David Lee Roth states Van Halen were a 70s band even if they may have enjoyed their success in the 80s
Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth was recently interviewed by The Guardian and spoke about what he wore and breaking his nose on a disco ball at the Pink Pop Festival in Holland back in 1980.
“The outfit is a collection of 70s [clothes]. Van Halen were a 70s band – we may have enjoyed our success in the 80s, but virtually all of our club years and influences, musical and otherwise, are closer to a British music-hall background. The songwriting is closer to Broadway and film musicals, such as West Side Story or any of the Bob Fosse material.”
You can read the rest of the article at The Guardian‘s website.
Wikipedia states the following about Van Halen‘s David Lee Roth era from 1978 to 1985 (with slight edits):
“Upon its release, Van Halen reached No. 19 on the Billboard pop music charts, one of rock’s most commercially successful debuts. It was highly regarded as both a heavy metal and hard rock album. The album included songs now regarded as Van Halen classics, like “Runnin’ with the Devil” and the guitar solo “Eruption”, which showcased Eddie‘s use of a technique known as “finger-tapping”. The band toured for nearly a year, opening for Black Sabbath and establishing a reputation for their performances. The band’s chemistry owed much to Eddie Van Halen‘s technical guitar wizardry and David Lee Roth‘s flamboyant antics and stage persona, strong points which later made them rivals. The band returned to the studio in late 1978 to record Van Halen II, a 1979 album similar in style to their debut. This record yielded the band’s first hit single, “Dance the Night Away”.
Over the next few years, the band alternated album releases and touring (see Van Halen concert tours). Their Women And Children First album was released in 1980 and further cemented Van Halen‘s status. But in 1981, during the recording of the Fair Warning album, tensions rose. Eddie‘s desire for more serious and complex songs was at odds with Roth‘s poppy style. Nonetheless, Roth (and producer Templeman) acquiesced to Eddie‘s wishes.
Diver Down performed better. The band then earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest-paid single appearance of a band: $1.5 million for a 90-minute set at the 1983 US Festival. Despite this return to form, Roth and Eddie‘s differences continued, and this caused friction with other band members. Billy Sheehan, after his band Talas completed a tour with Van Halen, claims he was approached by Eddie Van Halen to replace Michael Anthony. The reasons for this were never clear to Sheehan because nothing came of it. During this time, Eddie and Alex Van Halen contributed the score and instrumental songs to the movie The Wild Life, starring Eric Stoltz. The score was heavy on the keyboards, similar to the sound used on the previous two albums and much more like the sound coming in their next album.
1984 (released on January 9, 1984) was a commercial success, going five-times platinum after a year of release. Recorded at Eddie Van Halen‘s newly built 5150 Studios, the album featured keyboards, which had only been used sporadically on previous albums. The lead single, “Jump”, featured a synthesizer hook and anthemic lyrics, and became the band’s first and only No. 1 pop hit, garnering them a Grammy nomination. Other singles included “Panama” (No. 13 U.S.), “I’ll Wait” (also No. 13 U.S.), and “Hot for Teacher”. Three of the songs had popular music videos on MTV. 1984 was praised by critics and fans alike, peaking at No. 2 on the Billboard charts behind Michael Jackson‘s Thriller.
The album, however, was also a breaking point for the band. In the midst of the 1984 Tour, the artistic and personal tensions among the musicians reached a fever pitch. Reasons for the breakup vary based on the band member interviewed, but were rooted in control of the band’s sound and image. Roth was upset about Eddie playing music outside of Van Halen without checking with the band, and his alleged drug abuse that allegedly prevented the band from viable practices. Roth was also launching a successful solo career with two hit songs off his Crazy From The Heat EP, a remake of The Beach Boys classic “California Girls” (#3 U.S.) and the old standard “Just a Gigolo” (#12 U.S.). Roth was also offered a $20-million film deal for a script entitled Crazy From The Heat. Roth hoped Van Halen would contribute the soundtrack; however, the film deal fell through when MGM Pictures was sold in 1986.”