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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Van Halen: "Are Eternally Unhip - And Proud Of It," Says David Lee Roth

Darryl Sterdan from the Toronto Sun spoke with Van Halen singer David Lee Roth recently about the band's reunion and new studio album, "A Different Kind of Truth". Here are a few excerpts from the chat: 
Van Halen are eternally unhip - and proud of it.

Roth: “We were never cool. Even when we were happening, even when we were the flavour of the week the first time, we weren’t cool. John Travolta and Saturday Night Fever were cool. And across the street, The Sex Pistols and The Clash were cool. We were just kind of an island. I don’t know that Van Halen ever really fit in. And it was not a conscious act. Many times we’re trying to imitate other people; it just comes out looking and sounding like us. And today we’re still not cool. We’re somewhere between Katy Perry and Muse. Somewhere between Kings of Leon and Maronn 5. Welcome to our island. Abandon all hope.”

They aren’t taking this reunion for granted.

Roth: “Everybody values their privilege. And it is indeed a privilege and a gift to be able to have this job as opposed to a lot of the jobs the state offers. Everybody has had at least one or two medical near- misses or at least one or two dental tragedies. Sometimes that’s all it takes — you get your teeth knocked out a couple of times and you start to realize you’re mortal. That illumination alone can rebind a band. Besides that, we’re gonna do it for world peace. I could answer all of of these questions with that. Do you want to do the ‘world peace’ interview?” 

But they are taking it seriously.
Roth: “Though Van Halen’s history is incandescent and full of allegations - most of them true - we’ve taken the music very seriously. Starting from when we were classically trained kids (and) up to this minute, our work ethic is the antithesis of what common rock ’n’ roll would be. We’ve been rehearsing for the last three months, frequently at nine and 10 in the morning. It’s special ops in that it doesn’t matter what time it is. We do it when we are called upon.”
Roth: They know how to get the party started on their upcoming tour. 

“We picked Kool And The Gang to open for us because Kool And The Gang and Van Halen are the sounds of an entire continent at recreation. We’ve come to represent that - although you’re more likely to hear Kool And The Gang at a bar mitzvah than me, even though I’m a brother. You go to a Hasidic Jewish bar mitzvah and they’ll play Ladies’ Night by Kool. Me, they’ll let in - ‘But he doesn’t sing; he runs with the devil!’ ”
Read the entire hilarious interview here

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