David Lee Roth Tickets for Sale

Given the snowballing success of Van Halen during the early 1980s, many rock fans were shocked when high-kicking frontman David Lee Roth left the band to go solo in 1985. The much-publicized split followed the release of Roth's initial EP, CRAZY FROM THE HEAT, which featured cheeky covers of "California Girls" and "Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody" and showcased the vocalist's wacky humor. Recruiting a backing band that included guitar ace Steve Vai and bass hero Billy Sheehan, Roth released the full-length EAT 'EM AND SMILE in 1986 just as Van Halen unleashed their first Sammy Hagar-led album, 5150. Although Roth's career slumped after the mid-1980s, the mercurial singer decided to turn the Roth/Hagar rivalry into a profit on a joint 2003 tour...without, of course, the rest of Van Halen.

Say what you want about Eddie Van Halen's groundbreaking guitar playing, Diamond Dave was the heart and soul of Van Halen (the band). After he left, both suffered, but for a minute there it seemed as if he might surpass his former band mates. In Van Halen, Roth's big mouth, leering, mock carnal presence and over-the-top macho posturing crossed with a Broadway show tune sensibility to give the band the sexiness and outsized sense of fun that completely disappeared when Van Halen carried on with Sammy Hagar. Roth started his solo career while still in Van Halen, cutting the covers EP Crazy From the Heat (1985), which featured the hit singles "California Girls" and "Just a Gigolo." On Roth's first two post-Van Halen records he had a heavy-hitting core band, featuring budding guitar hero Steve Vai, superbassist Billy Sheehan (later of Mr. Big fame), and Maynard Ferguson alumni, drummer Greg Bissonette. Eat 'Em and Smile (1986) and Skyscraper (1988) were both multiplatinum hits, featuring plenty of heavy guitar bluster and Roth's patented "Ethel Merman of Hard Rock" persona. His subsequent records were not really as popular; his star went into something of a descent, culminating with a bust for buying weed in N.Y.C.'s Washington Square Park. There was also the embarrassing announcement that he was rejoining Van Halen, which proved not to be the case. However stalled his career may seem, he can take pride in knowing that he has never worked with (Hagar's replacement) Gary Cherone.
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By 1996, Van Halen had parted ways with Hagar, leading to an onslaught of rumors that a Roth/Van Halen reunion was in the works. The rumor appeared to become reality on September 4, 1996, when Van Halen and Roth appeared together at the MTV Video Music Awards in New York to present an award. Despite the fact that they had recorded several new songs the previous summer (two of which would appear on their forthcoming Best Of: Vol. 1 collection), the reunion was short-lived — Eddie and Roth got into a near fist fight backstage on the night of the awards show, as relations soured once again when it became known that Van Halen tricked Roth into thinking that he was back in the band (meanwhile, they had secretly hired ex-Extreme singer Gary Cherone a few months prior).

Undeterred, Roth penned a tell-all biography, 1997's Crazy From the Heat, and issued his best solo album in years, 1998's back-to-basics DLR Band. When Cherone was dismissed from Van Halen in 1999 after only a single album (the horrific Van Halen III), rumors began swirling once again about a possible Roth/Van Halen reunion. With both camps keeping things very hush-hush, Roth finally broke the silence in April of 2001, issuing a statement on his website that he and his former Van Halen bandmates had indeed regrouped the previous year in the recording studio, but that he hadn't heard back from them in months. Barely a week later, Eddie Van Halen went public with the fact that he was diagnosed with cancer.