Legendary rocker David Lee Roth struts into House of Blues Las Vegas for his new residency.
“Las Vegas is no longer Rat Pack,” David Lee Roth says. “It’s Journey, Aerosmith and me; Gaga, rodeos and UFC!” It is 9AM on a Wednesday, and while the rest of us are just semiawake, the 65-year-old singer and recently installed House of Blues headliner is already dialed up to 11. That’s not unexpected, if you’re familiar with Roth’s manic persona, though this day is especially unique, as the former Van Halen frontman (and genius who brought us “Just Like Paradise”) has recently watched Dolemite Is My Name on Netflix and is conducting this interview as Rudy Ray Moore, unabashedly aware and fully reveling in his legendary status. “I’m the California Casanova, Lawrence of La Brea; I’m the f***in’ fire they trying to put out!” he proclaims. “There’s an adage that if they draw a political cartoon of you, then you’ve made it,” he posits. “But if you can get to the point where they draw a silhouette of you and four generations recognize it—they say, ‘There’s Elvis, there’s Gaga, and there’s Diamond Dave!’—I’m one of those people!” Roth’s residency, which takes off Jan. 8, will mark his second attempt at a Las Vegas show. He debuted a lounge act in the mid-’90s that was infamous for eschewing much of Van Halen’s hit catalog in favor of cover tunes. This time, he’s sticking to the classics from his solo career and his time as the band’s frontman, and promising audiences an up-close-and-personal experience. “Las Vegas is the most swingin’-est, coolest, hottest place because of the venues,” Roth says. “Even the best stall for lap dances—that’s the smallest venue, one performer, one witness.” While House of Blues isn’t exactly one-on-one, the intimacy of the venue is partly what drew Roth to the residency. “If you can see somebody’s eyebrows, then you have a connection,” he says. “Las Vegas is full contact, and I guess I’m back to that lap dance again.”