The Female Singer Eddie Van Halen Asked To Join Van Halen
Formed in 1972, Van Halen consisted of Eddie Van Halen, his brother Alex Van Halen, David Lee Roth, and Michael Anthony between 1974 and 1985. Together, they rose to prominence with energetic stage shows and Eddie’s remarkable talent in playing the guitar. Although Van Halen enjoyed great success, David Lee Roth decided to leave in 1985.
Roth’s decision to leave stemmed from his desire to embark on a solo career. Soon after he left, former Montrose frontman Sammy Hagar joined the band. During the Hagar era, Van Halen released four US number one albums and achieved commercial success. However, before he approached Hagar to fill in for Roth, Eddie asked a female singer to join Van Halen and kept this a secret.
Eddie Asked Patty Smyth To Join Van Halen And Not Speak About This
When David Lee Roth was out of the picture in 1985, Eddie Van Halen started looking for someone to front Van Halen. He then invited Scandal’s Patty Smyth to replace Roth. However, Smyth refused. At that time, the Scandal split due to internal conflicts, and Smyth was eight months pregnant.
Later, Eddie met Sammy Hagar via their mutual Ferrari mechanic. Hagar was the former frontman of Montrose who recently embarked on a solo career with a hit single ‘I Can’t Drive 55.’ After Eddie asked him to join, Hagar agreed to sing vocals and play rhythm guitar in Van Halen.
In a 2020 interview, Stereogum asked Patty Smyth whether she declined Eddie’s offer due to her negative experience with the Scandal’s group dynamic. Smyth confirmed this and said joining Van Halen would be possible if Eddie asked her to come for a few months for an album and have the baby before joining again.
Smyth stated that she had never talked about this for years because Eddie asked her to stay silent about this offer, not to make Sammy Hagar feel like he was the second choice. Due to that, Smyth never spoke about their encounter, keeping this to herself.
In the interview, Stereogum asked Patty Smyth the following:
“I don’t know the details surrounding the tensions you experienced within Scandal, but do you think it’s fair to say that your prior negative experience in a group dynamic might have given you pause to join another — way more publicly rambunctious — group?”
“Yeah, that definitely has something to do with it. I’m sure. And also just the fact that it was like, ‘I’m going to have to move to LA.’ I should have just had the conversation with Eddie. It was such a weird conversation. But if he had said to me, ‘Look, just come out for a few months and make a record. Have the baby, come out and let’s make a record.’ That to me would’ve been more doable.“
She then continued:
“I never said anything about it for years. I got a call from Ed, and he was like, ‘Look, I’m not saying that I asked you to join because I don’t want Sammy Hagar to look like he was the second choice,’ and I was like, ‘OK.’ So I never spoke about it after that. I’m like, ‘All right, I don’t need to tell people.’ If someone asked me, I didn’t lie, but I didn’t really talk about it that much.”
In the same interview, Patty Smyth also expressed remorse about not accepting Eddie’s offer back then.
What Did Patty Smyth Say About Refusing Eddie Van Halen’s Offer?
In the interview, Patty Smyth also elaborated on her decision not to be a member of Van Halen. She said she didn’t drink, but they were heavy drinkers then. Besides, she didn’t want to move to LA because she was a New Yorker. Following that, Smyth said things would be different if Eddie asked her to make a record instead of joining the band.
According to Smyth, she hesitated to join because she believed Alex and Eddie were constantly fighting. She then put the blame on her pregnancy hormones for this prejudice. Moreover, Smyth admitted regretting turning Eddie down because she would have made so much money with Van Halen.
Asked about the time Eddie offered her to join Van Halen, Patty Smyth told Stereogum the following:
“They were heavy drinkers. I don’t drink. I never saw myself living in LA. I was like, ‘I’m from New York; we don’t move to LA.'”
She then continued:
“It’s all semantics because if Eddie had said to me, ‘Let’s make a record,’ then I would have said yes. But joining the band — to me then, ‘Oh god, they fight all the time, him and his brother, and I don’t want to get into a volatile situation.’ And I was probably heavily hormoned out because I was eight months pregnant, so there was a state of mind that I was in of how I needed to take care of myself. But I regretted turning him down. For a long time, I regretted it. When you start to have regrets, I was like, ‘Oh man; I would’ve made so much money.’
I wish I had the right kind of luck. I feel like I’m in this stream or this river, and sometimes it’s just taking you where you need to go. Sometimes you’ve got to paddle and go in certain directions, and other times you’re just letting it take you. And for me, as I said, my life has turned out unbelievable. That I’ve been married and with the same man for 25 years is insane.”
So, it appears Eddie asked Patty Smyth not to talk about his offer because he thought Sammy Hagar would be upset if he felt like the second choice. Although Smyth didn’t speak to anyone about this, she regretted not accepting to join Van Halen for a long time.