David Lee Roth has included music from five new songs as part of his newly launched web comic The Roth Project.
The 17-chapter comic — available to view now in both a scrolling, graphic novel-style format and a plain text version — features material the Van Halen singer wrote and recorded several years ago with guitarist/bassist John 5, who has played with Roth, Marilyn Manson and Rob Zombie.
The project alternates between these more traditional tunes (“Giddy Up,” “Alligator Pants,” “Lo-Rez Sunset,” “Manda Bala” and the recently issued “Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bar and Grill”) and atmospheric sections where Roth narrates in a deep, gravely tone. The story, written and vividly drawn and Roth himself, is nearly impossible to describe, but it includes lots of war and demons.
“This immersive interactive comic is a high resolution visual & audio story that is best experienced on a fast computer/device and a fast internet connection,” reads a description on the website. “Put on your headphones. Open your mind.”
The credits section details the musical contributors: John 5 (guitar and bass), Gregg Bissonette (drums), Brett Tuggle (keyboards) and Luis Conte (percussion). The score was written and performed by Roth.
The singer previously dedicated “Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bar and Grill” to his late bandmate Eddie Van Halen. “Hey Ed I’m gonna miss ya,” reads a text attached to the accompanying YouTube clip “See you on the other side.”
John 5 discussed collaborating with Roth in a 2015 interview with Jude Gold’s No Guitar Is Safe podcast, saying they started work at the vocalist’s home.
“I would just go to his house … and I’d write these songs with him. And he would say, ‘Let’s go into the studio,'” John 5 said. “So he would go to Henson studio and record these songs. They’re so good. They’re so good … They’re really great songs.”