David Lee Roth ‘Struggles’ Revealed, Will It Hurt Van Halen Reunion?

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With rumors continuing to swirl of a possible Van Halen original lineup reunion, there’s a mix of excitement and cautious optimism from the fans about the state of David Lee Roth’s vocals.  After a caller complained on a recent Eddie Trunk SiriusXM show about Van Halen not caring about their fans by claiming the band are weaker with Roth singing, citing he was never great to begin with, Trunk did agree to an extent that Roth never did have a great voice and has had ‘struggles,’ though he credited his ability as a showman for why he’s a great frontman.

Trunk: “And he talked about, in my opinion, and I agree with him, how brutal Van Halen can sound live because of Dave’s inabilities and deficiencies as a singer and whatever else and he did point out that that live in Japan record which made a lot of news at the time that it came out, not for the reasons you’d want-because the vocal was so rough.”

Trunk then continues along the vein of thinking that the 2015 live Japan record Van Halen: Tokyo Dome Live in Concert was not Van Halen at its best.  It was unadorned with the overdubbing and touching up of so many other rock albums that have been released for generations.  Giving credit to Roth and Van Halen, Eddie explains that they could have easily hidden the sub-par performance but released it as is.  But Trunk respects that the album is not loved by critics for a roundabout reason:

“If you are a Van Halen fan and you know Dave struggles singing, would you rather hear him for what he is today vocally and know that it is all real or would you rather have him sing into a track and make it sound better?”  “In a sort of sick way, I respect how Van Halen put that live record out.”

Trunk then ponders if Van Halen needed to sure up their sound live with pre-recorded help though he thinks he nor the band would prefer that over just retiring instead:

Trunk: “If it’s that bad, stop playing live. Do something else.”  

Getting back to Roth as a singer, Trunk unloaded:

Trunk: “David Lee Roth was never a good singer live.  It was never about that with him. Not even close.  If you’re younger and you didn’t see Van Halen in the early days and you think there was ever a time Van Halen and David Lee Roth sounded like he did on those records, you’re dreaming.  He always sounded like that.  He got by on the fact that he was the ringleader of the party and that he was all over the stage and a great frontman and a great looking guy and all that.   He never got by on his vocals live, never.” 

He concludes the portion of the show by saying that fans should be cautiously optimistic and should “be careful for what they wish for” finishing with a final philosophy:

“To me, you do it as well as you can, as long as you can, know when to get out, know when you stayed too long at the party.”

  • Jack hammer

    Very well said..

  • Mike Sherwood

    I agree, I’ve tried to find some decent live Van Halen with DLR and there is not 1 where he doesn’t forget the words and every one sounds like crap. Let me try!

    • djbigf

      It’s the truth. If there was a good enough performance they would have put a live album out. He was just all over the damned place…couldn’t even fix it in the studio.

      • michaelagilchrease

        playing live is a sob.you gotta be on feel good have a good day before be confident….then the ego takes over….then history then are we in tune then are the monitors working correctly then is that my WIFE OH DEAR…and on and on….we all get old…thats the fun of it

  • Tim Palmer

    A: Reunion probably not happening… Mikey made it sound that way.
    B: If it is… do it the way Sammy suggested, have all the singers there, play the songs in order with the original singers — everybody gets something.

  • Mike C

    Trunk is a Sammy nut sniffer. That’s pretty much all you need to know before reading the “tainted” article!!

    • Marlin Seras Bolero

      Lol, nut sniffer.

    • michaelagilchrease

      haha i know that type…gee got a job doing it…wow

    • allanfry

      Sammy kills Roth live and in the studio. If you can’t comprehend that you’re an idiot.

    • David Garrett

      Bullshit. Eddie gums those nuts and you know it. Lol

  • blackandwhiteohana

    This is a shit article.

  • Good as Gold

    I saw the 1980 Invasion Tour and there wasn’t an issue with DLR’s voice during that show. So early in his singing career he was just fine. Later, not so much, but that’s his fault for not doing anything for years. He probably needs a vocal coach and a backing track at this stage of his career which everyone else does in their 60’s out there performing.

