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Articles Home » 1986 Articles » Roth, David Lee - 1986 Eat 'Em And Smile
Roth, David Lee - 1986 Eat 'Em And Smile

ARTIST: Roth, David Lee
ALBUM: Eat 'Em And Smile
LABEL: Warner Bros
SERIAL: 7599 25470 2
YEAR: 1986
CD REISSUE: Reissue list..


LINEUP: David Lee Roth - lead vocals * Steve Vai - guitars * Billy Sheehan - bass * Gregg Bissonette - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Yankee Rose * 02 Shyboy * 03 I'm Easy * 04 Ladies Night In Buffalo? * 05 Goin' Crazy * 06 Tobacco Road * 07 Elephant Gun * 08 Big Trouble * 09 Bump And Grind * 10 That's Life


There might not have been a bigger rock band in the world than Van Halen in 1984. Their album '1984' sold millions and millions, they had a number 1 hit in the U.S. and two other Top 20's, and their tour that year was huge. But all was not well in the band. Roth took advantage of some downtime for the band and released an EP in 1985, 'Crazy From The Heat', that was a radical departure from the Van Halen sound. He officially left VH in 1985, and this was pretty major news. After all, this was Van-Freakin'-Halen we're talking about here. VH snapped up Sammy Hagar in what many thought was a pretty good move. All eyes and ears were curious as to what Diamond Dave would do. Well, he assembled a top-notch band, largely in an attempt to out-Van-Halen Van Halen, it seemed.

The Songs
When you're a new artist (or breaking out of a certain context) and releasing a new album, the lead single and the lead track of the album go a long way towards setting the proper tone of what you're trying to accomplish. 'Yankee Rose' was both. The start indicates that there may just be a hard rocker here, with the call and response between Roth's voice and Vai's guitar. Sure enough, all fears that Roth had forgotten how to rock are dispelled. Vai has a different style than Eddie Van Halen, but the dude can shred. The song is missing a proper scorching solo, but it is good to hear Roth in fine form. The album has some other tracks that don't deviate too far from earlier VH, namely 'Shyboy', 'Elephant Gun', and 'Bump And Grind'. I find that 'Goin' Crazy' is akin to the style of 'Diver Down', although I hear some similarities to what Genesis was doing at this time, odd as that sounds - there are some vocal inflections that remind me of Phil Collins. Songs like 'Ladies Night In Buffalo?' and 'Big Trouble' have a nice groove. 'Tobacco Road' is a nice blues exercise. And of course, he had to include a couple in the same vein as the aforementioned EP in 'I'm Easy' and 'That's Life'.

In Summary
Roth succeeded in proving that he was an integral part of the Van Halen sound with some songs that sound more like early VH than anything VH did with Hagar. And he proved he had more tricks in his bag with the other songs. The musicianship on this album is pretty amazing in places, as you'd expect with the class of the guys involved. The album was a big success, although not quite at the level of Van Halen (Van Hagar) with '5150'. He kept this lineup intact for 1988's 'Skyscraper', which was another success for him. [word count 463]

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#1 | spawn71 on January 20 2016 19:46:27
Great review! From my point of view this is a fantastic album, even better than the acclaimed '1984' with the classic VH line-up. And It's far, FAR better than everything VH has released with Sammy Hagar, with the partial exception of 'F.U.C.K.'! When I'm in a dark mood, this is one of the records that can change my day, even 30 years later! score 9
#2 | dangerzone on January 20 2016 20:53:55
I wouldn't go as far to say this is better than '1984' but Roth's first three solo albums were far more in keeping with the Van Halen spirit than the Hagar albums. Only '5150' still rates for me, probably equal to this album overall, but without Roth's influence Van Hagar was a letdown.
#3 | reyno-roxx on January 28 2016 15:04:35
'Shy Boy' was, of course, an old Talas tune of Sheehan's revisited.
I hauled this out the other day and still find it enjoyable, but when showing my other half Andrea the videos on YouTube she couldn't see what the fuss was about regarding Dave. 'not funny and he certainly can't act'. No wonder the proposed Dave movie was never finished if others in power held the same opinion.
By the way, has anyone tried to read his book? Jeez....
#4 | dangerzone on January 28 2016 16:11:50
That book is a unique read to be sure. It definitely fits his personality, all over the place and eclectic. It's a good read though, very unorthodox.
#5 | super80boy on January 28 2017 15:38:39
Roth absolutely made the correct musical and business decisions to surround himself with top rated musicians and bringing in Ted Templeman's production skills; however the decision to slot in more lounge songs was IMHO not a good move. Yes, his debut EP was built on the lounge moves and it was a hit, but he still should have left him off in favor of a complete directional shift. It didn't matter though, his wildly successful brand at the time more than made up for it.
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