David Lee Roth kicked off Season 2 of his online webcast series ‘The Roth Show’ with another free-form discussion, this time on how a wildly varied set of childhood influences ultimately shaped his time in Van Halen. The video is embedded above.
The nearly 45-minute episode, titled ‘The New York City Way,’ turned on the always-ebullient frontman’s discussions of an imaginary play — starring Roth, of course — that begins with a Frank Sinatra-inspired version of Van Halen’s No. 1 hit ‘Jump.’ Leaving aside that bit of weirdness (let’s just say, at the end, there is a talking Elvis Presley poster), the show does include a few intriguing tidbits for fans.
“When I was jumping off the drum riser and touching my toes,” Roth says at one point, “I was imitating the Berry Brothers launching themselves over an invariable number of balcony railings and stairwells.” The Berrys were an acrobatic dance group that memorably starred in the 1941 film ‘Lady Be Good.’ And so it goes, through a wildly divergent string of impactful moments from Roth’s youth — none of them the usual classic-rock suspects. “It always makes me smile when people assume I’m imitating Mick Jagger and the fellow who sang for Led Zeppelin,” he adds.
Roth begins, in fact, by admitting that he cribbed a key scene from Van Halen’s ‘Panama’ video — the one where each band member is seen swinging over the stage on an extended rope — from the long-ago production of ‘Peter Pan’ starring Mary Martin. “I never told them where I got the idea,” Roth says. “Careful what you show your kids.”
Of course, in the meantime, there are the usual stream-of-consciousness ramblings from Roth, who somehow works in cowboy movies, Andy Warhol and a segment on old-time radio (complete with an imitation of an AM announcer) along the way.