|David Lee Roth|
Birthplace: Bloomington, IN
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Sometimes lead singer, Van Halen
Spawned of a schoolteacher and an ophthalmologist, David Lee Roth entered the world in the Monroe County town of Bloomington. In his childhood Roth was given an introduction to music by way of his father's Al Jolson records, later picking up on the Ray Charles songs being played on the radio and attending live performances at the Cafe Wha? during visits to his uncle, the venue's proprietor. By his teen years his family had relocated to California, and he began performing both as a solo vocalist and as a member of an L.A. rock band named the Red Ball Jets. It was through his association with the Jets that Roth was introduced to the Pasadena band Mammoth and the two brothers behind it, guitarist Eddie Van Halen and drummer Alex Van Halen: the rival band on occasion rented the Jets' P.A. system, and eventually they invited the flamboyant singer to join their ranks. By 1974, upon discovering the moniker "Mammoth" was already being used by another band, the group changed its name to Van Halen and began working to establish it's reputation through relentless gigging.
During a four-month residency at the Starwood Club, Roth and his cohorts attracted the interest of Gene Simmons; Simmons assisted the band with the production of a demo tape, and eventually helped to secure a deal with Warner Brothers. The resulting 1978 debut release Van Halen proved to be a huge success with the heavy rock crowd -- as much for the music as for the reputation for excess surrounding the band (a reputation largely resulting from the on- and off-stage antics the singer). Over the next six years, the Roth-fronted version of Van Halen released a series of increasingly popular albums: the sophomore effort Van Halen II (1979) followed by Women and Children First (1980), Fair Warning (1981), Diver Down (1982) and, finally, the career-culminating release 1984. 1984 featured several of what continue to be the band's best known songs, Jump and Panama -- the promotional videos for which had Roth leaping about and shaking his spandex-wrapped bum on television sets all around the world.
In 1985 David Lee Roth released Crazy From the Heat, an EP of cover songs that scored big with versions of Cab Calloway's Just a Gigolo and The Beach Boys' California Girls (the video for the latter thoroughly investigating the possibilities of how much T&A can be squeezed into three minutes of film). By this time the fact that the singer and his Van Halen bandmates had become mutually fed up with each other had become well-known (and surely both sides had ample enough reason), and the release of a solo project was a clear indication that the end of his tenure was drawing near. Not long afterward Roth officially announced his departure. The next year Roth issued his full-length solo debut Eat 'Em and Smile; both this album and it's follow-up release, Skyscraper (1988), rivaled the popularity of his Van Halen-era material, in no small part due to Roth making use of a backing band that included the skills of ex-Frank Zappa guitar acrobat Steve Vai and bassist Billy Sheehan.
The 1990s saw the inevitable decline for the singer, his next two albums A Little Ain't Enough (1991) and Your Filthy Little Mouth (1994) making a greatly diminished impression on the mainstream music scene. Roth responded with several fruitless strategies to regain his former status, beginning with a short-lived effort to break into the has-been Vegas circuit. Two miscarried attempts to rejoin Van Halen followed, the initial attempt resulting in two songs for a "best of" collection and a non-musical appearance at the 1996 MTV Music Video Awards (an event that ended in a public fight between Roth and the guitarist Van Halen, and brought an abrupt end to any speculation about a long-term reunion). A "tell-all" biography (Crazy From the Heat, 1997) failed to ignite much controversy. After putting together a new band and releasing a fifth solo album, DLR Band (1998), Roth made a second attempt at reconciliation with Van Halen, and he has since rejoined the group for special occasions and some major tours.
Father: Nathan Roth (ophthalmologist)
Mother: Sybil Roth (schoolteacher)
Girlfriend: Apollonia (singer, ex-)
Slept with: Savannah
Daughter: Avy Lee Roth (according to her)
High School: Pasadena, CA
University: Pasadena City College
Van Halen Vocalist 1974-84;1996;2000
David Lee Roth
DLR Band Vocalist 1998-2000
Drug Possession: Marijuana Washington Square Park, New York City 18-Apr-1993
New York City Marathon 6:04:43
Risk Factors: Marijuana, Malaria
Author of books:
Crazy from the Heat (1997, memoir)
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