The MTV Lie


MTV: What happened at the MTV awards that changed the nature of your relationship with David?

AVH: I started to remember why we kicked him out before. I thought he didn't handle himself well at all.

EVH: Backstage he was telling people that they weren't interested in us, the band, they were interested in him. And when he went to hog some of Beck's time... I just didn't dig it.

EVH: His on-stage antics. Which for one, I thought was embarrassing.

AVH: And disrespectful.

EVH: And disrespectful, very disrespectful to Beck as he's trying to thank people, his acceptance speech. (later) He goes well, hey man, tonight's about me man, not your fucking hip. I just bit my tongue and said, OK Dave, the next one, you, Alex and Mike will do it, answer the question, and I will not mention my hip. And he, I'll try to do my best impersonation...... You fucking better not. I just said, if you ever speak to me like that again, you better be wearing a cup.

BECK: I don't buy that. 'Cause they -- I mean, he was just bein' Dave, you know, he was just doing the thing he does. Which is you know, just...going off! It's just old school Dave, you know, in effect.

Gee... you guys look awful happy AFTER Dave's "disrespectful" behavior. You looked just as happy on stage, DURING the "disrespectful" behavior. Is this how you look when you are embarrassed? Why did it take you over a week to get mad at this "disrespectful" behavior? Could it be, you made this story up? Could it be, that you two lie? Fortunately, videotape does not lie. Think about it.


The following is condensed from the book Crazy From The Heat:

David Lee Roth:

Well, quite obviously, the Mighty Edward is terrified that somehow all of this attendant publicity and excitement over my reconvening with the band is somehow going to overshadow his musical brilliance. As if. As if anybody in the fucking solar system thinks of Eddie V. as a backup guitar player. If somebody does, well, then I’m the singer for Up With People.

We get to the Awards, the audience is unsuspecting. Edward is pissed, miserable, that "my-shorts-are-too-tight" face on the front of his head. We walk out on stage and the place goes ballistic, nuclear, off the map. Eddie and his brother are astonished. They had no idea. Well, I see those smiles.

The Van Halens freeze. Edward puts his sunglasses on. He’s visibly angry. Visibly. He’s the only angry person in the whole tri-state area, next to his brother.

And the audience is going nuts. So I go to work. It’s not something I think about. For me this is natural, this is freewheeling. I smile. Well, everybody is suitably ecstatic but not quite fucking ecstatic enough for a VH gig, so let me put the hip swivel on you, boom! Now you’re standing up, aren’t you’? Yeah, that’s what you came for, isn’t it? T-shirts in the foyer!

The people from MTV had said to me. "You know, Dave, you could freestyle on this a little bit if you want." "That’s why l’m here, guys, ‘cuz you can depend on me," and they were looking forward to it. I was the one guy out of the whole show who did it.

The first thing I said to the audience, "God, a lot has changed. For starters, whoever thought that we would be standing on stage here again ten years after the fact?" That statement caused the guys to physically separate from me on stage. For the last decade it’s entirely been the Eddie Van Halen show. He’s very fond of saying, "This is my band." And with previous singers it was. Absolutely. No competition. No encroachment at all.

Just before we had walked on stage, Alex Van Halen turned to me and said, "Milk it, Dave. Milk it for all it’s worth." And I thought to myself—just as they’re announcing us—is he setting me up?

Edward stomps off the stage. Now it’s time to go visit the press, which is in several different tents: domestic, international, "Entertainment Tonight," whatever.

By now they’re really furious.

The press come after them like hammerheads, literally yelling—I’ve never heard the press talk to an artist like this—"Bullshit! Bullshit! It came from your manager and he’s standing right there." The manager ducks out of the tent like a ferret. Now the Van Halens realize they are no longer in control.

So Ed Van Halen resorts to tragedy as his form of self-expression. "All right, I’ve had enough of this. Enough of this, okay? We’re not going on tour. We’re not going to be doing any shows. We’re not going to do anything. Even if we were thinking about it, we’d have to go and make a whole new album first, and we’re taking it step by step, okay? And by the way, I’ve got to have a hip replacement, and it’s just like Bo Jackson, see, and I hurt it jumping up and down on stage."

The room goes dead. I’ve never seen the air sucked out of a room like that. He goes into this self-tragedy mode to get attention and kills the entire moment.

We go to the international press tent. Same thing happens: Ed goes into his "my tragic life" routine, kills the room, and somebody asks, "So what about Sammy Hagar? He’s just gone?" Ed replies, "Yeah, screw him, he quit, he bailed, man, fuck him." Well, he didn’t quit. They connived and created a scenario to make him quit. Made it untenable; he had to bail.

I looked around and the Van Halens had already left the stage, disappeared. I took Edward aside in between that tent and the next one. I said, "Now is not the time to start addressing a whole lot of personal issues. We created a scenario, we have invited a whole lot of people to celebrate and now is not the time to bring everybody down and start talking about your hip. It’s selfish."

He said, "Hey, man, this is my fucking life. I’ll say whatever the fuck I want, all right? It’s my fucking hip, I need fucking hip surgery.

I said to him, "Fuck that, it’s bad manners. You’re also talking about things that I have no idea about. Don’t put me up in front of the international press and start talking about plans I have no idea even existed."

He turns to me and says, "Nobody ever fucking talks to me like that. You ever fucking talk to me like that, I’m going to kick you in your fucking balls. You fucking hear me?" I begin to think we got a problem here. We’ve got somebody who’s off on cloud cuckoo land.

We leave from the press conferences to head for the limos and there’s thousands of fans, screaming and hysterical. Alex comes up to me and says, "Dave, remember how you used to jump up and down on the limos, you know, get the crowd going crazy after a concert?"

I say, "Yeah."

He says, "Go ahead. Jump up on top of the limo. Get them going. Get them going."

And I thought to myself, it’s obvious now, isn’t it, you're setting me up.

Get into the limo, everyone’s pissed, silent, except me. I know what’s up with them.

Copyright 1997 David Lee Roth Crazy From The Heat.

The above section is a small, condensed version of DLR's account of the events at the 1996 MTV Music Awards. Containing 359 pages of text and many pictures, Crazy From The Heat is a must-have for every DLR and VH fan. Read all about the early days and every detail about the greatest rock and roll swindle of our lifetime: The VH reunion of 1996.