10 Questions With….Billy Sheehan


So I sent out a couple of these ’10 Questions with…’ One of the replies came from Billy Sheehan whom I have followed  since about 1983. Billy has been in Talas/UFO/David Lee Roth/Mr Big amongst others. 

Here’s Billy’s answer’s to my Questions….

Billy! Thanks so much for doing this for me! The first time I came across Billy Sheehan was back in 1983 when I was flipping through Kerrang Magazine. There you were playing bass for UFO on there “Making Contact’ tour! Can you explain how all that came about as back than there was no social media and you’re in Buffalo New York and then you are in UFO?

Back THEN you mean. And on THEIR Making Contact record. These words are important. They have meaning. Please use them correctly. I’m hesitant to continue after seeing this, but I will try. Talas opened for UFO in Buffalo and they all saw me play. Michael Schenker used me on his first solo record ( though I ended up not recording ), and UFO called me to do this tour.


From there I picked up on import here in Thunder Bay a copy of “Talas’ Live Speed On Ice’. Up until that point I time I had never heard a Bass solo! Your ” 7718 (3A17)” is one the of the best. That live album is a great document of a band on the move. It was hard for me back than to find anything about Talas in magazines. What made you guys call it day?

I joined David Lee Roth. I thought that was pretty obvious.

One thing I know for certain is “unemployed’ is not used in your vocabulary. From the demise of Talas you join David Lee Roth which I know you have heard a million times over how good that band was! I will add that sentiment as well. ”Eat Em And Smile” is a fine display of musicianship as you guys set the bar very high on that album! What memories of that time standout the most?

No–there was no demise of Talas resulting in me going to join Dave. Wrong sequence of events. I left the band when Dave called me. I was never “unemployed”. You are the first person in 33 years to assume such a thing.

One song that I would like to finally hear your answer on is that I have read over the years that the DLR band covered Kim Mitchells ‘Kids In Action’. Was that song recorded? If so why was it not released?

The entire story is in Guitar Worlds article about the DLR band by Greg Renoff. That’s the first time it was ever written about.

Keeping with a Canadian Connection here. Were you ever in Kim’s band ‘Max Webster?

Yes. Common knowledge.

On Roth’s ‘Skyscraper’ album I really love your bass lines on “Two Fools A Minute” You and Steve Vai are a dynamite together. Any chance of doing any recording at all together? If so I guessed I missed it! My apologies …

Steve and I have recorded since then many times.

From Roth you formed Mr Big and that is a band that has done real well right out of gate. My condolences on Drummer Pat Torpey passing away as well. I think its great that you guys are still out there playing Mr Big music as its timeless! How did Mr Big decide to pack it in was that due to Grunge sweeping North America back in 92-93 even though you guys were and still are huge in Japan?

It was due to nothing other than us being burnt out.

First ever album  that you purchased?

Having a Rave Up with the Yardbirds

If you had to go with 5 all time favourite albums as a music fan what would they be?

Too hard to choose.

Feel free to plug whatever it is that you are currently up to! On a side note. Thanks so much for answering my 10 “Fanboy’ Questions. I should have asked 30! Continued success Billy!

Thanks very much! My pleasure!


59 thoughts on “10 Questions With….Billy Sheehan”

  1. I sent these questions as a Fan! Plain and simple. As you can tell by Billy’s first response these 10 Questions were going to go sideways quick! Fair enough that’s his deal…
    Granted Grammar has never been my strength so Thanks for the spell check….
    I was angling it as a ‘hey I’ve been following you for over 30 years but I never knew how you went from Buffalo-Talas-UFO….
    His response baffled me for whatever reason…
    My question pertaining to ‘Kids In Action’ as well. I had no idea it was discussed in Guitar World. For one thing I don’t play guitar so I don’t buy Guitar World. The other thing is I only found out about that track being perhaps recorded when someone posted Roth demo’s on youtube and someone else commented about that track in the comments .
    The question about being in Max Webster as well. Never heard from Kim’s mouth Billy was a member or what year or anything. Common Knowledge? Perhaps to the die hard Webster fan but not me!
    Also the ‘unemployed’ comment I meant it as a compliment as he was always working. I did send Billy a message after I read his answer apologizing if I insulted him in which he replied with “Didn’t take it as such, and said nothing to indicate I did.”
    I left that answer alone and decided I’m not going to get in a pissing match with this guy…
    I wasn’t really to sure if I was going to post this but last weekend I was out a Tbone’s camp and showed him this…one of the first things he said after he read it was “I didn’t know he was in Max Webster!” HAHA…so there ya go!
    Tbone encouraged me to run this ’10 Questions With’ saying “Man do it Billy Sheehan got back to you” Fair enough and True. It can’t always be easy now can it…
    I still hold Billy’s work in high regard especially the two Roth albums so that won’t diminish anything…..

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Your questions were lacking any competency at all when it comes to interviews. You came across as a 13 year old.

      Most interviewers do some research on their subject PRIOR to doing an interview or submitting a Q/A sheet to a target.