    • michaelagilchrease

      by 1979 all the big rock stars were either going to die or go on and vh was one of those bands that carried that rock and roll spirit from the old burns of the 70s to now..people dont know that real rock and roll almost died….so much other music became popular that the guitar based rock band was almost done….dave and the band rolled it right through…..so any effort today is appreciated and loved by US OLD SOBS THAT CAN STILL CUT A HEAD OR TWO..GOOD STUFF ED…BRAVE TOO.

  • Bk native

    Dave never did have a great voice BUT there’s definitely a noticeable difference between his vocals in the old days compared to now! Van Halen was my 2nd concert when I was a kid. Saw the Fair Warning tour at MSG. Back then.. Though his voice wasn’t great he definitely could carry a tune in concert and his performing was so top notch that there were few bands as exciting as them at the time. After hearing his vocals these last few years and seeing clips of them in concert and on TV shows.. I don’t know how he isn’t embarrassed to get up there and attempt to sing. Though I never got into Van Hagar.. At least Sammy can sing his ass off. Only problem is the tunes and their overall sound went way downhill compared to the earlier Roth years. I’d still go IF they reunite with Michael but I’d pray Dave would get off his high horse and get some serious vocal coaching and do the practice that he so badly needs to do. He can’t jump off the risers, do splits and go flying through the air anymore so he really needs to get in tune and get some range going on with his vocals since his performing nowadays is average at best. I’d rather see Sammy solo than with Van Halen cause the tunes just don’t have the same bite or balls like the old tunes.. In my humble opinion! I do hope the reunion happens.. But it’ll be pretty freakin sad if Dave does nothing to improve his vocals! He needs a solid 6 months to a year of every day coaching and learning how to properly warm up, practice, relearn all the songs and put the work in that it’s gonna take to sound just halfway decent. Either that.. Or turn his mic down and kick up the bass which was always buried to begin with and get Michael singing as much as possible!

  • 19842012

    If I knew this was a Trunk article I wouldn’t have clicked on it. He is not a classic VH fan, so he is the only one with ‘struggles’, when it comes to Dave.

  • Marlin Seras Bolero

    DLR is Van Halen. He will always be their best. But… he should retire because he absolutely cannot sing anymore. I mean he is truly embarrassing now.

    • Raj

      Yup saw them live 3 times the last time Roth forgot lyrics was mumbling and incoherent.

      • michaelagilchrease

        try hearing a bob dylan acoustic song in the middle of 90000 drunk fking dumbasses…all talking about how they fking loved fking bob dylan….it was the suck show of all time…mud and all

        • sharkguitar

          Dylan, Keith Richards and Tom Waits are thinking of putting together a new version of the Three Tenors. Roth, Hagar and the other guy should do a C,S,N, tribute band. Bigly.

    • michaelagilchrease

      i thought his tour with steve vai was outrageously good at the time..their show blew away many….a great duo

  • Stephen Crawford

    Sure Van Halen haven’t produced anything decent in decades, big fan of their pre Sammy Hagar stuff, no interest in them anymore, what has Eddie done of interest since then?

  • Chris Michaud

    Roth’s live voice at his peak was awesome. He may have forgotten to sing often, but when he did, he sounded great… Not at all like today.

    • michaelagilchrease

      I THINK EDDIE NEEDS TO RELIVE THAT OLD BAND…AT ONE TIME VAN HALEN WAS THE BEST FOUR PIECE ROCK UNIT THERE WAS…..NEW SONGS GREAT FEELS JUST THOSE FOUR CHAPS….TAKE OUT THE EGOS AND THE HISTORY OF BAD VIBES…THE ROOT IS THERE..AGE IS ANOTHER STORY

  • Egg Man

    Everybody was so caught up in listening to Eddies playing that little attention was given to Roth.
    I saw Van Halen in New Haven ct. when they did their live album, Live without a net, best fking show I have seen in a long time, yes it was Hagar and they rock the house out.
    The Band has had its ups and downs, Eddie with his drug abuse and then all the different singers and bullshit that followed the band throughout its inception just proved that Van Halen is still Van Halen no matter who the members are, I just think that Eddie loves playing and is willing to compromise some bad vocals so he can be in the spotlight doing what he does best.
    I’m hoping that Van Halen can do one more tour with all the original band members, I would be open to both Roth and Hagar on the same venue, I think it would be very receptive.

