David Lee Roth On Musicians Becoming Eddie Van Halen Clones

During a recent interview with Lipps Service with Scott Lipss, the former Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth shared his thoughts on finding your authentic style as an artist. According to the singer, a young aspiring rocker should be able to assimilate different styles rather than imitate one or two other artists.

As one of the most versatile hard rock vocalists of all time, Diamond Dave has mentioned several times in his previous interviews that he took inspiration from many artists. For instance, he had once revealed that he got his signature scream from the Ohio Players.

In another interview, the rocker had disclosed that he imitated lots of names like David Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Freddie Mercury, and so on to find his own style. Thus, it is apparent that DLR believes taking a little bit of inspiration from everyone and putting them together to create your artistic style should be the right way to go.

He confirmed this during a new chat by explaining that artists need to assimilate various kinds of styles rather than imitating one or two names. The frontman thinks that collecting various things from other artists is easy, but an authentic rocker should also be able to put their own perspective on it. In a way, their overall style should say something about their point of view and who they really are.

For instance, Diamond Dave said that he can very clearly spot his colleagues who have watched, studied, and tried to emulate Eddie Van Halen, Ozzy Osbourne, and Rob Halford. Although this might sound far from surprising, Roth stressed that the impact of these icons should not be apparent at first sight.

Roth speaking on creating an authentic artistic style:

“You have to be comfortable enough to assimilate a variety of styles that you don’t just imitate one or two artists. A lot of my colleagues have done that. You can tell, ‘Oh, this guy watched Ozzy, and the guy in Judas Priest,’ ‘Oh, that guitar player studied Eddie,’ and so on, and so on. It’s like designing a car. You shouldn’t be able to feel the seams. You work from resources.

Yeah, well, like you’re going to go invent an entire new car, starting from the frame. But you can go, ‘This is classic composition.’ So, that’s how you’re going to write popular music. That’s how you do an opera or whatever. Otherwise, you’re very liable to in here I come circling back and arrive at dissonance. Easy, chaotic freestyle without a thread that runs through it. That’s kind of easy.

One of those five vintage shops around within walking distance here, and we can go get some great cowboy boots with glacier goggles, a top hat, and the Cirque de Soleil wizard. That’s kind of easy. Where is the thread? Who are you? What’s your point of view? What’s your perspective? Who are you? In that respect, when we say, ‘Be an art project, don’t just wear one,’ well, yeah, it is easy to just go collect a whole variety of things. What’s your idea? What’s your message?”

So, according to David Lee Roth, some rockers in the music scene fall into the trap of mimicking artists, which can be immediately noticed. This action transforms sources of inspiration like Eddie Van Halen into idols and creates the notion that they should be replicated. Thus, the musicians emulating them become some type of clones, and it seems pretty apparent that David Lee Roth is not on board with that.