Episode 707 - Writer Darren Paltrowitz on his new book, DLR Book: How David Lee Roth Changed The World
Is the death knell sounding for music criticism and music journalism? Like any current topic in this ever-complicated and increasingly fractured world, the answer is both simple and not so simple.
Yes, music journalism is dying - in traditional media, music writing is evaporating faster than sanity on a FOX News segment on Taylor Swift.
No, music journalism is not dying - you have to know where to look… and listen.
Substack continues to be a vibrant and diverse force for writers, as is Medium. Both platforms have allowed me to meet incredible writers and fellow seekers. Writers like:
And loads I haven’t listed (my apologies), and in the spirit of transparency, I got many of those from Kevin Alexander (thanks,!)
There is also a community of music podcasts available on a wide variety of topics. A community I am proud to be a member of with both the Abandoned Albums Podcast and Mix n’ Match Podcast.
This week on Abandoned Albums, I had the opportunity to merge my two interests, writing and podcasting, as we welcomed writer Darren Paltrowitz into Thunderlove Studio to talk about his new book, DLR Book: How David Lee Roth Changed The World.
What makes Darren’s book interesting is that you get a more complete picture of what Diamond Dave has done throughout his career. While he is mainly known as the lead singer of the legendary Van Halen, he’s done more. A lot more. Some of it is good, some not so good, and some very odd.
The problem with Van Halen fans coming together is that it invariably slides into a discussion about the severe dysfunction of the band.
Before I sat down with Darren’s book, I wondered if it was time to reconsider David Lee Roth. From budding filmmaker, radio DJ, EMT, digital trailblazer, and entrepreneur, if Dave wanted to do something, he did it. Whether he found success or not, I’m not sure that was too important to him. I sense that the important thing was to try. And that’s a ver valuable lesson. The unexamined life and all that.
Besides, he could always fall back on being one of the best frontmen in rock and roll. I’d put him in the top five. Considering he was in a band with, arguably, one of the greatest guitar players of all time, Eddie Van Halen, that’s saying something.
While he may have the creative attention span of a gnat, after Van Halen, Diamond Dave became a punch line in rock and roll. An almost clown prince of heavy metal. Dave could often be a public relations nightmare as he has been known to prattle on and sometimes sticks his foot in his mouth.
Just as I was sitting down to read the book. Mr. Roth’s Darren’s book, Dave’s foot-in-mouth disease flared up as he criticized Sammy Hagar for his alien abduction story. And then he went on to air his beef with Wolfgang Van Halen ← if you listen to this one, listen to the whole thing.
So, as I began reading DLR Book, I began to question whether now was the right time to reconsider him.
My conversation with Darren tackles all parts of Diamond Dave’s creative life. While Dave is not ground zero for rock and roll, his footprint on music with Van Halen is undeniable - he seldom gets recognition for how much he helped shape the band. Dave also helped shape MTV, and from the early to late 80s, he was leading the charge of the heavy metal/hard rock infestation.
After writing a movie script and having it optioned by a studio, Dave could be considered one of the first pop stars of the era to attempt to bridge pop music with Hollywood.
It would be that script for his film Crazy From The Heat that led to his ouster from Van Halen… well, one of the things.
That script would turn into the wickedly bizarre and unwatchable No Holds Bar-B-Que.
Any conversations among Van Halen fans will invariably end with the participants grumbling about how the ever-in-conflict band won’t get out of their own way. We fans want to love them, but the band, David Lee Roth included, do NOT make it easy.
Darren and I covered a lot of ground during our interview, so if you’re a Van Halen or David Lee Roth fan, I highly recommend DLR BOOK: How David Lee Roth Changed The World. And if you need a bit of convincing, check out the interview.
With all of that being said, fear not, friends, all is not lost in the world of music writing; you have to know where to look and who you can rely on.
Darren Paltrowitz is one of those you can rely on.
Thanks for listening… and reading.