  • Etickets

    I saw them perform live front center after their first album came out. They were opening for Aerosmith and I think wanted to put on a tight show which they absolutely did. I don’t recall any issues whatsoever with Dave’s voice compared to the songs on the album. I am glad I got to see them early on, before Dave started clowning around so much on stage in later years (forgetting lyrics, stopping songs in the middle to blab, etc)

    • michaelagilchrease

      saw them in new orleans before the doobie brothers then the stones….their first big fat tour…they were sharp electric quick powerful…blew both the doobies and stones clean out the superdome down canal off the docks into the river down the river out TO THE GULF OF MEXICO…..big place…the superdome…on acid its pretty big…….real big…..

      • RJ

        Heard they took Sabaths lunch money too.

  • jed

    in 2007 in Charlotte NC, either the first or 2nd show of their reunion show, Diamond Dave still had it in spades….see if you can find I’m the one in HD …its incredible…however, very fast he’s slid so far and away from it, it isn’t good anymore….They should keep Dave for studio work, like A Different kind of Truth, and let some of those DLR soundalikes out in LA take over the live show….no harm in using someone else’e vitality to communicate the power of the band which never lost it’s seasoning in any latter recording that I’ve heard…Journey did it, for Christ they got Dio as a hollogram which is cool, being true to the art they created, no one would diss on VH for getting someone else out front doing vocals…

    • Mike C

      The guy from Steel Panther… anyone but Sammy ?

    • djbigf

      Yes true. The Philly date was right after those shows and Dave was on his game.

  • Jeffrey

    I like Van Halen, but the live from Japan recordings I heard were crap. Sadly.

    • michaelagilchrease

      EVER HEARD EARLY ZEP? IM TALKING TOTAL KRAP SCRECHING THINGS WITH METAL SHIT….HAHA EVER HEARD EARLY DOORS OR EARLY BEATLES…KRAP TOTAL KRAP…so most bands unless very practiced sound like KRAP WITHOUT THE BOXES AND COMPUTERS

  • robert curtis

    There will never be another D.L.roth concert if van halen has any respect for its fans ,but they have already shown they only care about making cash and screw a good show. I have seen 3 van halen shows the US Fest stands out as to how these guys feel about the fans. I am just finishing there first managers book WOW WOW what they did ti Micheal Anthony was beyond belief they made him a n employee during the 1984 album much sooner than they ever let on. And the drugs and alcohol and women were all they thought about thats according to his book ed was flying his coke man all over the world to get his drugs just sad. Then there was the d.l.r California Girls and a couple tracks that he had ripped off from others like there first 2 albums. Micheal Anthony says he has not talked with any of them in years and rightly so. Then theres wolfie van halen. has already said hes retiring lol. I would give away a ticket if they were ever to try to let this CLOWN sing again. After Sammy 2004 concert I would never see him sing as van halen again that show was awful and Sammy says so.I think its lucky they built a wall between them when they took the stage because Sammy would have taken eddie head off his dad was a boxer and tought him how to box while eddie was an alcoholic drug drug addict and told them he gave up his wife and child so he could do what he wanted read Sammy book as well. There first manager said cash flowed like water through there hands on drugs. Very sad drugs alcohol took what could have been a great rock band with Sammy singing and writing .All van halen fans need to tell them no good singer no tour.

    • Mike C

      I’m so glad Sammy burnt that bridge for ever. I’m so sick of that Ronald McDonald crybaby begging and getting his fan boi nut sniffers all wound up.

      The fans have decided already who they like better and it ain’t the Hagar era which kept the band apart during their prime so we could hear those lame ass “How do I know when it love “ sissy boi music that doesn’t last the test of time.

      Van Hagar live sucked on its best day because you did’t get to hear Van Halen’s best material. The Classic Material.

      If I had a time machine: I would kill Hitler, and keep Sammy out of VH

      F Sammy!!!

