David Lee Roth Used To Use A Duct Tape To Ban Bandmates To Touch Him

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In a revealing chat with Ryan Roxie, Billy Sheehan shed light on a unique stage directive from David Lee Roth involving duct tape during their time together after Roth departed Van Halen to form his own band in late 1985. Sheehan, who was part of Roth’s band for the ‘Eat ‘Em and Smile’ and briefly for the ‘Skyscraper’ albums, discussed the dynamics of their performances and the rumored use of duct tape to enforce stage boundaries.

Sheehan clarified that the infamous duct tape line on Roth’s stage wasn’t part of the ‘Eat ‘Em and Smile’ tour. He noted, “During the ‘Eat ‘Em and Smile’ tour, Steve [Vai] and I had the freedom to roam the stage extensively without any limitations. It was a genuine band experience with no hold barred. However, I heard about the duct tape rule being implemented during the ‘Skyscraper’ tour, which I wasn’t a part of.”

Further, when probed about the existence of the duct tape line, Sheehan confirmed, “Yes, the duct tape was indeed used. In fact, there was an incident where a band member crossed the line and faced significant repercussions.”

Reflecting on his departure, Sheehan recounted a pivotal moment that occurred in the studio with Roth.

“The final straw for me was during a studio session for the ‘Skyscraper’ tour, where we recorded background vocals to be used as samples for live performances. This move towards pre-recorded vocals didn’t sit well with me. Later that same day, I had a conversation with Dave that ultimately led to me leaving the band. Thankfully, I never participated in a tour that used those fake vocals. Although my voice was part of the tour, it was only present in a digital format.”

Disenchanted with Roth’s shift towards a more electronic and pop-oriented sound with ‘Skyscraper,’ Sheehan decided to forge his own path, leading to the formation of his band, Mr. Big.

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