BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – When Paul Howard formed a Guitar Hero: Van Halen band late last year to compete in tournaments at McFunster’s Pub, he had no idea it would ultimately lead to yet another devastating job loss for rocker David Lee Roth.
“Dave hooked me up a few times at McDonald’s, but I never knew he played Guitar Hero,” said Paul. “After we started hanging out, it just kind of clicked, you know?”
Paul and Diamond Dave began practicing in Paul’s parents’ basement late into the night almost every day of the week. After two months of intense practice, Paul decided they were ready to put their skills to the test at McFunster’s Pub.
The stage was dark and a smoky haze hung over the heads of the crowd. The crowd had already suffered through two Guitar Hero bands that had squeaked out Nickleback songs on medium difficulty.
The emcee called for Han Valen. Paul and Dave grabbed their plastic guitars and headed for the platform. “We started slow with Running With The Devil,” Paul said. “The crowd was into it, and we didn’t miss any notes, so we decided to go for the win.” Paul shouted to the console operator, “Eruption. On expert!” And that’s when the night took a turn for the worse.
McFunster’s manager, Adam Young, was watching the action from the bar that evening. “I heard Paul yell for Eruption,” said Young. “And that’s when Dave motioned the waitress for a bottle of Jack Daniels.”
Paul thought he was about to win the Guitar Hero tournament. Instead he would soon be forced to make a familiar decision, one that many before him had made.
“Dave was trashed before the song started,” said Paul. “He couldn’t remember any of the guitar parts and then he started singing some Everly Brothers song.”
Two minutes into Eruption, Diamond Dave's kung fu moves had broken two tables, he'd smacked the asses of two waitresses and a waiter, and somersaulted off the stage. The crowd was getting rowdy and manager Adam Young had to act quickly. He shut down the Playstation console and turned up the house lights.
“I had to pull the plug on the whole thing. David Lee Roth was out of control,” he explained. “They are banned from here. I’m lucky I didn’t get fired for letting Dave in, in the first place.”
Paul and Dave took a bus back to the house, their plastic guitars sadly slung over their shoulders. Paul knew what he had to do, but dreaded it just the same.
After a few minutes of uncomfortable silence, Paul confronted Dave about his behavior. “I told him that we just don’t think alike,” he said. “He didn’t take it too well, but he’s been through it before. I guess he just went back to working at McDonald’s.”
But Bloomington may not have seen the end of David Lee Roth yet. For weeks, Han Valen fans have been circulating rumors on internet message boards that point to a possible reunion.
"God help us all if it turns out to be true," says Adam Young.
Story by E. Goldberg