      • robert curtis

        One of the best show in all the years i have been going to concerts was that first concert tour they did with Sammy he played guitar while climbing a one foot one hand ladder and it let eddie play keyboard while Sammy played guitar. Best van halen show out of the 3 I saw now no amount of money could get me in a concert seat with roth talking where he should be singing. They have a bad habit of throwing away people after they use them up there first manager,Gary Cherone, Sammy Hagar,Michael Anthony, and anyone else they could get over on mostly the fans. Its bad when your own son says I quit,at least thats what I read. They either need to find a great singer or throw in the towel because after reading the reviews of roths caterwauling what one reviewer called it and none had anything to say good about roth other than he stopped running his big mouth. There first manager said ed could spend money in his sleep almost implying he spent with no thought as to where more was coming from. One thing he made clear is edward was the only great musician in the band all the rest were average at best but then coke and Vodka has dropped that a notch or 2. van halen never again no matter who sings or caterwauling they need cash let then write a book because there music career is hitting the skids.

      • michaelagilchrease

        sammy…only sammy could make an album of 3 chord songs and it be good…..but sammy is not eddie is not sammy so no go….both fat heads…so fat the fat is fatter than the fat……NO BENDS PLEASE…..

    • michaelagilchrease

      i know ten guys that can blow eddie away….i know a hundred guys that can play better than all of them…..they all paint houses and wait tables….so the money> the drugs? haha that why they did it..not for you or some big boobed mom…..and eddie putting dave out was good…i like the fk ups as a life long musician i enjoy the REALITY OF THE WORLD NOT THE NEED for SOMEONE ELSE TO SERVE ME MY DUE…..ive seen suck butt shows of big names…..vh has never let me down even when dave made up words and we all laughed….he owes us nothing so even the slurs and YEAs are good..PRISONERS MUMBLE AND PISS THEIR CLOTHES…brother

      • Randy Silv

        John 5 is just one example. Look his guitar doodle posts up on Instagram.

      • robert curtis

        At this point I dont care if they have a dog barking out just as go as roth these guys and I use that term loosely lol can play to fools with cash to burn just not me no matter who is singing talking or whatever roth calls that. When they get low on cash I dont care who is the front thing they will be out there to get that fat cash from fools that have no ideal what a great rock show looks like. I saw U2 at the US Fest best show of the 2 of 3 I saw besides David Bowie. After reading Running with the Devil and Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock I now understand just how stupid these people are. There first manager had a sponsorship deal for a million and a quarter but roth without talking to anyone else said no either Marlboro or Levis and all they had to do is put the company logo on there shirts and not even that big of a logo. Then there was Cabo Wabo the brothers wanted money back from Sammy so he payed them off put hundred grand in and has made nothing but profit out of the bar .These then sold off all there merchandising plant that brought in hundred of thousand dollars a year on t-shirts hats ect. They are stupid and lazy and dont deserve any more from the fans no cash no tours nothing. eddie can make his 60 million last till his liver or heart blow up from the drugs and alcohol. They could not even be bothered with showing up to the hall of fame ceremony but the 2 smart people did and the funny part is Michael Anthony has as much cash as eddie thats laughable when they cut him out of all the real cash in 1984 again they are stupid and lazy. Hope to never hear another song of there’s since all i hear is roth no Sammy songs almost ever. They have a one track mind give me your money and we might give you an average show at best. This is my last post on these idiots.

  • USPatriot

    You are now listening to the music without being all effed up.

    I could care less it is still awesome music.

  • USPatriot

    I use to know a guy that was backstage during ozzy concerts , he had a mic to hit the high notes for ozzy

    • Bill Lange

      That’s been happening since Blizzard of Oz, where have you been?

    • michaelagilchrease

      ozzy rules for the bastard english wagg talk..now as he tries to sing he naturally gets dizzy thats why he wanders around stage like hes on the top of a big ballon….and for the five shows ive seen him IVE NEVER HEARD ONE GOD DAMN COHERENT WORD FROM THE MTHERFKER..and it was expensive too.

      • USPatriot

        Same guy has done it for a long time

      • Ms. P

        on top of having a Brummy accent…

  • USPatriot

    I would rather pay to see dlr and vh in concert. Than the fake lip sync concerts like brittany spears kids get.

