The wild, energetic, and charismatic frontman David Lee Roth is primarily known for his tenure with Van Halen, during which he rose to fame with his one-of-a-kind persona that the fans fall in love with. There’s no denying that the rocker is one of the key figures contributing to Van Halen’s commercial success.
Thus, even after years of quitting Van Halen, Roth still receives royalties from his previous works that include records. However, he had never revealed the actual amount of the royalties up until 2018. Let’s take a look at the numbers that are way below fans’ expectations.
David Lee Roth’s 25-Year Tenure With Van Halen
David Lee Roth started working with Van Halen as the band’s lead vocalist shortly after their formation in 1972. With Roth in the front, the band released numerous albums that are considered the greatest, including ‘Fair Warning,’ ‘1984,’ and ‘Women and Children First,’ which sold millions of copies worldwide.
Van Halen achieved commercial success after releasing their debut studio record on February 10, 1978, since the album peaked at No. 19 on the Billboard 200 and sold more than 12 million copies in the United States. The band recorded four more platinum albums with Diamond Dave as their lead singer over the next five years.
However, this tenure with the band came to an end in 1984 when he and lead guitarist Eddie Van Halen didn’t see eye to eye when it came to their visions about Van Halen’s music. Even though he was replaced by Sammy Hagar shortly after he left the band, in 2007, Roth managed to return to Van Halen and worked with them until Eddie Van Halen’s passing in 2020.
Diamond Dave Admitted That He Earns Pennies As Royalty
Numerous Van Halen albums have sold millions of copies all around the world. Since David Lee Roth performed the vocals on those records, he naturally receives a certain amount of royalties from the sales. Due to the immense success of the band’s albums, many fans would expect the singer to have a fortune, but the truth seems to be different.
During an interview with Vogue back in 2018, the Van Halen frontman revealed the actual amount he has been receiving from the band’s albums. Apparently, the singer only received pennies from a $20 record, and the majority of the income went directly to Warner Bros and the other band members.
According to Vogue, Roth said:
“And I’ll tell you something else. Up until 18 months ago, I was making pennies in royalty on a $20 Van Halen record. I got butchered 40 years ago. I made over a billion dollars for Warner Bros. I watched my whole fortune walk off into another man’s pocket.
However far we get with Laugh to Win, I did it as a free man. I spent my own money. I built the team. This is my shot. This is the second half of the Super Bowl. And whatever happens? I’m a free motherfucker!”
While fans aren’t strangers to hearing the ridiculous shares the companies receive rather than the artist who makes the music, they were not expecting to find out that Roth only receives pennies after 25 years of work. Fortunately for him, he has learned from his mistakes and has formed his team for the new projects to earn his own money rather than giving the majority of it to companies.