‘These are my mentors': Van Halen’s David Lee Roth heaps praise on the Beach Boys

Turns out, David Lee Roth wanted to make a larger tribute to the Beach Boys back in February as Mike Love was recognized at the 21st annual Ella Awards. Love and Roth, of course, did a collaborative version of “California Girls.” But the Van Halen frontman had an entire unsaid speech, which he’s now presenting during the latest webisode of his Roth Show series.

“The Beach Boys, sang along,” Roth says, in his usual stream-of-consciousness manner. “I had a speech that I had prepared, or that I had actually thought of — but I got caught up in the tempo of the times.” Roth then presents his originally intended comments as a series of Buddhist-style questions about the meaning of things.

At the end, after he’s plumbed the depths of life’s mysteries, Roth arrives at the inevitable conclusion: “Is it really East Coast girls? Are they really hip? Are the West Coast girls all so tan? Or is it the song that just keeps you thinking it? The answer is decidedly non-Buddhist. For sure, it’s the fucking Beach Boys. What are we pretending to not know here? It’s the BEACH BOYS!”

The Ella Award recognizes achievements in song as well as humanitarian efforts. Love co-wrote “California Girls” with his cousin Brian Wilson, and the song rose to No. 3 on the Billboard charts in 1965. Some two decades later, Roth’s campy update would likewise go to No. 3. That version marked Roth’s initial foray into a solo career. He’s since returned to the Van Halen fold.

“These are people who I learned so much from as a kid growing up,” Roth adds. “These are my mentors. These are my role models. These are fellows who vocally created unbelievable panoramas and vistas.”

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