Van Halen, ‘As Is’ – Lyrics Uncovered
The story behind the lyrics to Van Halen‘s new song ‘As Is’ is more entertaining than the song itself, and that’s not a criticism of the song. In the video below, David Lee Roth explains how the song is about a car the band used in their early days and why it now sits in his home in Pasadena, Calif. with a deer coming through the windshield.
Roth drove an Opel Kadett “as is.” “There was no window, the window crank had broken,” he says. “During an argument I had slammed the door and the glass had fallen into the door, and now it was just a giant maraca.” During early Van Halen roadtrips, Michael Anthony and the Van Halen brothers would drive their similarly busted vans or station wagons. They couldn’t afford much else.
“If it started to rain, we couldn’t afford the tarps, so you had to pull over to the side of the freeway and rearrange all of the equipment.” His girlfriend at the time would then have to ride in back so they could use the front seat for gear, especially amplifiers Eddie Van Halen had borrowed.
Roth says his own paranoia that all his successes and luxuries would be stripped away from him caused him to keep the car for over 30 years. For a long time it sat in his backyard, but eventually he had an artist make it into a wall mounting. “I had it mounted on the front wall, like it burst through the wall in the front of my home.”
The deer came from a Hollywood prop company. Roth rented it, and then, “I told them that I had somehow lost this full sized stuffed deer. We sawed the ass of it off. We put it in the windshield, put a big Van Halen stamp on the ass cowboy style and painted the hooves blue. Blue suede hooves.”
The idea is that they were driving along and a deer jumped in front of the car causing them to swerve off the road into this house and, because it was installed perfectly on the front entrance wall, they left it. Roth tells the story with an amusing amount of self deprecation, flashing his golden smile on a number of occasions to let fans know he doesn’t take himself that seriously. The painter’s outfit begins that conversation early on.