Billy Sheehan admitted in a recent interview that he has been asked to join Van Halen as bassist, three different times over the years.
The first time was when he was with the band Talas, who opened for Van Halen on their 1981 “Fair Warning” tour.
Sheehan said he has been asked to replace Michael Anthony “three times through the years. And I considered it a great, great honor. However, I’m torn, because I love Michael Anthony, and I think he’s the best bass player for VAN HALEN. And as much as I would have loved to do that, I wanna see Michael in the band. And I’m not even sure why they asked me in the band, ’cause I think Michael is an awesome player and a great singer. Who knows what the situation was? But it was just a great honor to be associated with them in any capacity.”
Asked at what points in time he was asked to join the band, Sheehan said: “It was the tour after the ‘Women And Children First’ tour. I think it was ‘Fair Warning’. We talked about it then. And then I spoke with [singer] Dave [Lee Roth] about it also. I mostly spoke with [guitarist] Eddie [Van Halen], and I [talked to] Dave about it too, I remember, in Toronto, Canada. I came up to see them play from Buffalo. And then, at the end, [on the] ‘1984’ [tour], I remember Ed took me onstage to show me the stage setup, and we talked about it then. … 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 [drummer] Alex [Van Halen] for a while. And we thought about doing something then. But it didn’t happen.”