      Clearly, you lack any skill in that arena whatsoever.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ed….looking forward to reading some of your masterpieces. Please give a link to them.
        As for research, I’m gonna say Deke has more rock knowledge in his little finger, than you have acquired in your 14-15 years of life.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. Still a fan of his work but is he serious. I buy Guitar World and I can’t even recall the interview.

    It’s also common knowledge that Artists will need to retell the stories they have already told, in interviews, especially in the times we live in now.

    Should have replied back to him: I didn’t know you did comedy as a side gig.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Me too. I remember a DLR Eat Em and Smile article a wee while back but don’t remember any mention of that song. It would have been such a small part of piece, wouldn’t have hurt him to talk about it again… especially when the issue is long out of print!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I try to make these fun. Not to serious and try to ask some questions that I have never really read about. Case in point the Mitchell tune…
        Your right a simple 3 or 4 sentences would have been nice but like I said his answers were his deal. Not mine…
        I still have a few of these sent out so we shall see what happens…

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Well he could have just ignored my Questions in which I guess you could say he dismissed my compliments towards him. Kinda puzzling but I’m sure as hell not losing any sleep over it. Plus it liven’s up the comment section..hahaha

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Deke,
    I know that it wasn’t easy to post comments by a once-upon-a-time rock star because he was being a dick. But the more important story here is that you, as an 80’s rock journalist, got Billy “Fuckin” Sheehan to answer your 10 Questions. His answers are simply for our entertainment, but the real genius here is that you got him to respond and get involved in something real. His comments in No Way represent you or change any of our opinions of you. But the fact that you got him to comment on the first place? Kind of makes you a Current River Legend! 🤟🏻

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah…well I’m sure you read the answers and such. Thats the way it goes! Didn’t realize he would be insulted so much especially after the first question!
      Spelling I sometimes goof up on and he made me accountable which is fair enough…
      it was just 10 questions that I asked and were all complimentary towards his career ….
      Like I said before…
      His Deal Not mine….
      Flat out refuse to mention his name anymore in print!
      I was waiting for your response to this one as we both hold the Eat Em album in high regard which I still do ….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re being too kind on him, man. I knew from his first answer that he was a class A tadger. I don’t think he had to be like that over some grammar.

        Anyhoo, I learned that he’s not the kind of chap I would like to meet regardless of his contributions to some splendid albums (it doesn’t get much better than Eat Em and Smile). Methinks he thinks he’s front page news and everyone knows all about him. Common knowledge? To who? He had no reason to be a walloper. Especially when you’re a fan.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Geoff!
      That is indeed the way the cookie crumbles!
      I do appreciate the fact that he did answer but he ended tuning me up quicker than his Bass!
      A shame as I thought it was a great or could have been a great interview! You win some lose some!
      But in all things journalism(haha) you have to print the good stuff with the not so good..
      Here’s a quote that one of my buddies messaged me with…

      “You meet all kinds in the music interview business, trust me. I’ve learned that you have to separate the artist from the art, unfortunately.”

      Very True and once I read that I got it and was ok with it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Guess he was calling me out on my Grammar and such. Fair enough but that has never been my strong point. Tell all of them upfront. I’m a fan and I try to condense a career into 10 questions. Basically 6 questions as the last 4 are the fun ones…
        I have a few more out there floating around.
        See what happens….May take a break from the sending out questionnaires and just go back to spouting off on records and such…hahah

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I hope the one less than pleasant experience with this guy doesn’t slow you down with the 10 questions series Deke – I’m enjoying your questions, even if I’m not always crazy about their answers!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. WOW. Deke somehow I missed this one earlier.
    I would have edited this out before print.

    This shows you are a braver and much better man than I. We can all strive to be like you one day. Good on you brother.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. First question answered.

    I see you made a few spelling mistakes but in 2018 I know being in the grammar police just makes you come across as a know it all.

    I will ignore that because you have praised my music for years and I took the time to read your awesome posts. So thank you very much Deke.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Not for nuthin’, but remember….there is no inflection or tone in an email. I got the “unemployment” quip as being facetious and reverent, but perhaps it didn’t read that way for him? (I’m ASSUMING) It was difficult to ascertain if these were “wise-ass” questions or legit . I respect Billy (as a fan) a lot. He’s always been forthright and open when I’ve seen/read other interviews. Perhaps was just a bad day and thought the questions (as others alluded to) juvenile. Either way, doesn’t change the price of tea in China…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your comment!
      Everyone has an opinion as do you. Fair enough your a fan of this ‘Guy’ I get it and so was I. Talented Fella no doubt.
      But I make no bones that I’m just a fan. Was asking questions I never knew the answers too. So if thats being ‘Juvenile’ than so be it. Millions of other blogs to read and trust me Pal I don’t lose sleep over yours or anyone else’s thoughts…
      I just commented back to you as it’s the nice thing to do as I could have ‘spammed’ ya to the bin…
      Take Care..

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Knowing Deke, he was trying to be conversational not juvenile. But as you said, tone and inflection don’t come across in email. I give Deke a lot of credit for shooting these guys the questions — I’ve been writing my own stuff for 6 years but didn’t think of that. So for a newer guy on the scene, I think Deke did pretty good overall, but Billy could have just not answered.

      Liked by 1 person

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