David Lee Roth 2019 Interview | Looking Back on Life

Last week, we released an interview with David Lee Roth from 1984. This week, we are releasing another Roth interview, but 35 years later. We go from the height of Roth’s Van Halen career to his twilight years. I believe this interview is one of the most honest and humble interviews he’s ever given; he speaks very candidly on many topics.

At the time of this interview in 2019, Roth was 65 years old and promoting his line of tattoo skin care products called Ink the Orginal. In the interview, Roth talks at great lengths about his parents and growing up, the beginning and ending with Van Halen, why he never got married, why he’s never happy, plus so much more.

The interview was conducted by Debbie Millman and was originally aired on her award-winning awesome podcast Design Matters. We are so grateful that Ms. Millman is allowing us to share one of the most insightful David Lee Roth interviews with you. Please use the link below and subscribe to her podcast.

Subscribe to Debbie Millan’s Design Matters:

00:00:00 – Intro to David Lee Roth interview
00:01:17 – Debbie Millman intro
00:02:19 – Start of David Lee Roth interview
00:02:47 – His Uncle Manny Roth
00:05:29 – His mother, Sibyl Roth, and her toughness on him
00:07:49 – Wearing leg braces as a kid
00:08:41 – His early jobs
00:09:34 – Where his youthful drive came from
00:11:14 – What the Roth family expected when they had get-togethers
00:12:29 – When he first realized he had a talent for singing
00:15:00 – Him being in plays as a child
00:16:11 – He tells where he really learned to sing from
00:18:59 – His parents threaten him with going to a foster home
00:19:16 – If “bad” Dave comes from his mother
00:21:08 – How he was taught to sing like the girls
00:22:43 – How many instruments he plays
00:23:25 – The first meeting with the Van Halen brothers
00:26:31 – Why he and the Van Halen brothers were crosstown rivals
00:28:26 – What inspired him to write music
00:30:57 – The near-death experience that chokes him up even today
00:34:38 – How much of his Playboy image is a story he was creating
00:37:15 – If he is confident he would make it in show business
00:37:33 – The idea of an album band
00:39:00 – An obscure Dutch radio reference
00:40:14 – Did they write Runnin’ with the Devil in 18 minutes
00:42:25 – Who are the best teachers and coaches
00:45:35 – When he has felt sorry for himself
00:46:45 – Why he hasn’t fallen into a lot of traps, other Rock and Rollers did
00:47:28 – Him stealing books
00:48:31 – What kept him from succumbing to drug abuse
00:49:55 – Where his ability to jump high comes from
00:53:46 – Why did he leave Van Halen in 1985
00:54:38 – Why didn’t he ever get married
00:56:44 – His ability to mimic others
00:58:54 – The teleplay he has been working on for three years
01:00:33 – Why his favorite audience is disbelieving nonbelievers
01:01:29 – Why he isn’t happy
01:02:14 – His window time
01:02:53 – How he’s always solving a catastrophe
01:05:12 – Why he decided to start Ink the Orginal
01:07:43 – Why take his life in this direction
01:09:41 – Tattoos today
01:12:11 – The process of making his product
01:13:53 – How the business is doing
01:14:22 – The difference between having a tattoo today and 30 years ago
01:17:37 – What advice would he give someone who has writer’s block
01:19:28 – Squeezing every single moment out of life

#davidleeroth

71 Comments

  1. 22:50– no, you can’t. Not being an a-hole. Loved classic VH. His voice has been gone & he hasn’t learned how to try to work around it

  2. Fascinating interview. Incredibly interesting guy when he's not doing some of his usual schtick.

  3. Thank you for sharing ❤ we all shoveled Sh*T at some point in our lives. Dave is as human as he can be and is the definition of you do you in this day and age, got to repeat it, respect it,

  4. DLR is entertaining and extremely intelligent,but he’s still steering the interview with meandering stories, slinging the bullshit interspersed with nuggets of wisdom. I would love to hear a psychiatrist due a breakdown of his personality, quirks and flaws. He never really answers her questions, but goes off in a tangent. I bet he couldn’t sit still as a kid and probably suffered from ADHD.

  5. No thanks. I'm going to pass on this one. Roth is like the guy in your local bar who talks, talks some more, laughs at his own jokes, and won't shut up until someone sticks him with an ice pick in the back of the head

  6. Wow, barely 20 minutes in and already impressed. “Up the chimneys” stopped me cold. It also looks like Debbie Millman has quite an interesting mix of interviews on her site to check out. Mahalo!!

