Feature

Roth’s emergency medicine

When his solo career came to a halt, David Lee Roth gave up rock ’n’ roll and retrained as a paramedic in New York City.

David Lee Roth willingly surrendered his celebrity, said Steve Kandell in BuzzFeed.com. In the early 1990s, the former Van Halen frontman saw his solo career come to a grinding halt. “Two words: Kurt Cobain,” says Roth, 57. Glum grunge bands like Nirvana were on the rise, and Roth’s brand of mindless, hedonistic rock was suddenly out of fashion. “I went from playing arenas to state fairs,’’ he says. “That will cause you to reflect on your values.” Roth could have sat back, “enjoying my accomplishments, living off my residuals.” Instead he gave up rock ’n’ roll and retrained as a paramedic in New York City. His rock star past didn’t impress his fellow EMTs. “The altitude drop is when somebody realizes who you are and then takes you to task.’’ Roth rejoined Van Halen in 2007, but says he was enriched by his several years of going on ambulance runs. In fact, he says, being a rock-band singer requires some of the same skills as racing around New York, attending to seriously injured people. “Verbal judo, staying calm in the face of hyperaccelerated emotion. Same bizarre hours. Same keening velocity.”

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