By Jim Johnson

Fans have been reading into David Lee Roth‘s new solo track “Ain’t Like Christmas” as featured on his newly revamped webseries The Roth Show, believing it’s Roth’s way of saying he’s split from Van Halen. The lyrics of the track could be about Van Halen — but are ambiguous enough to really be about anything: “Sure looked good on paper, once upon a lie/ Happily never after, and I’m not okay to drive / Let’s put the pin back in this one, and say we both survived / Last blank space on the map I think we’ve arrived / Quittin’ while you’re ahead ain’t quittin’, and I’m quittin.'”

Roth was asked by the Van Halen News Desk ( if the song was indeed about Van Halen, to which Roth responded on February 24th: “It’s poetry. It’s got nothing to do with Van Halen.” Yet on February 29th, Roth tweeted: “On second thought, if all work is autobiographic, maybe this song is about Van Halen. . .”

  • Greg Renoff, the author of the groundbreaking new biography, Van Halen Rising: How A Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal, that he believes the song marks the end of this round of Roth fronting Van Halen, explaining, “Roth’s vocal performance here is mournful and somber. His lyrics express feelings of bitterness and regret. My take is that the lyrics provide a commentary on Roth’s recent months with Van Halen and perhaps a window into the future of Van Halen.”
  • Renoff told us that he would’ve loved to have explored with Eddie Van Halen the turning point when the Van Halen brothers decided to take David Lee Roth on in the early-’70s, knowing that he would essentially be the weak link between the three: “One of the things I would’ve loved to have asked Eddie is, like, when did he sort of come to accept Dave’s limitations — and I say that knowing that Dave got a lot better; I think that Dave really did improve and certainly kicked ass on the first Van Halen record. I mean, y’know, (he) became a very competent and immediately identifiable singer, but I could imagine at that time (in) ’73, those guys are listening to Deep Purple, they’re listening to Santana — they’re listening to all these groups with singers who are so much more skilled than Dave, and they probably (laughs) understood, like, ‘Y’know, we can play it note-for-note, but Dave can’t sing it note-for-note. Not even close.’ So, I think that was a part of a compromise thing, ’cause they were, from what I understand, they were obsessed about replicating the records.”
  • David Lee Roth rejoined Van Halen in 2007 for a reunion tour, with their 2012 studio album, A Different Kind Of Truth, peaking at Number Two on Billboard’s 200album list, and topping the chart on the magazine’s Rock Albums and Hard Rock Albums lists.
  • Van Halen’s 2015 release, Tokyo Dome Live in Concert, topped out at Number Five and marked Van Halen’s first-ever live album with David Lee Roth fronting the band.

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