Enlarge Van Halen at Madison Square Garden, 2012. Photo credit: Jacqueline Cheng for MetalSucks.

David Lee Roth Says Eddie Van Halen Probably Won’t Tour Again


David Lee Roth has been spending his Covid isolation painting. The “comics,” as he calls them, are single-pane drawings with a dose of humor often related to what he calls “the corona.” Here are a few examples of his brightly-colored works, which feature typically David Lee Roth-ian musings:

Roth’s artwork is the focus of a new interview piece in The New York Times. Naturally the subject at one point turned to Van Halen, but the world’s foremost heavy metal Bar Mitzvah band leader is not optimistic their namesake guitarist will ever return to road.

Eddie Van Halen’s throat cancer has been a topic of recent rumors, with Roth not so subtly proclaiming last October that “Van Halen’s finished.” In the Times piece, Roth keeps his cards with regards to Eddie’s health close to the chest, but he doesn’t seem to think Eddie is suited for the physical challenges of touring.

First, on his own health, and how the 65-year-old has been isolating because he considers himself at “high risk:”

“The road will deteriorate you from the beginning or it will keep you alive forever. When we go out, we wear ourselves to a nubbin. I just had a lower back surgery. It was a spinal fusion where they take a chip from somebody else. I’m actually taller now. Do I seem taller? I mean, over the phone?”

Asked whether or not Van Halen will ever tour again, he answered:

“I don’t know that Eddie is ever really going to rally for the rigors of the road again. I don’t even want to say I’ve waited — I’ve supported for five years. Because what I do is physical as well as musical and spiritual — you can’t take five years off from the ring. But I did. And I do not regret a second of it. He’s a band mate. We had a colleague down. And he’s down now for enough time that I don’t know that he’s going to be coming back out on the road. You want to hear the classics? You’re talking to him.”

Roth had an extensive run booked with his solo band opening for Kiss that would’ve lasted through much of 2020, but alas, that’s been axed.

Asked whether his artwork will ever be offered for sale, Roth pivoted back into his eventual return to live music:

“In terms of what I really do for a living, as soon as the B-list — that’s Beyoncé, Bono and Bruce [Springsteen] — say it’s OK, I’ll be back singing and dancing and selling you T-shirts. But in the interim, I am drawing and painting every night. And the fact that there’s an audience for it is quite a tickle. So of course I’ll make it available. You bet. I just didn’t see it coming. [Laughs] But like my sister says, I seem to miss the big stuff.”

The time is right for a proper solo David Lee Roth tour, so once it’s deemed safe I’ll be there with open arms and a kippah on my head.

Read the full interview here.

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