December 1 2010
The man acts like a mime suddenly released from his vow of silence in order to pursue his lifelong dream of being a professional wrestling announcer.
All those pop culture references come across as Eminem-style anti-shoutouts, but the dude certainly knew how to cast bikini models, and you've got to hand it to his ego for thinking a vaguely gyrating table dance could cause censorship board heart attacks amongst the clergy.
This is David Lee Roth when he had a hairy chest and three closets full of clown suits and a pretty face:
This is David Lee Roth now.
Don't do drugs kids. But maybe more importantly, don't build a career out of acting like you're perpetually on drugs.
Not that his former bandmates don't have anything to be embarrassed about. This performance of "Jump" sounds like a chimpanzee trying to play Guitar Hero; be sure to stick around for the solo at 3 minutes in.
But back to Dave. Dear, dear Dave, looking here like the perfect cross between Jon Bon Jovi and Jon Mikl Thor:
So we've learned that dressing in neon spackled tights is all about fantasies that have something to do with the Lone Ranger and Buck Rogers. How did this guy not turn out to be Liberace for '80s groupies? Look, I know this is all 25 years ago, and it's a bit late to be freaked out by the guy, but what the hell was wrong with him? Does it continue to be wrong with him? At least in recent photographs he seems content with blade shades and Sam Neill stares.
I don't remember being this disturbed by him as a child. I'd just listen to Skyscraper and see his MTV appearances and take it all in stride, even though the dude makes Lady Gaga seem like a subtle slut in haute couture. And apparently, this character is still relevant to a surprising number of people. (Best thread: "So much for speculation about Van Halen playing the Super Bowl...")
At least he can still sing "Jump" in tune.
Aw, you know what? Whatever the hell is wrong with him, I hope it continues to be wrong. If we get really lucky, he'll slide into the psychic space currently occupied by William Shatner and Betty White, and be a fogey punching bag with an irredeemable combination of swagger and self-awareness that creates comedy gold.
Next time I karaoke, I'm doing "Just a Gigolo / I Ain't Got Nobody" in the style of David Lee Roth with the voice of Elmer Fudd. And if I'm ever a rich and famous film / TV dude, I'll be sure to talk him into a Saturday Night Live performance of "California Girls" ... with the original cast reunited ... still wearing thong bikinis ... no matter what the golden years have done to their bodies ... or their minds.
Edited to add: The Awl beat me to this topic, kinda, yesterday at the bottom of a post about the Rolling Stones. How could I have forgotten that weird Diamond Dave gem?
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