The Jewish rock star, most popular for fronting Van Halen during the influential band’s heyday during the 1970s and ’80s, said Friday that he is retiring from music.
“I am throwing in the shoes. I’m retiring,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “This is the first, and only, official announcement.”
Roth, 66, grew up with Jewish parents and supposedly first figured out how to sing while at the same time planning for his bar mitzvah.
He experienced childhood in Indiana and later southern California, where he performed with different bands prior to joining Van Halen in 1974. As a part of the world famous group, likewise moored by its late virtuosic guitar player Eddie Van Halen, Roth became one of exciting music’s most popular showmen.
He previously left the band in 1985 — he would leave and rejoin it numerous different times — and set out on a less promoted solo career, releasing seven albums all alone.
In his autobiography “Crazy From the Heat,” and in a rollicking interview with The Washington Post during a stretch of his solo run in 2003, Roth clarified his Jewish identity. He claimed, in the words of Post writer David Segal, that “much of his style and energy came from fury over anti-Semitism and an urge to crush Jewish stereotypes.”
“There’s not a lot of Jewish action figures,” Roth told Segal. “Heroes for little Jewish kids are very few and far between…”
“Jewish kids take a paperback to the beach instead of a football,” he added later, “half-approvingly” according to Segal.
Roth was a member of Van Halen again during the time of its guitarist’s death last year, after which the group disbanded.
He will play a goodbye series of shows in Las Vegas in January.
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