Back in 1972, the band that brought hard rock back to the forefront of the music scene named Van Halen was born. They were known for their energetic live performances as well as their talented lead guitarist Eddie Van Halen. Among the most successful rock acts of those days, Van Halen released numerous successful albums until their disbandment in 2020 following the death of Eddie.
Between 1974 and 1985, the band consisted of Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, David Lee Roth, and Michael Anthony. Back in those days, David Lee Roth was the lead singer of the band and was known for his energetic stage persona. In 1985, Roth left the band to pursue a solo career and Sammy Hagar joined the band as his replacement.
David Lee Roth’s Musical Career in Van Halen
Throughout Van Halen’s musical career, Diamond Dave left the band and reunited with them several times. He worked with the band from 1974 to 1985, in 1996, and between 2006 and 2020 until the band disbanded following Eddie’s death.
The first conflict between DLR and Van Halen sparked when Eddie wanted darker and deeper tunes while Roth wanted a sound that reflects the themes of partying, dancing, women, and sex. Considering Roth’s energetic persona and his carpe diem approach, it was no surprise the two had a dispute as a result of that. The tension between them grew, and DLR left the band in 1985 to achieve what he always wanted on his own.
Although he reunited with Van Halen in June 1996 and recorded two songs with the band, Roth left the band once again following a dispute with Eddie. After that, he mainly focused on making solo efforts. However, in 2006, he rejoined the band and worked with them until 2020.
One of those times when Dave decided to leave Van Halen, he had an interesting motive as a reason. It was due to a private photoshoot that sparked a conflict in the band.
The Photoshoot Which Eventually Caused Diamond Dave To Leave Van Halen
Back in 1979, Van Halen was enjoying the commercial success of their album ‘Van Halen II,’ and they were working on their next album ‘Women And Children First.’
At those times, David Lee Roth talked to the record label Warner Bros.’ art director and decided that the fashion photographer Helmut Newton would be the best choice to shoot the album cover. Luckily, Newton was in Southern California at the same time with the band, and Roth went to see him at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Diamond Dave went to the place wearing everything leather while his long, blond hair glimmered in the light. The pair had a conversation, and Newton stated that Dave is now his favorite blond. Moreover, he added that he would love to shoot photos of ‘him.’ However, this was supposed to be a group shoot, not focused on Dave only.
Soon after that, the band gathered at Dave’s place for the shoot only to see Dave preparing to pose for the camera. As a result, other band members became pretty upset as they thought it would be a group shot. At the end of the day, Newton ended up mostly shooting pictures of David.
As reported by Medium, The Warner Bros. art director recalled this incident as:
“The brothers see David chained to the fence, and already these guys are upset. I saw this and told Helmut, ‘Hey, let’s take some shots of the rest of the band.’
I remember we shot Eddie with the guitar and Dave in many different ways. I don’t specifically remember a band shot, but maybe we did one.”
The next day, this incident started a war among the band members. According to the Halen brothers, Roth tried to steal the band’s image for their new album. They were right as Roth wanted the album visuals to present him, the lead singer, as the center of attention.
As a result of the complaints of the brothers, Warner Bros. hired Norman Seef for another photoshoot. Following that, the band released their album ‘Women And Children First’ in March 1980. Nevertheless, a poster of Roth in chains from the Newton photoshoot was included with the record. The album became a success, but the dispute never ended. Following that, Roth left the band and pursued a solo career as a rock star.