Bassist Billy Sheehan revealed he was asked to join Van Halen three times over the years, according to Blabbermouth. Sheehan, who was voted "Best Rock Bass Player" five times in Guitar Player magazine's readers' poll, is best known for his work in David Lee Roth's first post-Van Halen band and later, Mr. Big.
During a chat with The Metal Voice, Sheehan spoke about the various offers to replace Michael Anthony he received over over the years: "I was offered the position as bassist three times through the years and I consider it a great honor. However I am torn because I love Michael Anthony and I think he is the best bass player for Van Halen. And as much as I would have love to do that — I want to see Michael in the band. I'm not sure why they asked me to join the band. Michael is an awesome player and singer and who knows what the situation was?"
He remembered the initial time he was asked to join the band: "The first time was the tour of Fair Warning — we talked about it then, then I spoke about it with David Lee Roth, but I mostly spoke about it with Eddie Van Halen in Toronto, Canada and then the second time was 1984. Eddie showed me the stage set up we talked abut it then."
Sheehan went on to recall the third and most recent time he was asked to join Van Halen: "The last time that it went down, I went up to Eddie's studio when I lived in L.A. a few years back, and jammed with him and Alex (Van Halen) for a while. And we thought about doing something then. But it didn't happen."
Sheehan went on to say that he's the only player to have performed with every member of Van Halen over the years: "I played with Dave. I did a show with Michael Anthony for a NAMM Show jam. I jammed with Eddie and Al at their house. I played with Sammy Hagar. I did a Who tribute tour with Gary Cherone. And I never played with Wolfie — played music with him — but we did. . . myself, Ed, Steve Lukather, and Pat Torpey did a benefit show for Jason Becker in Chicago one year, and Ed was kind enough to offer me to fly home with him. And he was with his son. And Ed wanted to sleep. So I played — he was a little tiny kid, Wolfgang — and we played some number games and letter games and drew pictures. So, technically, I played with him, but not music. But I love that band. I love all those guys."
Billy Sheehan was part of David Lee Roth's initial backing band from 1985 to 1988 and performed and toured behind Roth's his first two albums — 1986's Eat 'Em And Smile and 1988's Skyscraper.
Back in the day, "Diamond Dave" shed light on how the band connected during the Eat 'Em And Smile sessions: ["The band actually came together in bits and pieces. It wasn't just like everybody just convened at once. But one by one, we started playing together. Billy and I actually started off in the basement. He's got a tune that's on there, 'Shy Boy,' that's on the record, and as soon as Stevie started, y'know, applying himself to the job, come down to the basement (laughter) and that sort of thing, we stared writing together as well. Most of the album is all original stuff — and it's rock and roll."] SOUNDCUE (:23 OC: . . . rock and roll)
David Lee Roth On His First Solo Band :