I laughed hard every day. I don’t remember how many days David Lee Roth actually worked at the studio, but while he was there, his one-liners kept coming at machine-gun speed.

“She calls me up — must have been after midnight.” Diamond Dave has us in stitches one night in the video editing suite. “She wants to come over to my place. What do you do, right? She bangs and bangs and bangs on the door. Keeps banging on the door. And so finally, at six in the morning, I let her out.”

My friend Gary Tole, a recording engineer, had called me a couple of weeks earlier to ask about studio time for Dave. He had worked with Nile Rodgers on Dave’s last album, and now Dave needed to record and mix a track for a lounge act he was putting together. But they had to be careful with the budget because he also needed to create a video to accompany the recording.

“Who’s doing the video?” I asked.

“No idea,” said Gary. “We haven’t even started looking into that.”

“We can do it all here,” I said.

Here was Sony Music Studios: eighty-five thousand square feet of audio studios, sound stages, video editing suites, and rehearsal rooms a few steps from Midtown. There was no place like it.

It was the spring of 1995, and the studio had just turned two years old. But the industry still didn’t quite understand how much work an artist could accomplish under our single roof. Dave, an A-list personality in need of a career leg up, provided the perfect opportunity for the team to show what it could do.

I got up with Jack Gulick, head of production for Sony Music’s Automatic Productions, and he made it very clear that given the state of Mariah (Carey, our number one client, one of the world’s leading artists, and the boss’s wife), he had no time or interest in resurrecting Dave’s career. But with the right conditions, he would agree to take it on.

Jack was amazing. He put together a great production team, and he asked Scott Floyd Lochmus, who headed up stages at the time, to direct (Scott went on to work with Céline Dion and Barbra Streisand, and is now a producer in Hollywood).

The song Dave chose was “Ice Cream Man,” a song Van Halen had recorded on its first album. He was going for something totally different this time, and he worked with some of the best musicians, including Edgar Winter and members of the Miami Sound Machine. While the audio crew hunkered down in a recording studio, Scott and the video crew got busy with the story.

On the first day of shooting, the main stage was filled with onlookers, me included. Even our executive VP was there. I had no idea this many people would show up, and I was concerned Dave would be annoyed. But he loved it; we were his fuel. As final adjustments were being made to the lighting, he entertained us with his patter. In the middle of it, he found the opportunity to thank me for helping arrange things. That mention meant a lot, and I thanked Dave for it later.

Several evenings after the shooting was complete, we were sitting in a video editing session and I asked Dave about his rock climbing. In his “Just Like Paradise” video, he’s climbing the northwest facing route of Half Dome in Yosemite, and he looks like a fairly serious climber. I used to do some climbing and wondered if he was still involved.

“What are you doing tomorrow morning at seven o’clock?” he replied.

I hesitated, waiting for another of his one-liners.

“Meet me at the edge of Central Park,” he says, “right across from the Mayflower Hotel. Seven A.M. sharp.”

I’m there early, and he shows up at seven A.M. on the dot. He’s wearing a ball cap, shades, and carrying a knapsack. As we walk some distance into the park to a boulder that he tells me he’s been practicing on for years, he tells me about the team he went to Half Dome with: a photographer and two individuals who he said make less than $5,000 a year. They do one thing, he said: They climb.

We get to the boulder. It’s exposed, away from trees, but it doesn’t stand out; it fits into the topography. The rock is eight, maybe 10 feet tall, and I can tell by the chalk marks of climbers from the days before that it offers some challenging edges and interesting holds.

Dave pulls from his knapsack a pair of climbing shoes and a bag of chalk and hands them to me. He puts his climbing shoes on and, with no fanfare, approaches the boulder. Within seconds, he’s sideways on the face of the boulder with a heel-hook on an edge I can hardly see. He’s the real thing.

I was very out of practice. He coached me, and we spotted each other for close to an hour. Then we climbed an easy route to the top of the boulder and sat up there to take a break.

“So, what do want to know?” he asked me, which I thought was very generous of him.

The whole experience was surreal. I’d been in the business for a long time and worked with major acts every day. But Van Halen was a Kennedy band for me: I remember exactly where I was when I first heard them. And here I am sitting on top of a boulder with David Lee Roth.

“It feels like you’re the last of the song and dance men,” I said.

He grinned in appreciation.

“I owe that to Manny. My Uncle Manny,” he said. Manny Roth was the owner of Café Wha?, a club in Greenwich Village where many comedians and musicians began their careers. He sold it in 1968.

“I’d go down there as a kid whenever I could and watch all those entertainers. I saw Lenny Bruce. I saw how you had to keep moving — keep moving, keep going, keep them laughing.” He looked out across the park. “You gotta keep them laughing.”

This was a different Dave than Diamond Dave, MTV Dave, dressing-room-trashing Dave, Washington Square Park Dave. When he wasn’t a showman, he was sincere and thoughtful. He went into some of the details of Van Halen’s breakup, offering some personal reflections from that period, and we ended up sitting on that boulder for a long time.

I had to get to work, so we climbed down. I put my sneakers back on and handed him the climbing shoes and the bag of chalk.

“Keep them,” he said. “Let’s do this again.”