‘Most artists are dead and gone in three and a half years’: David Lee Roth on his celebrated return to Van Halen

David Lee Roth, in his own inimitable way, discusses his blockbuster reunion with Van Halen — comparing it, by turns, to training for a bike race, a game of chess and even a gridiron film.

Appearing on a new half-hour special for the REELZ cable network called “Revealed: David Lee Roth,” the once and current Van Halen frontman fires off some of his most entertaining riffs when discussing the band’s many twists and turns — culminating with a 2012 comeback album and recently resumed tour.

Roth says everything fell back into place with surprising ease: “It’s not like riding a bicycle; it’s like bicycle racing. Once you’ve trained with somebody for many, many years — the life that we led was wild and colorful and unpredictable, but we lived it together.”

Roth, of course, held the lead singer role with Van Halen the first time from 1972-85. He recorded a pair of new songs with Eddie Van Halen and Co. in 1996, then returned briefly in 2001. Their first major reunion didn’t take place until tours in 2007-08; their first studio effort since 1984, A Different Kind of Truth, followed last year.

Roth says time away gave everyone new perspective: “If you’re lucky enough to maintain a career past the now-traditional three and a half years — most artists are dead and gone in three and a half years — and if you’re going to survive that, it will engender in you the ability to kind of pull back and see more pieces on the board — the way you would with a chess board,” Roth says, in his typical stream-of-consciousness fashion.

Roth, by the way, disagrees when it’s suggested that his on-again, off-again relationship with Van Halen could be compared to a soap opera. “Let’s call it a great a football movie,” he counters.

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