Van Halen's "Tattoo" Video: An Extremely Detailed Breakdown

Screen shot 2012-01-10 at 3.34.45 PM.jpg
David Lee Roth isn't so sad and lonely anymore. The 57-year-old "gigolo" has reunited with his Dutch-brothers-from-another-mother -- Eddie and Alex -- and he's gearing up for Van Halen's North American tour, hitting the BankAtlantic Center on April 10. The only problem: It's not 1978.

Shortly after midnight last night, Van Halen debuted the video for "Tattoo," the group's first single off A Different Kind of Truth. Shot on location at the Roxy in Los Angeles, the black-and-white video is a depressing reminder that musicians (a) age terribly and (b) have a real hard time letting go.

Check out our incredibly detailed breakdown of "Tattoo" after the cut.

Roth waves an oversized checkered flag, perhaps a metaphor for the end of Van Halen's relevancy. Well, what was left of it, at least. Or maybe it's a cheap "special effect" for this cutting-edge music video.

After six seconds of this video's strobe effect, we suffered a mild seizure and nearly swallowed our tongue. Not cool, Van Halen.

Who's that kid playing bass? Oh, that's just Eddie's 20-year-old son, AKA Van Halen's new bassist. 0:24-0:37
David Lee Roth dances foolishly, might as well jump. C'mon, Roth, go ahead and jump.

Screen shot 2012-01-10 at 3.41.17 PM.jpg

Roth appears to tease a bull off-stage with his scarf. Must've moonlighted as a matador sometime after leaving the band.

Someone get this man a grass skirt! He's the greatest hula dancer ever!

Strobe-induced seizure, take two.

Things get really awkward here. Roth looks happy to be working. But Eddie looks like he's dying for another drink. Sobriety sucks, as does split-screen overuse.

Get ready for the worst chorus of 2012..."Tattoo, tattoo/Show me your dragon magic/Tattoo, tattoo/So I don't buy your graphic."

Screen shot 2012-01-10 at 3.42.54 PM.jpg

David Lee Roth demonstrates his spoken-word skills and impressive flexibility for a 57 year old.

Cameraman seemingly forgets he's shooting. The result: Sideways footage of the group uninterestingly hanging 'round the stage.

Strobe-induced seizure, take three.

This bridge really sucks.

Screen shot 2012-01-10 at 3.46.15 PM.jpg

Incredibly frightening closeup of Eddie Van Halen proves long-term drinking is very, very bad.

Sing along y'all, "Tattoo, Tattoo..."

Strobe-induced seizure, take four.

A full 13 seconds of David Lee Roth dance filler!

Screen shot 2012-01-10 at 3.44.33 PM.jpg

Check out these 21 seconds of 1980s-esque slow-motion close-ups of the band. And the VMA for unironic special effects go to....

Even though he looks like shit, Eddie Van Halen can still totally shred.

Strobe-induced seizure, take five.

Rock 'n' roll balloons.

We're a great big family ... Can't help but think of how awkward a David Lee Roth-fronted Van Halen video shoot must be. Is everyone really getting along or barely speaking to one another?

If this song/video combo doesn't kill you, this sixth and final strobe-induced seizure just might.

Van Halen. Tuesday, April 10. BankAtlantic Center, One Panther Pkwy., Sunrise. Buy tickets via Call 954-835-8000 or visit

Follow Crossfade on Facebook and Twitter @Crossfade_SFL.

Location Info


BB&T Center

1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise, FL

Category: Music

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help
Sammy Hagar
Sammy Hagar

Damn, this is mean street... I, think they're still great. Gotta love Dave, how many 59 year old guys still have a bod like that? Not many. And how many guitar players as original or incredible as Ed? None.  The tunes kind of catchy.  Better than a lot of the crap on the radio these days.   I think  they still look good for their age.   At least they're not botoxed or plastic surgery freaks. 


Penis:When you're fifty NINE (Roth's actual age) I want to see you move like that.Ed looks scary?It's called aging pipe smoker.Consider the abuse he's done to himself, I'd say he's looking about average for a 57 year old guy.

Sorry Pricktor: Nice Fail.These guys sucking at their worst would still KILL anything you might create.Especially based on this shit piece.


so 'autobiographic.'    Idiot. 


Vic, Why hate on them...dont like it dont buy the album or dont go to show. they are still Van Halen and at least they are doing something. they have nothing to prove they have already been to the top of the mountain...and stood and looked down i might add..sure its not the best music out there right now but its still mother f%$#@King Van Halen...So show a little respect ..maybe listen to the album a couple of times and give it a chance. Maybee go crazy and catch the show.....Life is short...dont like it ..change the damn channel....


C'mon Victor, Gimme a Break...I didn't hate it as much as you.  A little cheesy but that's Dave's style.  I've seen better and heard a lot worse.  A decent effort for a band trying to make a comeback.  I expect some of the non-single tracks to be stronger.  Looking forward to the CD.  This is better than no Van Halen at all.

Uncle SCotchy
Uncle SCotchy

wow...bad in so many ways... and, way to dress up for the shoot, eddie

King Pubert
King Pubert

damn that really is the worst chorus of 2012


I would give them more respect if they didn't release the most horrible video I've ever seen with zero production value.  The lip sync was anything but, and those "strobe" effects were nothing more than the cameraman waving his hand back and forth in front of the camera.  Totally lame

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault