I have lately been enjoying my daily dose of mr. David Lee Roth.
It's great to see an accomplished musician who is also an articulate person, with opinions about a lot of things, and a wide span of interests beyond their musical craft.
I really hate that stance in many musicians who just put their music out there like a chicken that lays an egg and then forgets about it. I like Aerosmith's song "Let the music do the talking", but when a musician, in this day and age, adopts that motto as a stance, it always seems a bit of a cop out to me. I believe in criticism as a form of art in itself, and I think everybody should provide their own vision of a piece of creation, starting by the creators themselves.
Listening to David Lee Roth I've found he has a clear consciousness of his body of work in the "grand scheme of things". His roots in vaudeville, the intentional content of Van Halen videos...
I have to admit that, while I always admired DLR's musical talent and swag, I always thought of him, tbh, as a square, vanilla, typical made-in-USA kind of guy. That's why it's a double surprise and a double pleasure listening him discuss for example his influences; too often, at least for my European taste, the US'ians tend to see artistic creation as a competitive thing, where one "makes it to the top" alone, at the expense of the bodies of others left behind. I belong to a different school, where you see in your "style" a sum of acknowledgements, of people who have gained your admiration and your heart while you were learning, and it's great to see Lee Roth within that "school" too, as he talks of Picasso, Braque, Mark Twain, Chaplin, musical films...
And so many other things. His bushido training. The art of the videoclip. His pretty extreme outdoors adventures, his vision of professional wrestling as a cathartic form of show business...
The program is basically him rambling about something; spontaneity is valued above brilliance, so it is only normal that here and there, interspersed, is sometimes a pinch of bad taste (seems appropriate, as that was a criticism very often made to the post-WWII culture that he worships among his roots). But invariably in all the episodes, no matter how inspired or not David looked to me that day, or how abstruse the issue seemed -initially- to my likings, two moments have always appeared at least once per show:
1) Moments when he cracks me up.
2) Moments when I wonder "how the hell we got here? What the hell is this guy talking about now?"
Both 1) and 2) are things that I treasure among the highest things in life, and for me it's a great luxury to be able to hang out with DLR like that.
His voice alone is a delight, he could read the phone book and be a pleasure to listen to, and he is also charming and naturally funny... Physically he reminds me to a cross between Joe Pesci and a piranha, with that smile full of teeth that tells you he knows he can get away with anything...
Maybe not for all audiences, but any good artist worth their salt shouldn't try to appeal to everybody...
I have a guitar and I'm gonna use it