The Van Halen Lyrics In Which David Lee Roth Described His Lifestyle

David Lee Roth is mainly known for his wild and energic persona as well as being the charismatic frontman of the iconic rock band Van Halen. He lent his vocal skills to the band across three stints, between 1974 and 1985, in 1996, and from 2006 to Van Halen’s disbandment in 2020. Also a talented solo artist, Roth contributed to the band with his songwriting as well.

During his career in the band, Diamond Dave was often credited with promoting the band’s image. Although Roth’s sexy, poetic, and hedonistic lyrics worked in harmony with the iconic guitarist Eddie Van Halen’s guitar-playing style, it sometimes caused creative differences within the band. For instance, when they were recording the 1981 ‘Fair Warning’ album, artistic tensions arose.

While Eddie Van Halen wanted darker and more complex songs, David Lee Roth wanted pop elements in their sound. In the end, the album turned out to be what Eddie wanted. After the release, the album reached platinum only after a $250,000 of payola. In this darker album, there was one song that reflected David Lee Roth’s lifestyle. Let’s see which song that was.

‘Fair Warning’s ‘Unchained’ Was A Reflection Of David Lee Roth’s Style Of Living

On April 29, 1981, Van Halen released their fourth studio album titled ‘Fair Warning.’ Following the release, the album sold over two million copies. However, it was still the slowest-selling album Van Halen released during the David Lee Roth era. Although the sales were disappointing, ‘Fair Warning’ received generally positive reviews from the critics. The song ‘Unchained’ also belonged to this album, and it was released as a single.

Looking through the lyrics of ‘Unchained,’ it’s a song about living life to its fullest and the importance of adapting to the circumstances and being free. Considering David Lee Roth’s way of living life, it seems the lyrics are quite related to him. In a 1982 interview with Jim Ladd, Roth also hinted at this possibility of the lyrics of ‘Unchained’ reflecting his lifestyle. He even referenced some of the song’s lyrics during the conversation.

When Ladd asked him whether he lives his real-life like the lyrics of ‘Unchained,’ Roth mentioned the people who get out of the wrong side of the bed or don’t get out of the bed at all. He stated that some people stay there when they hit the ground instead of moving forward and running. This was a direct reference to the lyrics ‘Unchained, and you hit the ground running / Change, ain’t nothin’ stays the same.’

Following that, Roth also said those people who hit the ground and stay right there do nothing, and one can still find them there after five years. According to Roth, people should move forward and try new things with courage as they have nothing to lose, including in their romantic relationships, music, business, or properties. So, it seems like Roth believes in the wisdom behind the lyrics of ‘Unchained,’ and they indeed reflect the musician’s point of view.

During the conversation, Jim Ladd asked David Lee Roth the following:

“Let’s talk about ‘Unchained’ here for a minute. Would you say that you live your real life like these lyrics, David? I mean, is this the David Lee Roth if we listen to ‘Unchained’?”

Roth then responded:

“Some people continually get out of the wrong side of the bed, or they don’t get out of bed at all. And when they do hit the ground, they stay there instead of hitting the ground running. That’s once again. You’re back to the ‘rearview mirror’ story. You’ll follow the hood ornament, forward movement, you know.

There are a lot of people in Hollywood, for instance, who take lessons for a living. And when they hit the ground, they plant right there, and that’s where you’ll find them five years from now. They do nothing. People should move and try something. Try it! No guts, no gain. Go for it, man. What do you have to lose? Nothing. Whether it’s romance, music, your business, your car, or whatever it is, you go for it.

I’m beginning to sound a lot like Reverend Ike, ain’t I? Well, you know how many people believe in him, and he says the same thing. ‘Go for it, take a shot.’ People live their life in fear, and then then they wonder why the world is caving in on them.”

Below, you can watch the interview and listen to Van Halen’s ‘Unchained.’