Since April 2020, VAN HALEN singer David Lee Roth has spent much of his time creating COVID-themed drawings — he calls them comics — and then sharing the finished works on his social media channels. His latest 10 pieces of artwork can be found below.
According to a New York Times profile from the summer of 2020, Roth picked up the pen and ink during his coronavirus lockdown, but he had long been interested in art.
"My approach is the best of both worlds: vintage and hyper-atomic digital," he said. "Sort of like watching 'Dragnet' on your iPad.
"You know, I moved to Japan for two-plus years to study Sumi-e and calligraphy, and four nights a week I trained and then I did homework. Jesus, I've spent thousands of hours learning to operate a horsehair brush with a block of ink that I grind myself. Hasn't changed its recipe in 700 years.
"So everything in the comics is hand-drawn — all the typeface, all the colors, the line work, the lighting," he explained. "And once I'm done, I work with Colin Smith, the Led Zeppelin of Adobe Photoshop. Together we scan everything, and then I'm able to move into areas that otherwise weren't graphically available without decades of effort."
This is not the first time Roth has shared some of his visual art with the public. Back in 2009, Roth released dozens of his own drawings and artwork, which he called at the time "authentic originals and incompetent imitations." He offered them up as "an official answer to the question 'what do you do in your spare time?'"
According to the Van Halen News Desk, the VAN HALEN frontman always been into art. Throughout his whole life, while touring the world, you could find him doodling on just about anything — setlists, tour riders, female body parts, etc. He was always a major part of the visual side of VAN HALEN, and always tried to make the stage show "look like the music sounds." He designed stage clothes, orchestrated photo shoots, came up with the stage choreography, etc. He also had a hand in designing VAN HALEN's early tourbooks and a few of their t-shirts.
Two months ago, Roth announced that he was ending his career with his Vegas shows during the first weeks of January. "I am throwing in the shoes. I'm retiring," Roth told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "These are my last five shows." He added: "I'm not going to explain the statement. The explanation is in a safe."
Roth will return to at Mandalay Bay's House Of Blues in Las Vegas for a new series of shows that will kick off with a New Year's Eve performance, followed by four concerts in January 2022.
In March 2020, Roth postponed the final six shows of his Las Vegas residency due to the coronavirus pandemic that is spreading across the globe.
Roth explained that he chose Vegas as the place to debut his new band because "this is where you come to celebrate and do the victory dance, whatever that means to you."
In February/March 2020, Roth performed as the opening act for the North American leg of KISS's "End Of The Road" farewell tour.
Roth's 2020 Vegas residency wasn't the first time he had set up shop in Sin City. Back in 1995, Roth completed a Las Vegas engagement at Bally's Hotel and Casino and another short run at MGM Grand.
VAN HALEN guitarist Eddie Van Halen died of cancer in October at age 65.
Roth, who performed with VAN HALEN for the last time in 2015, tweeted shortly after Eddie's death: "What a long great trip it's been."
— David Lee Roth (@DavidLeeRoth) September 24, 2021
— David Lee Roth (@DavidLeeRoth) October 20, 2021
— David Lee Roth (@DavidLeeRoth) October 29, 2021
— David Lee Roth (@DavidLeeRoth) November 5, 2021
— David Lee Roth (@DavidLeeRoth) November 12, 2021
— David Lee Roth (@DavidLeeRoth) November 18, 2021
?: @iheartmaarten pic.twitter.com/0624mAtbvi
— David Lee Roth (@DavidLeeRoth) November 23, 2021
— David Lee Roth (@DavidLeeRoth) November 30, 2021
— David Lee Roth (@DavidLeeRoth) November 30, 2021
— David Lee Roth (@DavidLeeRoth) December 1, 2021
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