Van Halen singer David Lee Roth said he “wasn’t someone” until the first time he took part in an EMT call in New York City.

He worked with emergency crews in the Bronx in 2004 – one of many life experiences he said he was able to undertake as a result of his fame.

“I wasn’t someone until I put on that 5.11 uniform and went on my first call,” Roth recalled on CBS Sunday Morning. “I’m not gonna kid you – I knew I was in for the humbling experience. A white-boy rock star thinks, ‘What, this is an easy gig?’”

Roth also agreed with the old saying that laughter is the best medicine in that situation. “Humor is your only weapon, your only life-preserver that you can give to somebody who thinks they’re gonna die," he noted. "Nobody calls 911 just to wish you happy Hanukkah.”

You can watch the interview below.

He also discussed his two-year educational visit to Japan, where he started to learn the art of sumi-e illustration. “Who has the most impact on history – government or the historian?” he asked by way of explaining why physical art was powerful. “My visual art is complaining. It’s graphic therapy. I say through my graphic art everything that a lot of folk say to the TV set when you don’t think anybody’s actually listening.”

When the conversation turned to his behavior seeming occasionally eccentric, Roth explained: “If you were a rock star, and you have the money to do – let’s just add that – to do whatever it is, and I’m beyond ‘Oh, I’ve always wanted a giant boat.' If you could get past that, what would you use your rock stardom for? I’ve always used my celebrity as a passport for travel … let’s go get into it.”

In another clip from the program, Roth expressed his ambition to become the “king of Las Vegas,” but in the new interview he said he doesn't plan to perform as regularly as he used to. “I’m on my, what, my 45th year?” he reflected. “It’s great to see me, but not every year. Like family!”

 

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