Music Video of the Day: Jump by Van Halen (1983, dir. Pete Angelus)


If you live in a place that celebrates Daylight Savings Time, then remember to set your clocks forward an hour.

This is one of those videos where the people involved can tell the story behind the video.

Pete Angelus was the director of the video. He had a relationship with the band that went back to the 1970s.

Robert Lombard was the producer.

Ann Carli was the senior vice president of artist development at Jive Records.

Here’s the backstory from the book I Want My MTV:

Robert Lombard: “Jump” is where the drama really started. Dave wanted the performance video intercut with him doing crazy shit, like driving his chopped Merc hot rod and hanging out with midgets and girls in maids’ outfits. So we shot hours of footage.

Pete Angelus: Rather than doing something bigger than life, which is how Van Halen was perceived, we wanted something very personal. Let’s see if we can get Edward to smile. Of course, we also had to appease Dave, who wanted to throw his karate tricks into the equation.

Michael Anthony: There was getting to be a little bit of tension between us three and Dave.

Robert Lombard: I told the band, “I’m gonna shoot in sections.” Alex would show up, we’d do some drum segments, then bass with Michael Anthony, then guitar, then David. I didn’t shoot them together until the end of the day. I was trying to keep peace, because I felt tension amongst them. David thought he was bigger than the rest of them.

I was in post-production with a rough cut of the video. I knew that if they kept it as a straight-on performance video, they would have a number one single. So I took the rough cut to Eddie’s house up in Coldwater Canyon and played it for him and his brother Alex. I said, “Guys, I’m taking a stand here. If you put in this crazy footage”–which later surfaced in “Panama,” after I was gone–“the video isn’t gonna have the impact it should have.” Eddie and Alex said, “We agree with you, one hundred percent. We’re not gonna release this video unless it’s done this way.”

Two days later, I got fired. Noel Monk, their manager, said, “You don’t do that–you don’t go behind Dave’s back. Here’s your check, never want to see you again.” That video won the award for best performance video at the first VMAs. And I still don’t have my award.

Pete Angelus: I think we spent less money making “Jump” than we did on having pizzas delivered to the set of “Hot for Teacher.”

Ann Carli: The legend was that “Jump” was a $5,000 video. David Lee Roth’s swinging on a rope, but he’s also playing right to camera. Nobody did that. That was a groundbreaking video, and it had an impact on how everybody looked at making videos.

Enjoy!

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