‘We were flavor of the week’: Van Halen’s David Lee Roth on classic videos for “Jump,” “California Girls”

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Episode 2 of “The Roth Show,” starring Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth, takes fans into the creative process behind his memorable videos for the 1980s hits “Jump” and “California Girls.”

This rambling, nearly half-hour edition of the program, uploaded today to YouTube, finds Roth talking at length about the wide angles used for the former — a charttopping smash for Van Halen in 1984. “‘Jump’ triggered a whole lot of imitations,” Roth says. “I believe as David Mamet quotes it: ‘Imitation is the sincerest form of thievery.’ We got thieved!”

As for his take on the Beach Boys’ “California Girls,” Roth’s initial No. 3 solo hit after leaving Van Halen the first time in 1985, the flamboyant frontman says “this came on the heels of ‘Jump.’ Van Halen had just sold another 35 or 40 million records, if you count all of the unreported sales. We were flavor of the week.”

Roth rose to the challenge in his first outing, winning a cinematography award for the video — which melded his own brand of humor with classic 1960s beach-movie and vaudeville touches.

Just the memory of it gets Roth on a riff.

“They really held on to what for me was vaudeville,” he says. “It was the Sunshine Guys. It was ‘Hell’s a’ Poppin.’ It was the Marx Brothers meets a little Spiderman times, I don’t know, Dean Martin and the Golddiggers times ‘Wizard of Oz,’ and a whole lot of rock and roll thrown in. You can’t get past ‘California Girls’ musically without a whole it, it’s quintessential popular, rock and roll of a certain time frame. Actually, it’s not even a time frame, it’s a place: You’re at the beach. If you’re driving, and that music comes on, you’re somewhere where there’s salt water, and skimpy bathing costumes.”

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  • Gerri

    Love A Lil Ain’t Enough – Dave your awesome –
    The Scrapbook Girls