Sebastian Bach Said He Was Once Considered for Van Halen Vocalist Slot
There is an alternate universe in which Sebastian Bach, and not Gary Cherone, became the third singer for Van Halen. Could that’ve saved Van Halen III from being such a massive disappointment? Unclear!
In a new chat with Eddie Trunk, Bach said he was considered for the vacant vocalist slot after Sammy Hagar left the band in 1996. The conversations took place between Skid Row and Van Halen’s managers at the time, Doc McGhee and Ray Danniels, and got as far as an in-person appearance with Baz that never ended up resulting in an audition. He explains:
“Doc McGhee had me up at the office, and Ray Danniels was managing [Van Halen] at the time, and Ray and Doc were talking. But they didn’t want Eddie to smoke weed. And I go, ‘That’s funny,’ because I was smoking weed with Ray Danniels. I go, ‘So you can [smoke weed] but I can’t. What the fuck? The lead singer of Van Halen can’t smoke pot? What?’ But that was a discussion.
“I was summoned into Doc’s office, and there was talk about it. At the time, they were looking for a singer. But I didn’t get to audition. I don’t think Doc was into me leaving Skid Row either; there was something about that.”
That last bit is especially interesting, because Bach would end up leaving Skid Row later that same year. But it doesn’t seem he’s beating himself up over what could have been: he’s previously on record as saying he couldn’t fill David Lee Roth’s shoes, telling MTV News in 1999 when Cherone left the band:
“The thing is, man, there’s only one singer for Van Halen, and that’s David Lee Roth, and if they’ve got no use for him, what possible use could they have for me? If they don’t like him, they definitely won’t like me.”
“I mean, when they’re looking for singers and they pick Gary Cherone, they’re thinking in ways that we’re not. I mean, I love Gary. He’s a really nice guy, but you can’t be a really nice guy and be the lead singer of Van Halen. It just doesn’t go together. You got to kick some ass, man, and he does kick ass in his Gary Cherone way. But David Lee Roth was doing kicks off of the drum riser and flying 40 feet in the air. It’s a tough act to follow. I can’t do that, but I can sing the Sammy Hagar stuff and the David Lee Roth stuff. I’m not bragging, I’m stating a fact.”
Think about what could’ve been by watching Bach perform “Hot for Teacher” with the Steve Stevens Band in New York a few years ago: