Diamond Dave isn’t taking a shine to Wolfgang Van Halen.
Founding Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth has taken an extraordinary swipe at Wolfgang, the band’s bass player and son of the late, great guitarist Eddie Van Halen and actress Valerie Bertinelli.
The charismatic singer posts an audio clip to YouTube, in which he fires a barrage of complaints the way of the younger Van Halen, ripping him for unpleasant behavior and poor decisions made on the road.
“This f—in’ kid,” he says, “he’s complaining the entire tour like I’m not paying enough attention to him on stage.” Roth continues, “he’s complaining to everybody around me – the business manager, the security guy, the clothing lady – ‘Dave’s not paying enough attention to me.’”
The clip opens with a throwback to Roth’s brief stint helming The David Lee Roth Show, as he launches into an imaginary chat with a comedy-voiced “Jesus Christ,” a thinly-veiled barb at Wolfgang securing the gig with VH thanks to him being of the son of guitar “god” Eddie Van Halen.
Unity and inter-band harmony was never Van Halen’s strong suit.
Roth himself left the band after the hit album 1984, to pursue a solo career, before returning to the fold in 1996 and again in 2001. The “Van Hagar” era saw Sammy Hagar in (from 1985), then out (in 1996), and in again (2003 to 2005). And, in 2007, Eddie Van Halen controversially replaced founding VH bass player Michael Anthony with his own son, Wolfgang. From 2007, Wolfgang was a fully-fledged member of the group until Eddie’s death in 2020, aged 65, at which point VH disbanded.
Those cracks couldn’t be concealed when VH was inducted into the Rock Hall class of 2007, when Hagar and Anthony, who had recently been turfed, were the only bandmates on hand to accept the honor.
If there was a bridge to mend, Roth’s rant was a wrecking ball.
Roth recounts touring tales where, in New York, Wolfgang “commandeered a couple of monkeys to go in back, behind my back, over to the side of the stage and throw out these two great dames that I invited to be my guests to the show.”
“In fact, you aren’t gonna believe this s—. This f—in’ kid, what he doesn’t know is that these two dames work for the accounting firm that represent him, not me. But as usual, he, just like his uncle and his uncle’s brother, stiffed them for tickets.”
Roth tells a similar story, this time with Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl as the setting, for the end of what was presumably the Rock Hall-inducted band’s final tour in 2015. As the band was about to launch into “Ice Cream Man,” at the behest of Wolfgang, he claims, another female guest of Roth, sat in the wings, was identified, made to do “the walk of shame” and ejected from the venue.
It gets worse, apparently. “Not only is this an accountant again, and not only is she carrying the pay cheques for 82 of us on the road crew, but she’s carrying cash bonuses for everybody there. You may wanna pull over on this next one; you’re gonna pee your pants. Remember New York City? It’s the same f—kin’ lady,” he continues.
It’s unclear what ticked-off Roth. Wolfgang has yet to respond.
Now aged 32, and recently married, Van Halen has long fought his own fights. “With the name or just having the parents that I have,” he told Billboard in 2021, “people assume that I’m an unmotivated person who is just comfortable in doing nothing and coasting on what has come before with what my name entails. And I’m anything but that.”