David Lee Roth has announced that he’s retiring from the world of rock music. Not, as one might assume—were one completely unfamiliar with the style, history, and collective life decisions of David L. Roth—via a press release or even an interview, but via a rambling, digressive monologue delivered to the Las Vegas Review-Journal earlier today.
During the call—characterized by writer John Katsilometes as “a phone conversation that was more a spoken-word performance than interview”—Roth declared that a run of performances scheduled for early January 2022 at the House Of Blues in Vegas will be the final ones of his career, either solo or with his legendary rock band Van Halen, a run that will hit its 50-year milestone next year.
“I’m not going to explain the statement,” Roth apparently said during the conversation, during which he also asked not to be interrupted. “The explanation is in a safe. These are my last five shows.”
(We understand that you might have questions about this statement, dear readers, but rest assured: The explanation is in a safe.)
The fate of any future performances from any possible version of Van Halen has, of course, been in the air for almost exactly a year at this point, after the October 2020 death of Eddie Van Halen, from throat cancer. But David Lee Roth’s ideas of what Van Halen is or isn’t have always only loosely orbited those of the other original members, so his assertion that “his backing band at House of Blues is the final iteration of the original Van Halen” is, y’know, whatever it is. (Roth did note that he and Alex Van Halen remain in close contact and talk frequently, which is sweet.)
Roth noted that his retirement is largely linked to health reasons, stating that, “I am encouraged and compelled to really come to grips with how short time is, and my time is probably even shorter… And my doctors, my handlers, compelled me to really address that every time I go onstage, I endanger that future.”
Roth did not appear to address the COVID-19 pandemic in any form during the conversation, for which we can only be grateful.
“I am throwing in the shoes,” he told Katsilometes bluntly, despite the fact that that’s not an expression. “I’m retiring.”