makes me three"
  • Self-Titled Album: Diamond Dave, DLR Band
  • Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll: Yes, generally no, and yes. Reportedly, Eddie Van Halen's cocaine problem was one of the issues that led to Roth leaving the band. However, he was arrested in Washington Square Park in New York City in April 1993 for buying a dime bag of marijuana.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: As any hammy rockstar would be. Bordering on Cloud Cuckoolander at times.
  • Statue of Liberty: "Yankee Rose"
  • Translated Cover Version: Sonrisa Salvaje (Spanish for Savage Smile), a Spanish-language version of Eat 'Em and Smile.
  • Two First Names
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Not only in the eighties, but as far as 2007.