Published November 16, 2004
Legendary Van Halen (search) frontman David Lee Roth (search) has stopped "runnin' with the devil" to do God's work -- riding ambulances in gritty neighborhoods throughout New York City to become a paramedic.
The famed rocker has cut his trademark blond mane and dropped his celebrity persona so he can ride unrecognized with ambulance crews in The Bronx, Manhattan and Brooklyn several nights a week.
Several weeks ago, the charismatic crooner saved the life of a Bronx woman who had a heart attack by shocking her back to life with a defibrillator.
The Post caught up with Roth last week as the 1980s icon grabbed a slice of pepperoni pizza after sitting for hours in an ambulance waiting for a call.
Just three days earlier, he had played to an adoring rock-'n'-roll crowd in Minnesota.
Roth, 49, initially expressed reservations about discussing his latest endeavor because he felt publicity "would diminish what I am trying to do here."
But the following day, he told The Post more about his new passion.
"I have been on over 200 individual rides now," Roth told The Post. "Not once has anyone recognized me, which is perfect for me."
"It has been an eye-opening adventure," said Roth, who asked The Post not to disclose which "very colorful neighborhoods" he works in because he doesn't want to draw attention to himself or his colleagues.
Linda Reissman, Roth's EMT consultant and tutor, said she didn't know what to expect of her famous pupil at first, but "he has probably turned out to be one of the best students I have ever had."
"I am amazed," said Reissman, who is training Roth for Brooklyn-based company Emergency Care Programs Inc. (search)
Reissman described Roth as very studious, punctual and hungry for knowledge.
"He is very serious," she said. "You would never know you were dealing with a rock-'n'-roll guy, his commitment really is touching. He wants to help people."
The singer, who is used to being onstage in a packed arena, sees at least one similarity in his two careers.
"I am a member of a team again, and that's what a rock band always was," Roth said.