"He's complaining the entire tour like I’m not paying enough attention to him on stage": David Lee Roth launches bizarre attack on Wolfgang Van Halen, complete with comedy voices

Wolfgang Van Halen and David Lee Roth onstage
(Image credit: Aurban/Bauer-Griffin via Getty Images)

David Lee Roth has launched an audio recording in which he attacks Wolfgang Van Halen, son of the late Eddie Van Halen

The recording, originally entitled "This Fuckin' Kid" but later retitled "This Crazy Kid", appeared on Roth's official YouTube channel, and takes Wolfgang to task for alleged misbehaviour on Van Halen's North American Tour in 2015. 

The clip kicks off with an imaginary conversation between Roth and a squeaky-voiced 'Jesus Christ' character, during which Roth appears to suggest that Wolfgang only got the job with Van Halen because of nepotism. “Bro, I just want people to know I got this job because of my talent," says Jesus. "I woulda had this job anyway even if my dad wasn’t God."

Roth goes on to refer to Wolfgang as "this schlemiel kid" ('schlemiel' is a Yiddish word meaning a stupid, awkward, or unlucky person) in a lengthy speech in which he details the misdemeanours of the then-24-year-old bassist.

"This fuckin' kid, he’s complaining the entire tour like I’m not paying enough attention to him on stage," says Roth. "Like Santa Claus coming down the chimney and popping out on Christmas with nobody paying attention. Shalom to the dome, homie. I’m giving him the best. Everything I’ve got in front of twenty, thirty thousand people at a clip, and he’s complaining to everybody around me – the business manager, the security guy, the clothing lady – ‘Dave’s not paying enough attention to me.’ 

"Cut to New York City. Glamorous, glistening, shimmering New York City, and we’re at Jones Beach with twenty thousand of my closest friends. I walk out into the middle of the stage and I’m gonna do Ice Cream Man, and I’m testifying to the brothers, Eddie and Al, ‘Man, this is how many times we’ve played New York. This is spectacular.’ 

"And what I don’t know is this kid, this schlemiel kid, has commandeered a couple of monkeys to go in back, behind my back, over to the side of the stage and throw out these two great dames that I invited to be my guests to the show. And these dames are in their forties, okay? Business women. 

"In fact, you aren’t gonna believe this shit. This fuckin' kid, what he doesn’t know is that these two dames work for the accounting firm that represent him, not me. But as usual, he, just like his uncle and his uncle’s brother, stiffed them for tickets. I know they’re gonna do that, so I got ahead of things and I give them tickets. 

"I put ’em way off to the side. And I’m not talking about Mötley Crüe groupies here. This is the real deal. And they’re both carrying big satchel purses, right? Like Gucci. Here we go. And he throws them out of the building. He’s teaching me a lesson. What this fuckin' kid doesn’t know, they’re carrying the pay cheques for all 82 people on the road crew."

Roth goes on to claim that a similar incident happened at the band's final show of the tour, at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

"Wolfie Van Halen’s gonna teach me a lesson by throwing out what he thinks is my girlfriend," says Roth. "But guess what? Not only is this an accountant again, and not only is she carrying the pay cheques for 82 of us on the road crew, but she’s carrying cash bonuses for everybody there. You may wanna pull over on this next one; you’re gonna pee your pants. Remember New York City? It’s the same fuckin' lady!”

It's unclear what prompted Roth's attack. In 2022, Wolfgang told Rolling Stone, "I don’t like to speak negatively about people, but there are some people that make it very difficult to do anything when it comes to Van Halen... There was always some stuff that gets in the way from just making music and having a good time."

Last year, Wolfgang told Classic Rock how Van Halen’s final album A Different Kind Of Truth could have featured a song with the working title Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Panama – because it captured the vibe of both songs – but that Roth scuppered the plans.

Van Halen's 1993 live album Live: Right Here, Right Now – starring the Sammy Hagar-fronted version of the bandwill be released as a 4LP black vinyl set next month. It's available to pre-order now

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.