Feature: David Lee Roth Wrote Some Pretty Rad Guitar Solos Too
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Before rising to fame with Van Halen, David Lee Roth first started as a solo performer in a R&B rock band. From that, he joined Mammoth, which later become Van Halen, as the band’s lead singer.
However, after five successful albums, the singer left the band due to contradicting style and preferences with other members. Roth is undeniably an important figure in Van Halen. He is remarkable for his unique singing tone, flamboyant character, and energetic stage presence.
Following his departure from the band, the singer tried going solo again. After several years, he returned to Van Halen in 2006 and fronted the band until its cessation in 2020. Looking back, Roth had a small interview covering his solo career and his Van Halen days. He was asked about how he felt performing Van Halen tracks as a solo act and whether he had to seek permission to play them.
Roth claimed that he wrote every song on Van Halen’s debut album. He also enumerated that he wrote some guitar solos, including the ones in the band’s “Jamie’s Cryin” and “Runnin’ with the Devil.” Aside from that, he also explained that he was the one who came up with the name Van Halen. Eddie Van Halen’s guitar stripes were his idea, and he designed the album covers and the setting on the stage.
According to the singer, he took an active role in the structure of all Van Halen songs in the debut album. So when he was asked whether he got permission to sing Van Halen songs, he replied:
“No. Because I wrote the songs, I wrote every word you heard, every syllable. Every melody I structured out. Even the guitar solos on that first album. Why do you think the solos changed so radically? I sang the solos for ‘Jamie’s Cryin” and ‘Runnin’ with the Devil,’ et cetera.
“Wrote those songs, structured those songs. I designed the backgrounds on the stage. I came up with the album covers. I thought of the stripes on the guitar. I’m the one who said, ‘Call it Van Halen.'”