    • Raj

      I’ve seen VH three times first two times awesome last time terrible, Roth was mumbling and forgot the lyrics he embarrassed himself out there. He was out breath.

    • michaelagilchrease

      what is THAT SHIT ALL ABOUT?? FREAKING EVERY BIG STAR DOES THAT NOW> HOW CHEAP IS THAT? I WANT REAL GUITAR AND BASS….

  • Ryan

    Ridiculous Roth is the man. Trunk is a van hagar guy. Kick rocks.

    • michaelagilchrease

      does he ware hagar slacks…and have a good bank job….dave is the king……EVERYBODY WANTS SOME

  • Bill Lange

    There’s a reason that DLR has ALWAYS recorded his vocals in the studio one line at a time…HE HAS NO VOICE!! He proves it every time he tries to sing live.

  • disqus_nNOwtzuLUv

    Dave was great in his prime. I don’t care about the voice because he put on a good show. Now he can’t do either very well. Can’t blame him for trying but its just kinda sad. A least he’s a little more humble now and seems like a better person inside than I previously believed. He’s a dog lover so how bad can he be?

    • michaelagilchrease

      back then everyone had a big ego..big hair big cars…dave was over indulgent and his voice was just that to us all…its eddies band so whatever quarrel was justified…and as we grow old we lose alot..its the effort we all like to see…and yes many didnt make it just because they partied too hard….that dave…almost burn to a crisp but a nice crackly crunch……and its an athletic thing to do a show a big workout…..he may have a bit of damage..ie brain scar slowing him down….but the pity isnt needed…..youll see what i mean in say 40 years…..good luck!!

      • disqus_nNOwtzuLUv

        Didn’t intend to give an ounce of pity. Just an acknowledgement of the reality of getting older and love for the guy. I am within a year of his age.

  • michaelagilchrease

    most people dont get it..they think they know what good is when its only their pea brains that can muster up reasons why someone is not….sinatra had a great voice a great move….so was he good…today rock fans would certainly fall asleep at a old blue eyes solo…..but all singers age be it for good or bad..id pay to see dave sing with vh, and i would pay to see the eagles or springbrian or elton..sting perhaps…but its about the drive the will to get the song done…dave is owed respect whatever die hard vh fans say..let them get up and pipe a few out…and the mess ups and misses are good to the experienced ear…they are not gods..i say gilmour miss a singing note in front of 50000 adoring eyes and ears…i was even with him from the side about 40 feet away…as he missed the note he turned hes eyes away from the lights…looked down away abit with a bit of a smile although as a pro was probably quite miffed…and without missing a bar went into the rest of the vocal..almost like it was supposed to be….ie even a pros mistakes can make the whole show..that why die hard fans..the real conuessuers ..would take an ear and hear daves efforts…

  • andrew f

    This is BS…I can name 5 guys right now who suck way more than Roth does. There’s uhh…ok, wait, gimme a second..oh, I know, what about the guy from…what were they called? Dammit…well, I can’t think of their names right now, but…Anyway, my point is that lots of guys suck worse than Roth, I just can’t think of anyone..

  • Benjamin Livingston

    David Lee Roth said, “We Rock New England
    Monn” What is Van Halen without Diamond Lee David Roth?” They are brutal. Toughen Up. That is just the way it is…face the facts…face the truth…face to face We are The Americans…Bitches on the silver screen. But its Van Halen its ROCK plain and simple shut up and play we take our seats let Eddie, Michael, David and Alex take the floor.

  • bill berdixman

    Dave IS the grave for Val Halen…RIP

  • Thomas Farr

    I think Van Halen should do a Vegas Residency where they can perfect their show in one smaller indoor casino venue. Dave will sound better and they won’t be traveling. Less stress and they can fly home if they want on days off. Also I’m not opposed for them to add Sceams and back vocals from early recording in the show. It’s Vegas. And they could go all out on a cover of Beat It and California Girls. They would sound way better and be a crowd pleaser

  • Rob-L

    I’ve been a VH fan since I was a kid in the 70s. I love that band to this day but, it’s over people. They’re not doing anything, they’re not going to do anything. The last line of the article sums it up “To me, you do it as well as you can, as long as you can, know when to get out, know when you stayed too long at the party.” – The party is over for VH. They know it, we know it. Move on.

