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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 (opens in new tab) says he structured the majority of Van Halen (opens in new tab)’s self-titled 1978 debut album.

Diamond Dave was speaking with Missouri radio station KSHE 95 (opens in new tab) about his 2020 Las Vegas residency (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab).

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

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Van Halen: The Japanese Singles 1978-1984 (opens in new tab)
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 looks after and updates Louder’s online buyer’s guides and also scouts out the best deals for music fans from every corner of the internet. He's spent more than 28 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014, where he wrote extensively about rock, metal, prog and more, before moving to the eCommerce team full-time in 2020. Scott has previous written for publications including IGN, Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky.