On the first day of October 2021, Van Halen’s legendary frontman and one of the most recognized names in classic rock history announced his retirement from rock and roll with his final two words saying “Stay Frosty.” But then again, being David Lee Roth, it’s most definitely not his last two words. And of course will he stay retired, probably not. Nonetheless, as of now, David Lee Roth has officially announced that his Las Vegas run in January will be the final shows of his career. David Lee Roth will play five shows at the House Of Blues on the Las Vegas strip on New Years Eve, New Years Day , January 5th, 7th and 8th 2021. And that’s all she wrote.
It seems the passing of his friend Eddie Van Halen has probably really hit David Lee Roth hard about his own mortality. In a phone call with the Las Vegas Review, David Lee Roth lamented about how life is so short and that his lifetime is probably shorter than most people. It was a clear reference to the hard partying that he has done over the years. Rock stars in their 20s and even 30s don’t usually think about the effects that smoking, drugs and alcohol will have on their bodies over the long run. With the passing of Eddie Van Halen last year, David Lee Roth seems to be feeling his own sense of mortality at sixty seven years old. On the other hand, his nemesis Sammy Hagar who is four years older at seventy one just gave an interview recently where he said he is going to keep going until he no longer can do it anymore. The way Sammy looks and how great he still sounds, that may be a long time from now.
David Lee Roth and Van Halen got their start as a very happening bar band on the Las Vegas strip back in the mid 1970s. There are tons of bootleg recordings out there filled with the band’s live performances at The Whiskey A GO-GO performing cover versions of Led Zeppelin songs and other classic rock songs. Most of the recordings are in poor quality. However, what does come shining through his David Lee Roth’s rock star personality on stage even before he was a rock star. We all know what came next. Van Halen signed with Warner Brothers Records and very quickly became one of the biggest bands in the world. One could argue that they were the last big classic rock band to come out of the 1970s. Over time they would become of of the most famous and dearly loved rock and roll acts of all time.
David Lee Roth left Van Halen in the mid-1980s to pursue a solo career. David Lee Roth had becomes a darling of MTV starting with the whole Dave TV concept and the success of his Crazy From the Heat EP. It was only natural that he would want to go out on his own because his ego was so out of control. Yet, David Lee Roth was a smart as they came. He put together one amazing rock ‘n’ roll band with Steve Vai on guitar who was probably the only guitarist in the business that could come close to the style of Eddie Van Halen. With Gregg Bissonette on drums and the phenomenal Billy Sheehan on bass, the David Lee Roth band pretty much equal Van Halen on many levels. Yet, the group only lasted two albums. David Lee Roth would continue releasing solo albums but nothing came close to the first two solo records.
One of the most interesting projects we saw David Lee Roth become involved in was when he replaced Howard Stern on K-Rock 92.3 FM in New York in the mid 2000s. The departure of the most famous DJ in the US from broadcast radio to satellite was big news. It was thought that the only way to replace a personality as big as Howard Stern was to replace him with a personality as big as David Lee Roth. While we thought that David Lee Roth’s show was entertaining and unique in his own way, he just was no match to replace a radio icon like Howard Stern (no one has ever done it) and the show didn’t last too long.
In 2006, David Lee Roth reunited with Van Halen. The group released one final studio album together in 2012 entitled A Different Kind of Truth. The group toured with Eddie’s son Wolfgang on bass in 2017 giving fans the final Van Halen shows ever. It’s still hard to accept that.
David Lee Roth’s persona defined the term rock god in a sort of Las Vegas style. That’s why it’s fitting that he goes out in the town they call Sin City.
David Lee Roth Announces Retirement From Rock And Roll article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2021
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