Tuesday, January 03, 2006

He'll Perform CPR While Interviewing Your Favorite Celebrity

People who, like me, were fans of hard rock radio back in the early 1980s have a soft spot in out hearts for one Mr. David Lee Roth. He entertained us, he repulsed us, he made us want to be just like him, and he made us want him to go away forever. Now he's back with a new gig, replacing Howard Stern as a traditional FM morning radio host. (Howard must have remembered that his last name means "star" and that's why he does satellite radio now.)

I haven't listened to DLR's show yet, and I'm not sure I will. If I do, it will be out of curiosity. What's he all about? He comes out of the woodwork every few years and then quickly disappears again. He got back together with Van Halen. Then he didn't. The he reemerged to tour with his replacement, Sammy Hagar, who was suddenly Dave's new best buddy. Then he wasn't. Then we learned that Dave was working as an EMT in NYC. And maybe he still is, while holding down his new radio job and occasionally hitting the road for some remote broadcasts.

So what is he all about, really? He tried to explain it to the Tribune-Review, and partially succeeded.

Q: Howard Stern had a pretty risque format, to put it mildly. How much do you think your show will resemble his?

A: Not at all. I'm not even remotely close to Stern. I'm not a humorist; I'm not a comic; I'm not a comedian. My sense of humor has teeth -- that makes me perfect for the inner city. Just like you, I'm a (expletive) cynic. You'll never get tired of listening to me speak your mind.

Q: So you won't be going just for laughs.

A: The difference between me and a comedian, I don't try -- comedians are desperate for the funny. With me, you either get it or you didn't.

Q: It sounds like you have a plan of how you want things to go, but not a schedule, or a format, true?

A: It will be completely my way and not resemble anything that's ever been on the radio. What other voice can ingratiate and infuriate the liberal arch left -- of which I am a card-carrying member -- and the NASCAR nation -- of which I am a card-carrying member?

I think I understand most of it. He knows that it would be useless to try and mimic Stern, which is fine because everyone knows what Diamond Dave is like as a stage performer and a video artist -- he had some pretty funny videos in his immediate post-VH years. And he has his backside covered, just in case no one thinks that he is funny as a radio host. But the political thing confuses me. He's saying in all seriousness that he is both left and right? Does that mean that he is an issue oriented person rather than an ideologue? Or is he just covering his butt again by playing to both sides? The only time that I have ever heard him say anything relating to politics was back in the late 1990s, during a failed attempt at a comeback as a solo artist. After making news from time to time for his wild lifestyle and the occasional cocaine bust, DLR blamed his downfall on "Reaganomics".

Listen, punk. Ronald Reagan did not force you to go all sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll once you became famous. Any problems that you had were the direct result of your own irresponsibility. You might have had more success at a young age than you could reasonably handle, and if you are going to blame anyone outside of yourself for your excesses, look at the people around you. Your management, your bandmates. Blaming everything on a sitting president, or your least favorite president, is a cop-out.

Putting that aside, there's the question that fans of Van Halen are always asking:

Q: What's the latest Van Halen news? Do you still talk to those guys?

A: I talked to the drummer (Alex Van Halen) about a week ago. And I think, eventually, the inevitable will happen.

Q: You mean a reunion?

A: Sure. And it definitely won't be rockers with walkers. Getting onstage and singing "Dance the Night Away" -- let me tell you how difficult that isn't going to be. When people bring up Van Halen, I talk about it with pride and with no apprehension at all. I play those songs all the time.

Twenty years ago when there was still bad blood, Dave said that in twenty years, when Eddie Van Halen will call to get the band back together again, that he'd just say "F**k you, Ed", and hang up the phone. I guess he can't hang up on the Van Halen brothers now since he's getting paid to take calls and hanging up would be bad form. One wonders, though: Just how soon is "inevitable"?

And those of us on the "NASCAR nation" side of DLR's politics can appreciate this little swipe at the goofiest thing ever to come out of Minnesota:

Q: Will you be wearing those cheekless pants on the air? And, how will we know?

A: Let's face it, I look better in (cheekless) chaps than Al Franken ever (expletive) would.

Curious. Has David Lee Roth been reading Nihilist In Golf Pants? Speaking of goofy things from Minnesota...

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