Enlarge Photos Credits: Neal Preston via Creative Commons (left), Toglenn via Wikimedia Commons (right)

Is David Lee Roth Planning a Solo Comeback Tour? The Time is Now!


Buried in today’s lineup announcement for the 2020 incarnation of the Epicenter Festival, amongst the Metallicas and the Disturbed and the Deftoneses and the Gojiras and the other big names, was this nugget patiently waiting for someone to notice: David Lee Roth.

This is no small deal!

According to Setlist.fm, Roth hasn’t embarked on a proper solo tour since 2006, and has only performed three times since, twice at hotels and once at an unknown venue, each show consisting of a maximum of four songs. (My interpretation: private shows).

THIS IS A BIG DEAL! Is anyone else freaking out as much as I am?

The organizers of Epicenter thought DLR’s presence important enough to list his name at the top of their press release amongst the biggest acts. Billing-wise, his name sits on the second line of the bands performing Friday, beneath only Metallica, Godsmack and Papa Roach. (What an insult on those last two! Blech.)


Van Halen last performed in 2015, and while DLR has kept himself in the media over the years his star seems to be fading. Last summer’s rumored Van Halen run with original bassist Michael Anthony fell apart before it really got off the ground, and that had to hurt. To make matters worse, reports about Eddie Van Halen’s declining health have been swirling of late.

If Diamond Dave is performing at Epicenter, that can’t be all. I mean, it COULD, but it’s unlikely: why go to the trouble of assembling a new solo band for just one show unless the money is batshit insane, an extremely unlikely scenario given how much dough is tied up in that night’s headliners? There must be more shows in the pipeline!

So, this is it: the time is now! David Lee Roth is 65 years old. Unlike his namesake bandmate he’s taken great care of himself and, last we checked, can still do some passable approximation of his patented leg kicks and pelvic shimmies. But he’s not getting any younger, and it’s difficult to imagine he’ll be able to perform at this level for much longer. Look at Ozzy, fer chrissakes; the guy’s only five years older than Roth, has been a stage puppet for two decades already and is falling apart at the seams.

I’ve never seen David Lee Roth perform live with his solo band despite several opportunities over the years. Wouldn’t it be grand to watch him belt out “Yankee Rose” and “Just Like Paradise” and sing along like a stupid teenager? I’d buy tickets in a heartbeat. Way more readily than that overpriced Mötley Crüe shitshow, that’s for sure. I’m not certain the extent to which others feel the same about DLR’s solo work as I do — I’m sure the requisite Van Halen tunes he’ll perform on any given night will get the loudest applause by far — but man, those fucking songs. They’re special. If we could be so lucky we’d even get some of DLR’s patented scat and a few “bozedy bop”s thrown in.

As for the band, it’ll be interesting to see who Diamond Dave enlists. He’s always had a knack for picking up young stars on the rise, breaking such talents as Steve Vai, Billy Sheehan and Greg Bissonette, and even giving a young John 5 a shot. Will DLR stick with established players (whether the old guys or new ones) to put butts in seats or will he go the Ozzy route of keeping his band fresh with up-and-comers? I’m torn on which route I’d prefer, but I’m fine with either.

So, get ready. Let’s fucking hope. DAVID LEE ROTH! YOU GUYS!!!!

Update: It’s been pointed out to me since publishing this piece that DLR has an eight-show Las Vegas residency already planned for January and March 2020! An interesting twist regarding the prospects of a proper solo tour. The players in his band have not yet been announced.

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