And Finally Artist News

David Lee Roth really hates beach balls

By | Published on Wednesday 9 December 2020

David Lee Roth

Van Halen vocalist David Lee Roth really hates beach balls. Like, really hates them. Just hates them so much. Or so says his bandmate in the final incarnation of the band, Wolf Van Halen.

That little bit of trivia helps explain the grand finale of what turned out to be the band’s last show, back in October 2015 – before guitarist (and Wolf’s father) Eddie Van Halen’s death this year – which it turns out was actually a practical joke at Roth’s expense.

“Throughout the whole tour, Dave had an issue whenever someone in the audience had a beach ball”, Wolf Van Halen tells Spin. “Outdoor theatre, summer concert, Southern California party rock, Van Halen – it’s not out of the ordinary. But every time he saw them, it would really upset him for some reason”.

“He would stop singing and then stand at the front of the stage and say, ‘throw the beach ball up here, throw the beach ball up here, throw the beach ball up here’ eight times until it eventually got up, and he would stamp it out”, Van Halen adds. “Then he’d throw it off the stage. I guess he just really didn’t want that out there”.

What could have happened in DLR’s past to make him hate beach balls so very much? No one bothered to find out. Instead, the band and their crew just thought up a way to wind Roth up further.

“Before the very last show, the tour manager came up to my dad and me and whispered, ‘Hey, we’ve got a funny little surprise for all of you guys at the end of the show’. We’re like, ‘What?’ And he goes, ‘At the very end of ‘Jump’ when you’re doing the ride out, we’re going to release 50 beach balls from the top of the audience. And we’ll just see what happens'”.

The plan sounded risky, but, as Van Halen points out: “Even if he gets pissed off, what was he gonna do? It’s the last fucking show. And sure enough, we get to ‘Jump’, and there was just a cavalcade, an avalanche of beach balls, and Dave was just, like, short-circuiting”.

“He didn’t understand how to handle it”, he goes on. “But we all laughed it off. And it was just really fun, almost like a fun practical joke. And yeah, that was a really fun memory of that show. As time went further and further by, the more I thought about it like, ‘wow, if that is the last show, what an amazing way to cap it off'”.

He adds that ending it all on a joke would be “exactly how dad would have wanted it”.