Wednesday, April 23, 2008

An Inconvenient Truth .... About David Lee Roth, Vol. 2

Dateline: Cincinnati, Ohio, April 22, 2008
At two of the Queen City's adjoining entertainment venues, Great American Ballpark and the U.S. Bank arena, two forces from Southern California converged: the Los Angeles Dodgers in the former, and Van Halen in the latter.

Could this be coincidence? Could I care? Answers: yes; no.
Regardless, I was struck by the great irony: here was a man who - unbeknownst to most - penned one of the most anti-consumerism rants of 1980: "Everybody Wants Some!!" in a city known for its conservativism and in particular, its baseball team's general aversion to expanding its payroll.

Suffice it to say, I am sure that I was not the only one who thought, upon hearing that the Cincinnati Reds fired GM Wayne Krivsky, that David Lee Roth might be named Krivsky's replacement. It would certainly make a lot of sense.

David Lee Roth: a conservative's conservative. Make that a gay-sex-in-airport-bathrooms-conservative's conservative.

As I've noted here, and many more times privately to close confidants, DLR's party-boy image was a mask to the true DLR. In particular, the aforementioned "Everybody Wants Some!!" is one of the high points of Dave's socially conscious lyrical style. Let us undertake a critical examination.

With his ear squarely to the ground, Dave observes in song,

I seen a lotta people lookin' for a moonbeam.
Yeah, ya spent a lot. Ya got lost in the jet-stream.

Translation: where has your consumerism, your unyielding desire to acquire more and more, gotten you? It has gotten you "lost," specifically in the "jet-stream." The acquisition of material possesions, DLR postulates, is the proverbial road to nowhere.

But of course, "Diamond Dave" is not "holier than thou" here. The following passage shows the despair and frustration he feels as someone who cannot escape the trappings of consumerism himself:

But ev'rybody wants some. I want some too.
Ev'rybody wants some. Baby, how 'bout you?

(emphasis mine).

DLR was perhaps one of the most misunderstood social commentators of the twentieth century for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was the style of music employed by the Van Halen brothers to be the vessel for DLR's message. Certainly Dave's own decadent behavior distracted from his message, although history shall not judge him harshly: had you seen the societal horrors Dave observed throughout the latter part of the last century, you would drink too. Heavily.

My continuing examination about David Lee Roth will lead you to conclude, as I have, that before there was Bono or Michael Stipe..... there was David. Lee. Roth. Not only the voice of a generation. The voice for all generations. If I may say so, when it comes to bringing Americans together, Barack Obama ain't got shit on David Lee Roth.

No comments: