Crazy From The Heat (EP)

David Lee Roth

Warner, 1985

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


It can be argued until the end of time whether Crazy From The Heat, the 1985 EP from David Lee Roth, was the catalyst for him leaving Van Halen for a solo career or whether it was meant solely to be a creative release for the singer. Truth be told, I’m not even sure anymore—and Dave isn’t returning my phone calls these days.

What is known is this: Roth took his tentative first step as a solo artist with these four songs that were stylistically different from what he had accomplished with Van Halen. It’s not bad, but it stands as a testament to unfulfilled potential.

Undoubtedly best known for his cover of The Beach Boys’s “California Girls” (complete with the video featuring scantily-clad women), Roth tears through both classics and unpolished gems with the same aplomb as a toddler given its first ice cream sundae. Tongue firmly planted in cheek, Roth tries his best to make the material his own, with mixed results.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The two lesser-known tracks, “Easy Street” and “Coconut Grove,” prove to be the best outings for Roth, simply because most listeners won’t recognize the source material, giving Roth plenty of room to make the songs his own, which he easily does. The second single from the EP, “Just A Gigolo / I Ain’t Got Nobody,” might have been a Louis Prima staple, but does sound like it could have been written for Roth as he tackles the medley head-on.

Then, there’s “California Girls.” If you’ve grown up with the Beach Boys original, you know that trying to top it is a task akin to the stone of Sisyphus. Does Roth do an admirable job with his version? At times, yes—though his trademark shrieks tend to take away from the song’s power. (Of course, having Carl Wilson provide backing vocals on the song is the closest thing to an endorsement one’s gonna get… and I’m not ignoring the contributions of Christopher Cross or Edgar Winter.)

The problems with Crazy From The Heat are twofold. First, Roth knows he had the clown prince of hard rock persona to try and live up to, and he does so until he allows himself to actually sing on “Coconut Grove” without the humorous asides or high-pitched shrieks punctuating the lyrics. This is why “Coconut Grove” works as well as it does; it presents Roth essentially naked, relying only on his vocal talent, and he’s able to deliver the song well. Had he turned the intensity knob on his persona down even one notch, he could have presented himself in an entirely new light.

The other problem is obvious: the disc is too short for one to really form an opinion on whether or not Roth’s solo career was worth taking note of. This is why I tend to believe the disc was merely a creative side project for Roth, and wasn’t necessarily intended to be the vehicle to launch him out of Van Halen. Frankly, I’d have liked to have heard Roth take on some other chestnuts and try to carve out a new career niche for himself.

As it is, Crazy From The Heat serves as the stepping stone for Roth into his solo career, and while it has some solid moments on it, one would have liked to have heard more to make sure there was some bite behind the bark.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2023 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Warner, and is used for informational purposes only.