David Lee Roth has added five new songs as portion of his recently launched webcomic The Roth Project.
The 17-chapter comic — available now in both a scrolling, graphic novel-style form, and in plain text — highlights material the Van Halen singer composed and recorded several years ago with guitarist/bassist John 5, who has performed with Roth, Marilyn Manson, and Rob Zombie.
The project varies among these more popular tunes (“Giddy Up,” “Alligator Pants,” “Lo-Rez Sunset,” “Manda Bala” and the newly issued “Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bar and Grill”) and mysterious sections where Roth describes in a deep, gravely pitch. The novel, penned and drawn by Roth himself, is almost difficult to define, but it involves 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 information on the website. “Put on your headphones. Open your mind.”
The credits part describes the musical contributors: John 5 (guitar and bass), Gregg Bissonette (drums), Brett Tuggle (keyboards), and Luis Conte (percussion). The music was written and performed by Roth.
The musician previously dedicated “Somewhere Over the Rainbow Bar and Grill” to his deceased 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 talked about collaborating with Roth in a 2015 conversation with Jude Gold’s No Guitar Is Safe podcast, stating they began 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.”