David Lee Roth Reflects On Van Halen's Contribution

Van Halen

(hennemusic) David Lee Roth shared his thoughts on the formative years of Van Halen - and plenty more - during a three-hour appearance on The Joe Rogan Experience on February 28.

When asked by the host about the cultural impact the band had in their early recording and performing career - bursting out of the gate with their 1978 self-titled debut - the rocker spoke of Van Halen's years performing covers on the Southern California club- and backyard party-circuit as the learning curve that helped define not only their original sound, but their ability to appeal to a wide range of audiences.

"Your end game depends on how you started....it's like chess," explained Roth. "We began very early on identifying that there's a whole lotta different neighborhoods in Southern California. I knew this from being with my dad (eye surgeon Dr, Nathan Roth) ; all of his patients - it's like a Benetton ad - that's part of the beauty of Pasadena: you got everybody.

"What you play at the birthday party in the Spanish-speaking neighborhood (sings some Santana), is different than what we're gonna play for the surfers out at Venice Beach - that's Aerosmith stuff. And then you have the working man out in San Bernardino - that's ZZ Top. Subtle, but important: genius is in the details."

According to Roth, the lessons the group learned during this era proved invaluable to live performances, understanding audience demographics and, most importantly, putting food on the table as a working band.

"Dozens and dozens of places that were all a little bit different, and our thing was that we could play anywhere. We had to," he added. "We had to feed ourselves...and that meant five, 45-minute sets a night...five, six nights a week, if you could get it We would ping-pong all over the Southland, anywhere we could drive, for two hours.

"Every neighborhood was a little different, and that shows up in the music. I don't think of it as impact - that's a result; what's the verb? Contribution." Read more and listen to the full interview here.

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Copyright hennemusic - Excerpted here with permission.

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