VAN HALEN vocalist David Lee Roth recently spoke with Jackson of the Atlanta radio station Rock 100.5 about his upcoming residency in Las Vegas. The full conversation can be streamed below. A few excerpts follow (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET).
On preparing for the Las Vegas shows:
David: "I started getting ready for this show [four] months from now last October. You start to [prepare] yourself. You become a constant singer, whether you're [Mick] Jagger... Who else has a great voice that's new? [Adam] Lambert, singing with QUEEN. Constant singer. When he's not with the band, he's out on his own. [Lady] Gaga, Bruno Mars — constant singers. We are like boxers. Our whole body is what accounts for the effect. I'm not saying you spend any less time perfecting your instrument on a guitar or piano, but I am saying that it is relatively easier to play that instrument with a hangover."
On the show's format:
David: "I am Las Vegas. I include hard rock. I include classic rock. I include rodeo. I include Gaga. I include mud wrestling. I include UFC, mixed martial arts. Our music has been part of all of that. If you say David Lee Roth to anybody, I pretty much get the phone call answered at least the first time... This is interactive in its most basic sense. The experience is not just the music and the show — it starts with two pieces of key lime pie for breakfast. Who cares what Dr. Duffy told me? I'm having two Marlboro cigarettes and some of that [George] Clooney tequila — and that's your wife saying that. It includes, 'I'm up way past my bedtime on a school night,' and 'Who even cares where the kids are, much less, what they're doing?' Everything's better in Las Vegas because it's all is right there, and if you buy a better ticket, you can balance out the money by eating twice at the all-you-can-eat Elvis buffet right around the corner. It's a weekend. If you have a classic rock bias, oh my God — this is the oyster. We all struggled to get to this. This is not Rat Pack, Sinatra, Elvis b.s. This is the best place to hear and see any act again, whether it's Gaga — you can't get any more modern than that — or JOURNEY, who's right down the street on the same night. I haven't seen the show — I've seen the design, and I've seen everything in the building without the band — but AEROSMITH has over 200 speakers surrounding you in 360 degrees. You actually are in the pickup truck, and is actually is 1978... Our lights, our sound, you can see our faces. When was the last time you could see the faces of anybody in THE ROLLING STONES for less than $20,000 a ticket?... It's a weekend. This isn't like [going to] the local arena... You're getting on a plane or a bus, or you're tanking up gas and you're caravaning, and in that sense, it starts to become [like] there's a little bit of Woodstock. There's a little bit of Kerouac's 'On The Road'. There's a little bit of 'Road Trip'. There's a little bit of 'Animal House' that goes into this... David Lee Roth is Vegas, baby. We include it all. I don't care if you're wearing a cowboy hat or a motorcycle helmet. I don't care if you look like Tarzan, wear big muscles — or your husband does too."
On whether he has any favorite rock musicians of "today's time":
David: "What kind of rock? Today, rock is 15 different categories. BRING ME THE HORIZON on the Turbo [SiriusXM satellite radio] channel is very different than all my favorite '70s classic rock bands. VAN HALEN was a construct of QUEEN, [David] Bowie, [THE] WHO, [LED] ZEPPELIN, [THE ROLLING] STONES, but most of those acts were acoustic. Think back to it, probably easily two-third of Jimi Hendrix, though he's famous for 'Foxy Lady' and burning the guitar, were acoustic guitars. Today, Ed Sheeran kills it with his one guitar and a loop station. That's an interesting way to go, sort of like busking on the corner via electronic means."
On how he thinks rock fans have changed over time:
David: "Rock fans today are more likely to have dreadlocks, a Filipino girlfriend, an Italian Vespa, smoking grape-flavored pot that was grown by an African-American Samoan who is an expert at electronic games and speaks perfect Swahili because his dad was a missionary. It's just endless. There is no one given template. We used at things and go 'white,' 'male,' 'middle-class'... I get it. That's Bob the pool guy and Joe the gardener, but today, that's all Spanish-speaking, all very different, and there is no bigger rock fan market for guitarra and baterías than Hispanic. VAN HALEN had a huge, and always has, a huge Hispanic following. Even when I went solo and I did stuff like 'California Girls', I'd go down and lip-sync 'California Girls' to 40,000 people... that's a universal audience."
Roth's residency at the House Of Blues at Las Vegas's Mandalay Bay kicks off on January 8.