REVIEW: David Lee Roth – Diamond Dave (2003)

DIAMOND DAVE_0001DAVID LEE ROTH – Diamond Dave (2003 Magna Carta)

One can indeed judge a book by its cover. David Lee Roth is hands-on with every aspect of his product, be it a photo shoot, a recording session, or an interview. He must have known his Diamond Dave album was crap, so he made a terrible cover to match it. Check out the tan, that wig and them pants!  (Also notice:  furry walls!)

This album, following up another aborted Van Halen reunion and the surprisingly powerful album DLR Band, switches gears and shows Dave’s “multi-faceted side”. Sure, we all know Dave likes disco, jazz, blues, showtunes, and standards.  It’s Dave doing what he did very successfully on Crazy From the Heat, and trying to do so again.  To make an album of this stuff would be fine, but Diamond Dave lacks any sort of zap.  At all.  It’s just one “who cares” cover after another, a couple crappy originals, and a Van Halen tune.

Dave’s voice just doesn’t generate the heat it once did, and all of Diamond Dave suffers for it.  The way Van Halen did A Different Kind of Truth used a lot of production on Dave.  Here, Roth is a whimper, a wheeze, a breathless gasp at the greatness that once was. To listen to this album in one sitting is an exersize in stamina. I know because I’ve done it.

Positives:  Instrumental moments on the Steve Miller cover “Shoo Bop”.  The ace rhythm section of LoMenzo and Luzier are complimented by a guitarist named Brian Young who is shit-hot on this.  Then Dave goes all dance-y on it…ugh.  “She’s Looking Good” is old-school and well done.

The indigestible:  The Doors’ “Soul Kitchen”.  Nobody needs to cover the Doors; Dave makes them sound like Smash Mouth.  Hendrix’ “If 6 Was 9” has too much of Dave’s boring talking voice, but not enough crooning.  His cover of the otherwise excellent Beatles number “Tomorrow Never Knows” (which he actually had the audicity to rename “That Beatles Tune”!?) sucks all the life and innovation out of a great song, as he wheezes to the finish line.    This is by far the worst song, even though he also covers “Let It All Hang Out”.

There is only one number here worth owning, which is his Las Vegas version of “Ice Cream Man”. He did this shortly after Your Filthy Little Mouth with Edgar Winter, Omar Hakim, Greg Phillinganes, and Nile Rodgers!  According to Dave’s autobiography Crazy From the Heat, this was recorded in a live in a video shoot.  The video was never released, but the audio finally was.  It lives up to the hype if not the wait.

Decide what you are willing to pay for one or two songs, and buy accordingly.

1/5 stars



  1. What? Gene Simmons has a wig???? ;-)
    This album… I dunno, I didn’t buy this, I downloaded it. I’m glad I didn’t spend any dough on this. I have listened to it a few times. I don’t hate it, though. I don’t… anything it… which is kinda worse. I mean, if I hated it, at least it would have made feel something. Well, it kinda did… tired… and bored. Still, the music isn’t half as bad as the wig…


        1. I don’t know if it’s real or not, but there are bald Gene pictures on the internet…

          I don’t get what’s wrong with being bald. Gene Prince Charming wig is just awful. We all know Kiss wear wigs in concert since the hair is so much bigger and longer. All of them except Eric are pictures with much shorter hair when in their “street clothes”.

          So my point being, Gene can still be the Demon on stage, with the wig, but why not just do without the stupid wig he wears during the day???


        2. I think those pics are photshopped, but my guess is that there aren’t that much of his own left. Still shitloads of musicians wear wigs. Kevin DuBrow used to when he was alive, Bret Michaels, Mick Mars, John Norum, Kee Marcello, Doogie White, Paul Stanley, Steve Lee (Gotthard) wore one…


  2. Totally passed on this release !
    First time ever for a Dave Roth release!
    Just couldn’t handle it esp after his Leno appearance!


      1. It’s when Dave went Vegas… he was so high he was tripping into another universe thinking he was cool when me and my buddy just about puked!


  3. Ouch. And from an artist who (generally) had way more intergrity and sense than this. If it was all him, that’s a shame. If it was others (behind the scenes) telling him what to do, well, that’s also a shame.


  4. I’ve come to this review 7 years too late, but I hadn’t actually listened to this one properly until today. It’s awrite, but like you say, there’s no zap. The band are going through the motions as is Dave – absolutely nothing magical about it at all. Even the best tune (Ice Cream Man) doesn’t have a spark. I’d maybe hand it a 2, though.


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