The Reason David Lee Roth Decided To Leave Van Halen

Formed in 1972, Van Halen was the band credited with restoring hard rock to the forefront of the music scene. The band is known for their energetic live shows as well as their iconic guitarist Eddie Van Halen.

Van Halen’s first self-titled album sold over 10 million copies in the U.S. after its release. Since then, their following albums also became a commercial success and several of them were certified multi-platinum. One of the best-selling bands of all time, Van Halen has sold over 80 million albums worldwide.

In 2001, the band’s renowned guitarist Eddie Van Halen saddened his fans upon being diagnosed with cancer. On October 6, 2020, he passed away after losing the battle against the disease. Following Eddie’s tragic passing, his son Wolfgang announced Van Halen’s disbandment.

Also known as Diamond Dave, David Lee Roth was the lead singer of the band and was famous for his antics and energetic stage persona. He left Van Halen and reunited with them several times during the band’s career. Roth worked with the band between 1974 and 1985, in 1996, and between 2006 and 2020, until the band’s disbandment. Roth also appeared on their final studio album ‘A Different Kind Of Truth’ in 2012.

The Reason Of The Conflict Between David Lee Roth And Van Halen That Eventually Led To Roth’s Departure

Following the band’s formation in 1972, they had a seven-year financial and artistic success. However, David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen had a difference of opinion over what to do next. Eddie wanted darker and deeper tunes while Roth was keen on continuing with the themes of partying, dancing, women, and sex.

Moreover, Eddie wanted to use synthesizers and keyboards while Roth preferred hard rock, which is heavily based on guitars. They then released their sixth album titled ‘1984,’ which was a commercial success, fueling the band’s progress towards mainstream pop. In 1983, Eddie constructed a home studio that allowed him to work on the albums without intervention from the band, especially from Diamond Dave.

On the other hand, Ruth released a solo effort titled ‘Crazy From The Heat’ while he was still a member of Van Halen. That album has often been regarded as Roth’s way of testing the waters for a potential solo career. Following that, the tension escalated between the band members and Roth left the VH in 1985.

After leaving Van Halen, David Lee Roth released his ‘Eat ‘Em And Smile’ in 1986. He promoted the album in an interview with CNN’s Larry King and talked about his decision to leave the band. Speaking about his decision to ‘bail,’ Roth said that he likes to travel and be on the road, but claimed that things got monotonous with Van Halen as their activity slowed down a bit.

David Lee Roth told CNN that:

“Why did I bail? I am a workaholic. I like to travel, to go on the road. I read in the Beatle Magazines, the little groupie fan magazines, when I was in 4th grade: ‘The Beatles recorded their new album in Paris, France. Then they argued about it in London, and re-mixed it in Southern California, and went on a vacation to Tahiti to celebrate.’

And I was said ‘Great! Sign me up!’ What happened with the Van Halen is that after a while, the activity slowed down a little bit, some folks got married, some folks found other interests. I kind of skipped a groove.”

Despite reuniting with Van Halen in June 1996 and recording two songs with them, Dave left the band once again after a quarrel with Eddie. He then mainly focused on his solo career, but then rejoined Van Halen again in 2006 until the band’s disbandment in 2020.

You can check out the interview below.