Eat 'Em and Smile

Eat 'Em and Smile

The reason David Lee Roth remains one of history’s greatest frontmen is that he was never a singer at heart — he was instead more a combination carnival barker, cabaret act, and car salesman: Roth will sell you a great show regardless of musical content. Eat ‘Em and Smile, his first solo effort, doesn’t have the blazing impact of Van Halen’s imaginative metal, but it might be more fun, and it is certainly truer to Roth’s personality. He affirms his love for lounge music with the boorish blues of “I’m Easy” and “Tobacco Road,” not to mention a showstopping rendition of Sinatra’s “That’s Life.” Yet even as Roth explores his inner crooner, Eat ‘Em and Smile still delivers the hard rock that Van Halen diehards crave. Supercharged by the best band money can buy (Steve Vai on guitar, Billy Sheehan on bass, and Gregg Bissonette on drums), songs like “Shyboy,” “Big Trouble,” and “Bump and Grind” show that Roth can more than hold his own against his former bandmates. Roth’s real home is the stage, but “Yankee Rose” and “Goin’ Crazy!” prove that Diamond Dave is as fun to listen to as he is to watch.

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