Leg­endary rocker David Lee Roth is back with Van Halen and bark­ing mad about dogs, writes Cameron Adams

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - Front Page -

Who let the dogs out?

Q: Since we last saw you, you’ve be­come a dog trainer, is that cor­rect? A: Well, on the in­sur­ance form they’re called ‘‘ ca­nine ath­letes’’. We train dogs for cat­tle and sheep- herd­ing. They’re very dif­fer­ent. Sheep are a lot like su­per­mod­els – they bunch to­gether, they rat­tle very eas­ily. You want to keep the dog 10– 15 me­tres out or the sheep act like girls at a night­club: ‘‘ OMG, he’s look­ing!’’ Cat­tle are like drunks at a hockey game – two will want to fight: ‘‘ Who are you and what’s with your badge?’’ Two of them will be like: ‘‘ Leave them alone, let’s go see the game.’’ An­other one is lost: ‘‘ Where’d you guys go?’’ The dog has to deal with all of that. You work them off a whis­tle. It’s the orig­i­nal video game. Q: Do you get recog­nised by peo­ple in the dog world? A: If you work with live­stock, if you wear jeans to work, don’t tell me you don’t know Van Halen. That’s an in for me. I’m wildly en­thu­si­as­tic about dog- han­dling – it gives me an en­tree to travel the world. My dog Mike will en­able me to travel to the UK and Ire­land. I’ll come in dead last but it’s life out­side of the show­biz cir­cle. Q: You’re back fronting Van Halen and have made A Dif­fer­ent Kind of Truth, your first al­bum with them since 1984. Was it im­por­tant not to just tour and play old songs? A: Nostal­gia is a form of de­nial. I love de­nial. I like se­lec­tive am­ne­sia too. Mix the two and you’ve got a hell of a week­end. How­ever, in terms of aim­ing the star­ship there, nah, retro­ma­nia is not a great des­ti­na­tion. Q: Record­ing the al­bum took so long, your Aus­tralian tour last year was can­celled. What was it like in the stu­dio? There’s a his­tory of ten­sion be­tween you and Eddie Van Halen. A: It was like a stand- off in a Chuck Nor­ris movie. We each had the laser dot on ev­ery­body’s fore­head, wait­ing for the other guy to blink. Ex­cept for Wolfie, he had a Su­per Soaker . . . pre-’ 80s. That’s Van Halen. Old plus new. It’s like watch­ing Drag­net on your ipad. Q: How are you and Eddie get­ting on? A: If Ed and I can get along then world peace can have a chance. There’s sparks, there’s en­ergy, there’s a team en­thu­si­asm closer to pi­rates than lit­tle league. There’s still some pil­lag­ing go­ing on there. You can hear it in the mu­sic. There’s rou­tinely con­flict but there’s a lot of laugh­ter, a lot of ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the priv­i­lege of the job. Com­pared to some of the other jobs we’ve all held, this is bet­ter. In one of the songs I say ‘‘ I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor, rich is bet­ter’’. It’s to­tally bet­ter.

MIGHT AS WELL JUMP: David Lee Roth and his dog ( above) and per­form­ing at a Van Halen dress re­hearsal left. Picture: Getty Images

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