  7. My middle leg has always been my strongest. This dude has turned so freaking weird! It’s shocking.

  8. I've loved Dave since the 80s, low-key wanted to be him in my early 20s, and I've grown to appreciate his depth and layers in recent years. But the shtick becomes exhausting to listen to after a while. Seemed like it started ramping up in the 2nd half of the interview. It feels to me like he's drawing from a well of long-pondered musings and insights crafted into an improvisational performance in-character. Which is fantastic and the basis of all great interviews, until you get to the "In-character," because then it's like you're being petitioned for your reaction to every line or story. I think that In-character is where he's most comfortable, followed by the reward of feeling you gave a great performance. Dave, we love you and we'd love even more to meet "the real you," the off-stage Dave.

  9. Why did he give up on the Ink company when it was doing so well.

  10. Nobody can make David Lee Roth laugh like David Lee Roth

  11. Dave seems very calm here. I like this. hahaha..I love crazy Dave too though…don't get me wrong…fun to see both sides of him.

  12. and thank you for posting and sharing this!!

  13. Considering the pounds of chemicals ingested by this person over the years, I’m surprised he can sort of carry on any conversation. 1:21:04

  14. Long ago, at a club in LA circa 89-90, happened to be standing off in a dark corner dealing with a girl who had been overserved. DLR was standing against the wall next to me, enjoying the attention of a woman who kept rubbing up and down on him, dropping to her knees, and he’s laughing, saying “exhale, EXHALE!”
    Anyway, I turn to him and motioning towards the girl I’m with and say jokingly, “Dude, you’re an expert on this…how do you deal with a gal like this?”
    He gets a mock serious look on his face, looks at her, looks at me, and says, “Some loose music, a slap across the face, and a chili dog.”
    I hear that in my head every time I hear him interviewed, and realize, he’s always ON. That’s him. There’s no “off”, and if there is, it’s probably window time. And we’re all luckier because of that.

  15. Really liked the woman doing the interview. Roth has an electric mind. My goodness.

  16. Wow, this might be my new favourite Roth interview! That part about New Guinea, Wow just WOW!! Thank for sharing!

  17. I made it 20 minutes. I don't know how Eddie put up with him for 20 years

  18. He talks like a dementing old man. When he actually is one, wonder what that will be like!

  19. Honestly, the only interview I can stomach by DLR. Sounds focused, and sounds like a great speaker. Finally.

  20. So he's great at not answering questions, A natural politician.

  21. A Terrific Interview, really showing Diamond Dave as he really is, a Deep Thinker and Carer of Humanity🤔😊😇👐🤲🖕

  22. Beautiful, Honest, Artful, Esoteric, Philosophical, Entertaining, Funny, Knowledgeable…Diamond Dave.

  23. Thank you for this having heard numerous interviews with him over the years this is the most he’s actually turned the persona down. I don’t think he is capable or comfortable turning it off completely. A “Showman” always has to be on, which is what drives everyone around them nuts. Very few of the greats ever admit they’ve lost steps and yes his voice isn’t there anymore but he , Eddie, Alex and Micheal made fantastic music together.
    IMO greatest US rock band in history and I like both both Dave and Sammy versions.

  24. Some people say Sammy was a better singer than Dave but there's no way Sammy could sing like Dave from 77 to 83. If you can't hear the amazing vocals on all those early albums it's your loss and that's why you think Sammy is better. Also,I would have loved to hear Dave sing Finish What Ya Started

  25. DLR never gets old, he is my age and inspiration to move forward in life

  26. David Lee Roth is so ADHD that he needs to swallow Ritalin like candy. This guy can’t stay on topic if his life depended on it.

  27. Great job on interviewing him. Ask questions I think were interesting to him. If I was to ever meet DLR I would thank him for doing that one last album with the Van Halens which eventually finally gave me the opportunity to see them live before Ed passed.

  28. People keep saying David is always doing this “sctich”. I dont think so. He just tells a story in continuos mini segments using four words instead of one because one is a sketch instead of an interesting painting.

  29. This the David Lee Roth i like listening to. Fuck the whole Diamond Dave persona which is a schtick that has aged badly over the years, is boring and redundant. What a great interviewer and a great interview x

  30. She said not a lot of people know he's Jewish? Umm…I'd figure with the name Roth it's pretty apparent.

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  31. This woman tells Dave fois gras “tasted like heaven “ I’d like to know if she has any idea what they did to the animal to get it to taste like that ? Total turn off .. she ruined the interview.

  32. He is the real life joker. And one of the best frontmen of all time.

  33. David Lee was never bigger than the band. Even his band he formed after Van Halen left him after a few years.

  34. Kudos to Debbie Millman. One of the best DLR interviews I've ever heard because she fought through most of his time-tested deflections. / The man inspires me as much talking as he does singing.

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