Billy Sheehan Recalls The Van Halen Secret David Lee Roth Shared With Him
Former Talas and DLR bassist Billy Sheehan joined Artists On Record’s Stefan Adika for a chat and revealed the secret David Lee Roth confided in him in the ’80s.
When David Lee Roth decided to leave Van Halen and embark on a solo journey, he had already mapped out the outlines of his upcoming solo act. The singer had a few names in his mind, one of which was Talas’ Billy Sheehan. Previously, the bassist and his bandmates had opened for Van Halen during various shows while on tour with them.
Diamond Dave’s future solo plans were a secret back then. However, Billy Sheehan recently revealed that he was among the first to find out. When the musician went to DLR’s house and heard his offer to form a band as he had resigned from Van Halen, the bassist didn’t need to think much. Sheehan was eager to work with Dave, and there was no hesitation in his departure from Talas.
Billy Sheehan recalled:
”I went to Dave’s house, and we were talking, and he goes, ‘The real story is, you gotta keep it a state secret; you can’t tell anybody [what] the real story is. I quit Van Halen, and I want to start a band. So, you and me, let’s find a guitar player and a drummer and do it.’ I said, ‘Okay, I’m in.”’
The transition period was exciting and awkward for Sheehan, who was then on tour with his former band, Talas. Though everything was going great with Billy’s former act and they performed fully packed shows, the bassist was internally apologizing to his bandmates as he couldn’t pass up the chance to work with David Lee Roth.
The bass player explained:
”So, the bad part of that was for the whole rest of that tour with Talas and England, we were weird. We had a great tour; every night, it was jam-packed. People were going crazy. Everything was looking great, but in the background, I’m going, ‘Sorry, guys, but I can’t pass up this one.”’
As the duo went on to form The David Lee Roth Band with future additions, Sheehan left the band in 1988 after two years of working with Roth. As DLR recently shared a remastered version of Van Halen’s ‘Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love,’ the musician continues to be an active figure on the rock scene.
You can watch the entire interview below.