The Private Photo Shoot that Sparked a War Inside Van Halen

In 1979 David Lee Roth met Helmut Newton, inciting an ego-fueled power struggle that ultimately split the group apart     1*x7qeJ3UrG_23l7mZgsKQiA

Van Halen’s star was on the rise in late 1979. Vocalist David Lee Roth, bassist Michael Anthony, guitarist Eddie Van Halen, and drummer Alex Van Halen had sent sold out crowds into delirium on their wildly successful 1978 and 1979 world tours. They had two platinum albums under their belts, and their latest, Van Halen II, had even cracked the Billboard Top Ten. These were significant achievements for a hard rock band at time when disco and new wave dominated the nation’s airwaves.

These triumphs aside, intra-band tensions (which Roth later conceded were “always” present) mounted as the quartet and its label, Warner Bros. Records, planned the visuals for the forthcoming Women and Children First. This battle took shape along familiar lines, with the group’s frontman squaring off against the Van Halen brothers. But Roth’s desire to have a portrait of himself, bare-chested and bound in chains, dominate the album’s art gave this round of conflict a particular intensity. In effect, Roth’s artistic vision threatened to overwhelm Van Halen’s collective identity as a group, something that the band’s namesakes weren’t willing to cede to Diamond Dave without a fight.

When fans picked up Women and Children First in March 1980, Van Halen appeared as thick as thieves in the cover photos. But revealingly, there was no sign of the dozens of photos of the four musicians shot by the most important fashion photographer of the late 20th Century. The untold story of why these lost pictures have never surfaced—excepting two photos, including the risqué bondage-themed shot of Roth—and why images taken by another legendary photographer replaced them on the album sleeve sheds light on Van Halen’s internal dysfunction at the dawn of the 1980s. More importantly, the tumult surrounding these two shoots provided band insiders with a prequel to the titanic power struggles between the Van Halen brothers and Roth that would split the group in 1985.


Despite their success, Van Halen had little time to rest on their laurels in December of 1979. The industry’s relentless “album-tour” cycle, which had the power to turn breakthrough acts like Van Halen into superstars, demanded that the four musicians get to work on a new record, so they could hit the road again by the spring of 1980. Continue reading


Marc Jacobs: ‘I am appalled by the whole social media thing’

And he definitely wouldn’t approve of you working on your laptop in PJs at home, either


Marc Jacobs would like you to stop wasting time on Twitter, please. In a Vogue interview with Suzy Menkes about his AW15 collection, Jacobs came out as a proud non-believer in technology and social media, and he doesn’t care if you think he’s a Luddite about it. Continue reading

What It’s Like to Sell Drugs at New York Fashion Week

ByZach Sokol

Photo via Flickr user Imagens Evangelicas

Photo via Flickr user Imagens Evangelicas

From the widespread rumors about Kate Moss’s cocaine use to clothing lines with ad campaigns that feature a model blatantly sniffing poppers, it’s no secret that drug use and fashion go hand-in-hand. While not all models and scene-y industry types are cocaine fiends (there’s Adderall too, duh), things get turned up a notch during New York Fashion Week, when countless Europeans in panther fur jackets, greased-up hair, and disposable incomes descend on the city to stand next to their equally-terrible New York counterparts at runway presentations and after-parties.

A couple years ago, VICE spoke to a drug dealer about how biz skyrockets during Miami Art Basel, so we decided it’d be a good idea to talk to another dope peddler about putting in work at NYFW. After our regular connects blacklisted us the moment we said “question for an article,” we remembered that our one friend who works in the fashion industry as a modeling agent used to push weight. He works at a top-tier company, and doesn’t want his employers to know he mixed business with shady side hustles, so he asked us to use his pseudonyms “Dick Tracy, Brian Boitano, or Manny Ribera lol.”

VICE: What kind of work do you do in the fashion industry?
Dick Tracy: I’m technically an agent, booker, manager—they’re all the same thing. I’m going on year five. I manage 70 to 90 models, but they’re not all in town at the same time. The biggest show my models are walking at this fashion week includes spots at Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs. Continue reading