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David Lee Roth Lays Down Tracks for Acoustic Album

Ethan Miller/ Theo Wargo, Getty Images

One of the highlights of Van Halen’s 2007 reunion tour was David Lee Roth‘s acoustic storytelling stroll through the classic ‘Ice Cream Man,’ the spirit of which seems to have found its way to Van Halen’s new album in the form of ‘Stay Frosty.’ And from recent reports, the acoustic vibes won’t end there for Diamond Dave.

Current Rob Zombie guitarist and longtime Roth associate John 5 tells Guitar World that he and Dave recently laid down an entire album’s worth of acoustic songs with two of Dave’s ‘Skyscraper’-era bandmates: drummer Gregg Bissonette and keyboardist Brett Tuggle. Sounds just like paradise, doesn’t it?

In typical DLR fashion, John 5 says that the new material is anything but boring. He says that it’s not “strummy, campfire stuff,” but instead “lots of cool, crazy jazz chords” and “50 or 60 overdubbed guitar tracks with all this harmonizing and other weird stuff going on.”

There are about a dozen songs completed and John 5 says that Dave is in good form, calling his vocals “incredible” and saying that he “sings his ass off.”

John 5 notes that “Dave obviously has his plate full right now with Van Halen, but hopefully this record will get released one of these days.”

Diamond Dave and John 5 first worked together when Roth hired the guitarist, who was then known as John Lowery, to play on his fifth solo album, credited to the DLR Band and released in 1998.

Lowery was working with Rob Halford at that point, something that was of little concern to Roth.

Roth said, “Here’s what I wanna do. I wanna go into the studio and I wanna cut this record just like the old Van Halen days — just knock it out.” John replied, “That’s great, Mr. Roth. Only I’m rehearsing for a tour with Rob Halford.”

Roth, never at a loss for a retort, said, “No problem. But I wanna have you fresh every day, so what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna start recording at 6 a.m. Then afterward, you can go do your other thing!”

John 5 calls Roth his “childhood hero” and relates his memories of meeting the ‘80s hard rock god for the first time prior to the subsequent DLR Band sessions, remembering that he drove up to this “massive house in Pasadena” where the first thing he saw in view was “the car from the ‘Panama’ video,” something that “blew my mind.”

In addition to his usual Zombie guitar duties, John 5 is promoting a new solo album, ‘God Told Me To,’ working on some songs with Lynyrd Skynyrd, and doing some writing for Rod Stewart‘s next solo album.

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