David Lee Roth: Crazy From The Heat

David Lee Roth – lead singer of Van Halen, Success Rebel and Renaissance Man.

This is his autobiography.

Whenever I feel mellow and “down”, I pick up this book, read a few chapters, and my day is brightened up again.

I don’t think most people feel pleasure in a regular basis. On a scale that ranges from deep depression and rip-roaring fun, I’d guess most people idle between “not upset” and “not too upset”.

– David Lee Roth

If you want to know how to be true to yourself, demand excellence and enjoy everything life can offer you, read this book.


David Lee Roth tells his life after and during the Van Halen years in a way that keeps you glued to your chair/bed/sofa.

I was with these two girls once; they were strippers up in Vancouver, Canada. They came up to me and said, “Dave, we’d like to go upstairs, the two of us, with you.” So I said, “Okay”. (…) One of the girls had fifteen hundred dollars in singles and fives and tens, he end-of-the week tips and pay and everything in her G-string. (…) I woke up at some point around dawn, the two of them were asleep, and all three of us were covered with money, every square inch had a dollar bill pasted to it – all exposed skin, and there was nothing but. The whole bed was covered with bills. Our bodies were covered with bills. There was bills in my underwear. Take a little picture of that.

Or the part where he explains that he plaid himself to exhaustion, so much so that paramedics had to bag him, i.e. rehydrate him after concerts. He’d even go on playing when he hurt himself:

One night in Memphis i smashed a guitar on stage, and a piece flipped up, and that;s why I have this scar under my eye. Finished the show, and they Band-Aided me up. Everybody was gagging. I finished the show, walked to the side of the stage, passed out. When I woke up, I was on a bed in the emergency room. they didn’t want to wake me up so the call-sheet was sitting on my chest. Under occupation the nurse had written “circus performer”.

These are one of the book’s first chapters.

“Crazy From The Heat” continues with more anecdotes and stories from David Lee Roth’s life.

He takes us back to a time

when Jim Morrison, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, Alice Cooper, Santana, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix etc. had actually written poems and placed their signatures on the backstage dressing room of Hollywood clubs.

He reads every piece of literature he can get his hands on.

The complete works of Mark Twain, “something by James Clavell”, e.g. Shogun, Taipan etc., Graham Greene etc.

He meets a lot of other people from show business and beyond.

Count Basie, Heidi Fleiss, Andy Warhol, Helmut Newton and lots of others – the “cast of character” list in the end is four pages long

“Rothing Your Room”

Before a concert, he would get on his knees and scrub the floor of his hotel room and the stage. Why? “Freewheelin’ is easy; being able and make it happen is a whole ‘nother story. (…) Once you wash-woman the floor a few thousand times, your focus on how to think and get something done develops geometrically – making it happen, taking care of business.”

The M&M contract rider

the Van Halen brothers always wanted M&Ms. Thus, to make sure the promoters had read the specifications about the stage construction in the contract, Roth placed a requirement next to them: no brown M&Ms were to be present backstage. If there were still brown M&Ms, they knew nobody had carefully read the contract.

He learnt some of his dance moves on stage…

…from the strippers at the Crazy Horse in Paris.

He went rock climbing in Yosemite and the Himalayas.

He traveled all around the world, including “Third World” countries.

This guy is just madly determined and embraces life to its fullest. He is the epitome of what Aaron Clarey would call the “Most Interesting Man In The World” (see Bachelor Pad Economics).

An important lesson for me was that you can make any lifestyle you want work and still achieve all your goals, as long as you have the mindset and good habits in place that empower and enable you to work towards your goals. You certainly don’t need to have a regular 9-5 life or conform to a “conventional” lifestyle to become good at whatever you choose.

Even if you have sex with thousands of girls…

… there may only be a handful that you can really be with for the long run. So don’t settle.

How persistence and determination eventually yield success.

Crazy from The Heat

“Tiaré” – probably the most beautiful chapter in the book. Short and sweet. He talks about how this one Tiaré flower manages to push its way through the asphalt. For me, this is one of the focal points in the book where he manages to put his complete philosophy into a few brief sentences. To the point.

In conclusion

When David Lee Roth joined Van Halen, he did not just continue playing with them in bars and hoping they would become famous one day. He specifically made the music more “danceable” and thus enabled them to be known to a wider audience.

To me, I did not expect just how dedicated he is.
It’s easy to think of rock stars just as creative dudes that hang out and bring the fun. No. An astonishing work ethic goes into it, probably first and foremost.

To buy the book, click this link: Crazy from the Heat

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