Billy Sheehan Was Offered the Van Halen Job Three Times
"I was offered the position as bassist three times through the years, and I consider it a great honor," he told That Metal Voice. "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."
2/09 Update: Sheehan has clarified his statements, declaring that Van Halen "never followed through on any sort of an official offer and therefore I never 'turned down' any offer, because it eventually fell through." You can read the full new story here. The original article continues below.
Sheehan, who now plays with Sons of Apollo, came into Van Halen's orbit when his band Talas opened for them in 1981, at which point they first approached him.
"The first time was the tour of Fair Warning," Sheehan recalled. "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 setup. We talked about it then. Then the last time was when I got together with Eddie and Alex Van Halen at their house."
You can watch the interview below.
Sheehan, a founding member of both Mr. Big and the Winery Dogs, has spoken previously about Van Halen asking him to join the band in 2013 and 2015. But on each occasion, he's said he was asked "a couple of times" to join. This is the first instance where he's disclosed a third time.
Sons of Apollo -- which features former members of Journey, Guns N' Roses and Dream Theater -- released MMXX last month. They'll wrap up a North American tour on Feb. 8 in Englewood, N.J. A European tour starts on Feb. 29.