Why Singer Turned Down Van Halen

Bruce Henne | 07-25-2020

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Van Halen

(hennemusic) Scandal singer Patty Smyth is sharing insight as to why she turned down a 1985 offer to join Van Halen following the departure of David Lee Roth.

After the California rockers hit their commercial peak with the "1984" album, guitarist Eddie Van Halen was left without a frontman, and he approached his friend, Smyth, with an offer to join the band.

After scoring a series of hits with Scandal through a number of lineup changes, Smyth says she had a few reasons to pass on Van Halen. "They were heavy drinkers. I don't drink," Smyth tells Stereogum while promoting her forthcoming record, "It's About Time." "I never saw myself living in L.A. I was, like, 'I'm from New York. We don't move to L.A.'

"It's all semantics because if [Eddie] had said to me, 'Let's make a record,' then I would have said yes to that. 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 need 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.'"

Smyth confirms her past band experience also influenced her decision. "Yeah, that definitely has something to do with it. I'm sure," explains the singer. "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.

"And 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] 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." Read more here.

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Copyright hennemusic - Excerpted here with permission.

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