Van Halen frontman David Lee Roth has released his second studio album called “Skyscraper” in January 1988.
Assistant Wener Braun has revealed the story about how David Lee Roth risked his life for the cover shoot of that album.
Here’s the story:
“David Lee Roth hired Ron Kauk and me to help Galen Rowell do this album cover. His production people got him a horse to ride to half dome along with all of the other equipment for this shoot. David decided he wanted to walk and not ride his horse so I asked if I could ride it. “Sure go ahead” he says, “I want to walk”. Cool, I hop on and away we go.”
“Galen is running around with his camera trying to figure out the best location. He spots his ace in the hole and tells Ron and me to set up David at the spot you see on that cover. Now we didn’t even have a bolt kit with us, and Galen wants David out in some no mans land with very little features for anything that’ll hold worth sh-it. I go WTF Galen there’s nothing out there and he tells us to do the best we can. Ok man, whatever.
Kauk goes down and places a bunch of A4 sh-it. The final piton where David is supposed to hang off is this pin Kuak puts in (a long med. Lost arrow) sticking more than ¾ of the way out. Ron tells me he hopes it holds David’s ass. Ha ha ha ha
Ron tells me to go to David’s position and set him up when he gets there. I’m on a separate rope and David rappels down to the last pin Ron placed. He takes one look at that thing and says “fu-ck! I’m not hanging off that thing, It’ll pull out and I’ll die”. He is now visibly shaking real bad and scared shitless.
I tell David that I’m the rigger and that he has to have faith in the rigger and the rigger will never lie to you. Now David has probably heard every bullshit line but then he’s never really aid climbed. I tell him that piton is one foot long! And that 7” of that sucker he’s looking at is buried in that horizontal crack to his total disbelief. Ron hears the whole dialog and starts to roll his eyes and hint to me keep it going all while Galen is starting to get impatient with our scared mans delay. Finally after more bullshit lines David buys them and gently as hell gets on that thing shaking like sh-it until Galen shoots the camera.
The shoot is on! David does his Hollywood mode. smiles and all in between bouts of shakes and deep breaths. Galen shoots off his 20 or so rolls in record time and David gets his rope back from above and jugs out. I clean the piton he was on with one jerk of my hand. Kauks eyes roll again and we’re out of there after cleaning the rest of that sh-ity mess. And David Lee Roth becomes the “Skyscraper”
Click here to source of the story. See the “Skyscraper” album cover below.