David Lee Roth – “Eat ‘Em And Smile” (1986)

After leaving Van Halen, David Lee Roth knew he had to strike while the iron was hot.  And by that, I mean he had to strike before his male pattern baldness really started to show.  (Baldness: life’s cruelest equalizer.)  But seriously, Roth had the wherewithal to know he needed a top-notch band to “compete” with Van Halen.  The war was on (in his mind at least), and DLR needed some heavy artillery.  Enter Steve Vai (guitar), Billy Sheehan (bass), and Gregg Bissonette (drums).  With Vai and Sheehan by his side, Roth’s band was brimming with flashy players who, like the man himself, loved to show off.  This obvious attempt at one upmanship was a good thing for the fans.  Roth’s first full length LP as a solo artist brought us more of the same DLR we knew and loved; the lounge lizard, the showman, the egomaniac, and the comedian.  The charismatic Roth also (surprisingly) willingly shared the spotlight with Vai and Sheehan, who both had ample opportunity to spray their loads on Eat ‘Em And Smile.  Folks, it doesn’t get any better than the lead cut from Eat ‘Em And Smile, the irresistible and unforgettable Yankee Rose (accompanied by a music video for the ages, for both good and bad).  The Sheehan-penned Shy Boy, and the Roth/Vai composition Goin’ Crazy were also highlights of this fun, party record.  Of course, it wouldn’t be Roth without a bit of tackiness, which is why we have a couple of lounge tunes included for good measure.  My score: A- 

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