You could be forgiven for wondering, after absorbing the idea of David Lee Roth as Japanese hitman in his weirdly transfixing new short film, whether that giant tattoo on the Van Halen frontman’s back is real.
Answer: It most certainly is. And he’s not done with it yet.
Roth, who has been living in Japan, says the lengthy process has given him a chance to brush up on a new language — even as he’s learned more about the age-old history of tattooing in this ancient land.
“We’re not quite finished,” Roth says in the attached video. “I’ve got about 150 hours in. I used it like a camp fire, you know when you get around and pass along the news of the day, and I try out my language lessons. You know, I went to school two hours a day for language. So, it’s not just getting the ink.”
Roth’s film, called “Tokyo Story,” has become a part of Van Halen’s concert setlist during its on-going tour behind A Different Kind of Truth, which reached Japan in late June after being halted because of health problems for Eddie Van Halen.
Truth, Van Halen’s initial full-length with Roth since their “Jump” hey day in 1984, featured as its lead single a song called “Tattoo.”