cover image Crazy from the Heat

Crazy from the Heat

David Lee Roth. Hyperion Books, $23.45 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-7868-6339-6

Toward the end of his raucous book, Roth recounts a recent confrontation with Alex Van Halen, drummer for the band Van Halen, for whom Roth used to sing lead vocals. Roth had been invited to rejoin the aging rock band for two songs to be included on a greatest hits album. But he didn't like his studio accommodations, so he proceeded to redecorate his isolation booth with palm trees and exotic lighting. Alex Van Halen threw a tantrum and reminded Roth that the band is comprised of 40-years-olds. Van Halen's statement proved loathsome to Roth, who swaggers through his new autobiography as if he wants his readers to believe that he is eternally 18, back-kicking a spotlight on a stadium stage as the crowd goes wild. Surprisingly, this transparent denial of growing old is charming. Roth's excessively informal style grows tiresome at times, and his grammar is poor, but his mega-watt personality shines through, often providing laugh-out-loud moments. In general, Roth makes his derogatory comments about his former bandmates in a playground-gossip spirit that is more benignly mischievous than mean-spirited, and his solo vacation stories--in the Amazon, in the Himalayas--often prove more interesting than his band anecdotes. Roth should be commended for writing his autobiography without a ghost writer's assistance; may Diamond Dave stay forever young. Color photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)