News Segment


March 10, 2007

David Lee Roth has been doing all the talking lately–big surprise there–but on Saturday the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame responded to Roth’s public protests that he’s been rudely snubbed.

The clock is ticking toward Monday night’s induction of Van Halen into the Hall and, as of Saturday, Roth was standing by his pledge to skip the show, which will air live on VH1 Classics. The flamboyant rocker blames Hall officials who won’t let him perform on the stage. But Joel Peresman, the Hall’s president and CEO, said in a Saturday e-mail to The Times that Roth has told only part of the backstage story.

“The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is sorry that David Lee Roth will not attend this year’s induction of Van Halen. We offered him opportunities to play and sing a Van Halen song of his choice with our House band, including his own guitar player or a song with Velvet Revolver and he refused those opportunities.”

Peresman concluded the e-mail with a curt denial that the Hall is somehow the bad guy in all this: “We made every effort and the decision not to come was solely his, not ours.”

So who’s telling the truth? It looks like both sides could have been less rigid and, that in the end, they ran out of time and patience.

The Roth camp says that the only offer they had received before Friday was an invitation to perform “You Really Got Me” with Velvet Revolver. Roth balked in part because that song, off Van Halen’s first album, was originally recorded by the Kinks and is not a “true” Van Halen song.

Roth wanted to do his trademark tune, “Jump,” but that was a curveball for Velvet Revolver, apparently, with rehearsal time limitations. On Friday, according to sources close to the show, event producer Joel Gallen offered Roth a chance to do “Jump” with Paul Schaffer and some players of Roth’s picking but, for Roth, that came too late, apparently, to allow travel and needed rehearsal time.

Hall officials, privately, were surprised and wondered if Roth really wanted to perform at all. They also said if he had traveled east to New York to work with the producers on site, everything would have worked out.

Roth, meanwhile, said he felt like the Hall was more concerned with Velvet Revolver’s issues than the band getting inducted. He said he’s been preparing since December for the Hall event and loathes the prospect of missing it. “It rips my heart out,” he said Thursday.

The Van Halen induction is looking to be a fairly sad affair. Eddie Van Halen announced last week that he is entering rehab and he’s not expected at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel ceremony in New York.

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