David Lee Roth: I structured the guitar solos on Van Halen’s debut album

David Lee Roth
David Lee Roth (Image credit: Paul Bergen/Redferns - Getty)

David Lee Roth says he structured the majority of Van Halen’s self-titled 1978 debut album.

Diamond Dave was speaking with Missouri radio station KSHE 95 about his 2020 Las Vegas residency when he was asked if he had to ask permission from his Van Halen bandmates to play the band’s older tracks.

Roth replies: “No. I wrote the songs. I wrote every word you heard, every syllable, every melody. I structured even the guitar solos on that first album.

“Why do you think the solos later changed so radically? I sang the solos for Jamie’s Cryin' and Runnin' With The Devil etc…"

As for his upcoming Vegas dates with his backing band Horses Of God, Roth says: “We do not sound like Van Halen live – you have not heard this.

“Van Halen live is lead, bass, drums – here, we start with three or four guitars and we bring it with an unforgiving attitude. 

“We're not up here strumming with the devil, this is not some tribute band. I 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.’ And we take it with that attitude. We ain't talking about love.”

Roth will hold his residency at the city’s House Of Blues in January and March next year, and along with Van Halen tracks, Roth will also sprinkle the set with some of his best-loved solo work.

He’ll play on January 8, January 10-11, March 18, March 20-21, March 25 and March 27-28 and tickets are now on sale.

Roth last took part in a Vegas residency back in 1995 when he hooked up with the 14-piece Blues-Bustin’ Mambo Slammers.

Van Halen: The Japanese Singles 1978-1984

Van Halen: The Japanese Singles 1978-1984
This 13-disc collection of singles that were originally released for the Japanese market recently launched around the world, featuring classics including Jump and Panama.

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.