Marquette Warrior: David Lee Roth & Van Halen: Redemption Story

Sunday, February 04, 2007

David Lee Roth & Van Halen: Redemption Story

One doesn’t expect Protestant ministers, at least not those in theologically conservative churches, to be fans of heavy metal rock.

But Keith Brumley, of Northtown Church, certainly is, and has an interesting story to tell. Stationed in England in Air Force in the 1980s, he got an opportunity to attend a rock concert.
Two bands were at the top of the bill - Van Halen and Ozzy Ozbourn. Now, I wasn’t the biggest Ozzy fan in the world (much to my own teenaged son’s chagrin today). But I was a fan of Eddie Van Halen’s virtuoso guitar work. So I was excited to see Van Halen.

I waited, and out came Eddie and the band along with the lead singer, David Lee Roth. To say I was disappointed would be an understatement. The band was great. However, David Lee Roth was so stoned/drunk he could hardly stand up. They started their hit song “Jump” over because Roth couldn’t remember the lyrics. And when fans got mad and started booing Roth (and throwing 2 liter plastic bottles at him on stage), Roth became livid and cussed out his fans. More boos proceeded until Van Halen was literally booed off stage. Amazing!
And now the good news:
David Lee Roth is now sober. Has been for a few years. And to redeem himself, he certified as an EMT (emergency medical technician) in New York City and volunteered to serve in the nastiest parts of the Big Apple.

And since he’s sober, he and his old band mates are getting back together for a reunion tour. This, of course, is after Eddie Van Halen had to deal with tongue and mouth cancer. With everyone healthy again, they’re going to get back to doing what they do best - making music!
There was plenty wrong with the culture surrounding the heavy metal rock scene of the 70s and 80s. But as people age, they do tend to grow up. Some people have a tougher time than others.

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