David Lee Roth’s Latest Story Was Inspired By Van Halen’s Royalty Battle

Following the release of his fresh take on Van Halen‘s ‘Unchained,’ David Lee Roth shared a new episode of his YouTube series, The Roth Show. The episode included a story with hidden references, seemingly pointing toward the royalty battle with his former band.

Roth’s story started with a character named Carl, an artist who sacrificed his financial rights for his musical career, as he told:

“For the sake of his art, he will never utter a word about this for the rest of his life. Desperate to make it in the rap game at any cost, Carl signs a nut-busting contract, giving away %100 of the ownership of his masters. Exclusively binding him for the next forty years.

Having sold himself into contractual bondage, it makes it a tad ironic when Carl starts rapping about them h-es. Exploitation Records lands Carl in a high-profile background cameo in the new Lil Wayne video. Unfortunately, because of all the other guest cameos, no one’s even aware he’s even in it.”

On a close look, similarities can be drawn between Carl’s situation and Diamond Dave’s past experiences during his time with Van Halen. The character’s struggle against binding contracts mirrors the hardships Roth revealed he faced in a 2018 interview with Vogue.

He admitted earning small amounts from the band’s music, while a big portion went to Warner Bros and the other band members, by saying:

“And I’ll tell you something else. Up until 18 months ago, I was making pennies in royalty on a $20 Van Halen record. I got butchered 40 years ago. I made over a billion dollars for Warner Bros. I watched my whole fortune walk off into another man’s pocket.”

David Lee Roth’s time with Van Halen was marked by the release of multiple hits like ‘Fair Warning,’ and ‘1984,’ which sold millions of copies worldwide. Over the next five years, with Roth as their lead vocalist, the band recorded four platinum albums.