Jewish World Review June 25, 2004 / 6 Tamuz, 5764
"Don't jump!"; Rocco's rocky night; Rules? Which rules?; more
NEW YORK ; Legendary rocker David Lee Roth, the famed frontman for the '80s megaband Van Halen, is apparently reinventing himself as an Emergency Medical Technician.
The other night at the Four Seasons Restaurant, the 48-year-old millionaire musician revealed to dinner companions that he has been living in a modest apartment on the Lower East Side and showing up most days for EMT training.
"I used to be a surgical orderly in South Central L.A.," Roth told me Thursday. "I started that when I got out of junior college in the early '70s, and that led to a variety of things in the outdoor medical fire force and training with the Green Berets." Because Roth's uncles and cousins also worked in the medical field, the career move came naturally, he explained.
Roth, who said he has relocated to New York from his estate in Pasadena, Calif., specifically to train as an EMT, said he hopes to obtain his certification in November and work as a volunteer one weekend per month.
"I want to be working in the outer boroughs. This city promises great color and insight in each and every neighborhood," Roth said. "On the Upper East Side, it's gonna be heart attacks and stomachaches. But in other neighborhoods, it's all trauma."
Presumably Roth won't be singing "Jump!" to a distraught person on a ledge.
He said he started his EMT training last Friday under the auspices of New York safety consultant Linda Reissman. "She's got a resume as long as your femur," Roth said. "That's a medical joke."
Speaking of jokes, fellow diner Lawrence Robins asked Roth at the table: "What would happen if you ended up having to work a rock concert and deal with somebody who had overdosed? Can you imagine the reaction when they saw you putting the oxygen mask on them?"
Roth, according to Robins, replied, "You know, it's funny, we've actually discussed what would happen if I rescued a Van Halen fan."
On Thursday, Roth who has been very low-key about his new pursuit demurred, "You're getting way off on a tangent, my friend. My dream would be to save a Scandinavian hikerette."
ROCCO'S ROCKY NIGHT
Embattled reality-television restaurateur Rocco DiSpirito seemed intent on blowing off steam at Wednesday night's model-glutted Mount Gay Rum party for the new mango and vanilla flavors at the Maritime Hotel.
The Rocco's restaurant namesake, who has been embroiled in a nasty legal battle with backer Jeffrey Chodorow, arrived at the rooftop Cabanas with an apparently already-liquid Bijou Phillips, who promptly put on a spastic, gyrating dance show for the paparazzi.
After hamming it up with fellow reality-TV whiz Bill Rancic of "The Apprentice," Rocco spent the evening darting around the packed party "hitting on everything that breathed," according to one of many witnesses.
Rocco looked increasingly sweaty and disheveled as the night wore on. By midnight, tongues were wagging that his typically well-coiffed hair was wild and crazy, and that he seemed to have suffered severe wear and tear.
On Thursday, a rep for Rocco told me, somewhat anti-climactically, "He was absolutely not intoxicated. As for Bijou Phillips, she was in his dinner group."
Was there a love connection?
"He went home alone."
COWARDICE WAR CANCELLED: A day after publicly suggesting that journalists in Iraq were afraid to really cover the country and instead were cowering in Baghdad and reporting rumors, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz beat a hasty retreat and abjectly sought forgiveness. "I extend (my) heartfelt apology and hope you will all accept it," Wolfowitz said in a written statement broadcast on CNN Thursday. "I understand well the enormous dangers that you face and want to restate my admiration for your professionalism, dedication and, yes, courage. I pray that you all may return safely." A top Bush administration official apologizing to the news media? Has the world gone mad?
RULES? WHICH RULES?: While nearly 2,000 regular folks waited patiently in the rain outside Barnes & Noble the other day for Bill Clinton to sign copies of his presidential memoirs, "My Life," busy VIPs were escorted to the front of the line. Back in the last century, Clinton wasn't a multi-millionaire and he prided himself on representing, as he put it at the 1992 Democratic Convention, "all the people who do the work, pay the taxes, raise the kids and play by the rules the hardworking Americans who make up our forgotten middle class." But a witness who was close by Clinton in the store's book-signing area told me that even a group from Madonna's concert crew received line-jumping privileges.
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