Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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David Lee Roth: Eat 'Em and Smile [Warner Bros., 1986]
With everybody from Patti to Belinda to Peter to Eldra kissing pop's ass, Roth gives it a pinch and keeps on trucking. Maybe because he lived out his wimpier fantasies on last year's EP, here he's free to mastermind his own piece of multiplatinum potential. Sure he covers "That's Life," but he also assembles a metal band that'll cut old buddies: Maynard Ferguson drummer, cult heaven bassist, and on guitar former Zappa and Lydon sideman Steve Vai, who splits the difference between parody and virtuosity. I mean, Vai is funny without opening his mouth. And of course, so is our voluble auteur, who makes Miss Liberty a burlesque queen and neither lady a whore. B+