Uli Jon Roth Wasn’t a Fan of Van Halen Being “Happy Entertainment Kind of Stuff”

German guitarist Uli Jon Roth revealed recently that he wasn’t exactly a fan of Van Halen back in the day. In a new interview with Ultimate Guitar, the Scorpions musician and neoclassical metal trailblazer said that Van Halen simply “passed him by.”

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Roth already had a major reputation and career when Van Halen began to blow up. The latter’s fame passed by the former’s radar for a number of reasons, one of which was the fact that Roth was going through a “strange period” during that time.

“That was the time when I left the Scorpions, and I put the entire rock thing kind of behind me at that moment,” Roth told Jeremy White during the interview. “I just didn’t listen to anything. I heard of him, and I saw that his tapping was really impressive, but I never did listen to any of the albums, because it was not my kind of music.”

Van Halen Was Inspired by Scorpions, Says Roth

It’s hard to imagine Van Halen not being any lover of rock’s kind of music, but Uli Jon Roth elaborated further. After complimenting Eddie Van Halen’s skills, he noted that guitar-playing skills weren’t on his radar when it came to finding good music.

“It [Van Halen] was too much, a little bit like happy entertainment kind of stuff [but had] great guitar playing,” Roth elaborated. “But then, I was never really interested in great guitar playing if the other stuff wasn’t there. So, it just wasn’t my world, and I didn’t really check it out. That’s just it.”

[See Scorpions Live on Tour in Europe]

Roth went on to note that he could hear Scorpions’ influence in Van Halen’s earlier works.

“But I do know they were influenced [by Scorpions],” he continued. “Before they were famous, they played several of our songs. I think they played ‘Catch Your Train’ and you can hear it in licks. I got those licks from Brahms’ violin concerto.”

Roth finished that last sentence with a laugh. You can’t impress them all, I guess.

Photo by Fin Costello

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