  • RJ

    DLR and EVH ,together,opened my eyes as a young music lover. Maybe I am nostalgic, but I loved the original line up.

  • luckless pedestrian

    And then there was Van Hagar…

  • allanfry

    Never could understand them splitting with Sammy Hagar. Hagar kills Roth live …. PERIOD! and I have seen both.

  • Freddy

    Its Rock and Roll David Lee Roth or NO Van Halen Tour in 2019……

  • Simons mom

    I saw VH in 1978 In Binghamton NY. They were F’ing AMAZING. David Lee Roth was just indescribable. I will never forget it. Was 15 years old and snuck to go. I am so glad I did.
    BTW David Lee is an extremely intelligent, determined and grounded and articulate guy. Watch Joe Rogan’s 3 hour interview. It will change your view of him forever if you didn’t already know all this info about him.
    Why he’s forgetting lyrics now is beyond me because he is a life long hard core learner. What he has accomplished and still continues to do precludes his brain being shot to the point where lyrics would be an issue. He does nothing 1/2 ass so I don’t know. I have seen him sort of do the same thing though and I wonder if there is some eccentric reason for it.
    Also, I feel for the guy because he was so use to doing all those gymnastics on stage that he just can’t help himself still trying to do those kicks.
    This guy is and always has been deep down a CLASS ACT. Even young and stoned he was always learning, always practicing, always on a determined path.
    If you doubt me at all, please watch Joe Rogans interview. It’s an eye opener.
    He also has the utmost respect for people and I quote as they spoke about all the people he responded to as an EMT he stated “there is not I time I sing that they are not with me in my voice”. I mean this guy is not shallow as many of us thought.

  • I’m not sure how everyone is missing the obvious – VH songs are EASY to sing, studio or live. It’s not that DLR can’t do a better job live, it’s that he’s not even trying. That’s what’s so offensive about this train wreck called Van Halen.

  • Richard A Ferguson

    Bullshit i saw him on the fair warning tour 80s he sounded Great.

  • dahszil

    Preface : this comment herein is merely my opinion . hate it, like it, have no opinion on it , fine. I still have the free speech to write it and have duly noted it is merely my opinion , and some anecdotes from others , but i cannot claim to be factual in the legal sense and thus i am not liable for slander or libel .

    Eddie Trunk is an idiot . What he means by a good singer is singing in high pitch all the time . That is not total singing . Roth was an excellent baritone , which was not Madison Avenue’s preference in the 70s to the early 90s . For most of that era, for the most part, even for radio and tv commercial male singers were either tenors and yes even countertenors(which sound like old monty python in drag skits talking or singing, lol ) and falsettos like Frank Sinatra era John Gary(although he was not always singing falsetto . Hey there Lonely Girl sung by Eddie Holman was a complete song in falsetto . On the B side you are amazed of how powerful Holman’s was singin his normal voice) . Though Roth also had that ability of wailing, screaming really high pitched . Wilson Pickett was also a baritone but had that same ability to scream really high which is rare for a baritone . Roth did a great version in bass/baritone of Satchmo’s old song “Im just a gigolo” . Satchmo = great pop and pure jazz great trumpet player Louis Armstrong . Although Armstrong by the time he made the big time in pop circles had a very raspy voice, gravely voice but people liked it . jmho , i thought Roth sang Gigolo better . but Satchmo was one of the greatest trumpet players ever that is for sure .

    If the hearsay and some articles state is true, then What I don’t like about Roth he has no regrets if he has uncared for, bastard children out there from his glam and hard rocker promiscuous sex days . As a person I feel Ted Nugent is much worse than Roth . Although Nugent did say he was sorry for screwing all these young females , but i think he said that just to save his own ass .

  • ck

    Dave did sound very much like the records and there are plenty of recorded live shows from their early album days (1977 1978 and so on) on you tube that show that. It is sad to see someone like Eddie Trunk also trying to pretend Sammy Hagar still has it, when he has clearly lost some of his voice as well.