Kim Lyons of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review interviewed former VAN HALEN frontman David Lee Roth regarding his new gig as a radio DJ, taking over the coveted morning drive time slot vacated by Howard Stern. Diamond Dave talked about the radio show, his job as an emergency medical technician in New York City, cheekless pants and pretty much everything else on his mind. The question-and-answer session follows:
Q: Howard Stern had a pretty risque format, to put it mildly. How much do you think your show will resemble his?
David: Not at all. I'm not even remotely close to Stern. I'm not a humorist; I'm not a comic; I'm not a comedian. My sense of humor has teeth — that makes me perfect for the inner city. Just like you, I'm a (expletive) cynic. You'll never get tired of listening to me speak your mind.
Q: So you won't be going just for laughs.
David: The difference between me and a comedian, I don't try — comedians are desperate for the funny. With me, you either get it or you didn't.
Q: It sounds like you have a plan of how you want things to go, but not a schedule, or a format, true?
David: It will be completely my way and not resemble anything that's ever been on the radio. What other voice can ingratiate and infuriate the liberal arch left — of which I am a card-carrying member — and the NASCAR nation — of which I am a card-carrying member?
Q: What's the latest VAN HALEN news? Do you still talk to those guys?
David: I talked to the drummer (Alex Van Halen) about a week ago. And I think, eventually, the inevitable will happen.
Q: You mean a reunion?
David: Sure. And it definitely won't be rockers with walkers. Getting onstage and singing "Dance the Night Away" — let me tell you how difficult that isn't going to be. When people bring up VAN HALEN, I talk about it with pride and with no apprehension at all. I play those songs all the time.
Q: Not to get too off-topic, but is it true that you've been working as an emergency medical technician in New York?
David: I got my badge about year and a half ago, and I've worked in all five boroughs, mainly at night. I speak fluent Spanish, so I am often sent where that is an asset. I've seen this city from the inside out. How many other DJs do you know have delivered a baby? I'm on my fourth.
Q: What are you hoping to do with the radio show?
David: Every fourth week, we're going to up and move wherever — whether it's the Grammys or the Superbowl — all the bastions of sin and degradation.
Q: Including Pittsburgh, of course.
David: Absolutely. I am going to visit everywhere we play on the air. It's a performance, after all.
Q: Your, um, unique background will serve you well on the radio, then?
David: It's curious what qualifies both Stern and myself to do the same job. He's a family man who has spent the last 20 years in a small little studio and did quite well. I've spent the last 30 years leading a life of crime and international intrigue, so perhaps I'm overqualified.
Q: Will you be wearing those cheekless pants on the air? And, how will we know?
David: Let's face it, I look better in (cheekless) chaps than Al Franken ever (expletive) would.
Q: And what do you think will keep people tuning in every morning?
David: I'll tell people this: it'll give them a good reason to slap a little bourbon in their coffee. You'll get a bottomless cup of attitude, and the second one's free.