Tag Archives: Billy Sheehan

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.

(deke says- Sorry Bill for not being that great with the English Vocabulary. I know you were hesitant to carry on. Thank You for continuing on…)

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.

(deke says- To the music fan we all know you joined DLR and thanks for skipping my question about Talas.)

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.

(deke says- Never meant “unemployed”  as an insult Bill. I was impressed by the fact that you were always constantly  working.)

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.

(deke says- Lot’s of folks did not know that the DLR band covered ‘Kids In Action”. I don’t play guitar Bill so I missed that whole Guitar World article. )

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

Yes. Common knowledge.

(deke says- Nope Bill, not common knowledge as I never really heard Kim talk about it in interviews. Kim has said that he knows you but other than that…)

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.

(deke says- Thanks for clearing that up Bill.)

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.

(dekes says- Never heard of ‘Too Hard To Choose’. I wonder if Apple Music has that one?)

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!

(deke says- Thanks Bill for answering when you didn’t have too. Funny thing is I was a huge fan of Bill’s before but when I got these answers back I kind of salted on the guy a bit. Talented yes but I dunno what the deal was but that’s Bill’s issue not mine. I did give my copy of Eat Em to Tbone lol. )

Sonrisa Salvaje

This pic was taken at a show a few weeks back where the DLR 1986 band was gonna have a reunion but the Fire Marshall cancelled due to overcrowding.

Ok so this pic was taken above with Steve Vai/Gregg Bisonette/David Lee Roth and Billy Sheehan back in early December (2015)where Dave was gonna reunite the Eat Em Band(first time since 1986) for a night but due to overcrowding at a club(2,000 waiting to get in)the Fire Marshall axed the show. So no go …what a total piss off Sez I!

This band kicked serious ass back in 1986 on record and on stage so it would be real cool if they did another go round in 2016! Vai is still a monster on guitar! Sheehan is still a freak of nature  on bass while Bisonette still mashes the drums! In other words the musical portion of this band would still have the A game! Dave is Dave man…take it or leave it! With this band I’m taking it! I would love to hear that Eat Em stuff played live again and not the Yankee Roses or Goin Crazys but more of the Bump N Grind,Big Trouble,Shyboy tunes from the debut! F’in rights! Bring it boys!

Word on the street is Dave’s contract is done with VH and once again so are they with Dave! In other words no more albums or tours with Roth….Adios I guess is in order!

Now take a look at that pic above! Dave rejoined VH in 2007 and I don’t think I ever seen a VH band Roth included  backstage shot where they looked happy with each other and here’s Dave rolling in backstage with Vai and crew and he looks like he wants to be there …

Food for thought….

SONIC WAVES…..David Lee Roth/Skyscraper

January 1988 and one of my first purchases that year  was Skyscraper by Mr Roth! We all know the deal with Halen and Dave back in the 80s so I won’t  really go there! Dave though stepped up and released one of my favourite all time great solo albums (Eat Em And Smile) after leaving Van Halen! Check out my review on this site of Eat Em and you will know my deal!

Great anticipation awaits so when I purchased Skyscraper on Cd(one of my first cd purchases ever back in 88) I was surprised by the sound! Dave was always changing it up. But man did he ever change it up! 80s polish,very slickly produced by Dave and co produced by Steve Vai!

But who cares there’s Dave on the cover of Skyscraper climbing some big ass mountain in a country known as somewhere so this pic tells us that Dave is still out there !

Wonder what one of the Picasso Brothers has up his sleeve …

KNUCKLBONES-wow man Dave is streamlining his sound! Gone is the live hard-hitting sound of Eat Em And Smile in is a more technically 80s sounding record borderline almost sterile sounding! (Drums are soundings Ummm different)Who cares though it’s freezing time in Tbay in this January weather of 1988 and Daves cooking a batch of new tunes! Steve Vai rocks the guitar like you knew the mother would right! Vai is awesome in Roth’s band! Whitesnake? Don’t get me started man! Dave leads the parade and You can feel it right down to your Knucklebones!

JUST LIKE PARADISE- Brett Tuggle cranks the keys on this radio/video smash aroo that was I betcha the highest charting single off of Skyscraper! But man the sound  of the production is weak but whatever Dave pulls of one catchy chorus that even if your yelling out ‘Commercialism’ during this track when all is said and done your still mumbling well after the song is done….’this must be just like living in paradise’ Case closed! Also the vid is you know full of selling points for the tour ….boxing ring! Stage kicks,Vai double necked hearted guitar! All the trimmings ….

BOTTOM LINE- ahh there we go. Dave fires up the musical bong and takes a hit and lays into the Bottom Line which easily could have fit on the Eat Em album! Billy Sheehan and Steve Vai along with Gregg Bissonette take the reins on this one and rocket it skyward. Super duper cool rock song! Love the middle part where it sounds like the song is ….wait? Is Dave backward masking his music! Ha…..

SKYSCRAPER-I’m Falling Fallin Fallin……The title track and its a tour de force of 80s production. Dave goes all tech and Stevie Vai is on board as well! Did you know that the backward message at the end of the song says “Obey your parents and wear a condom! “Hahahaha …that goofy Dave he may go all gloss and shit but he has his sense of humour!

DAMN GOOD- Vai lays down some excellent acoustic guitar and its an exact  opposite of Skyscraper(the tune) no frills just solid acoustic picking by Mr Vai! Dave’s just chilling and reminiscing about those Damn Good Times! Great tune!

HOT DOG AND A SHAKE- Yep Dave and Stevie dump the acoustic and now rock it up looking for a Shake to go with that Hot Dog! Ha! This is late 80s Vai goes wanky with his whammy bar and its the tour opener of The Skyscraper Tour! Lyrics are goofy,song is goofy but hell its Roth so goofy to me via Dave = Street Cred!

STAND UP- keyboards drive this tune! Too  be honest I kinda skipped this track…

HINA-oh yeah man now we’re talking Hina is a great track! Vai does some  real cool fucking around at the start of the track on his guitar and Gregg Bissonette joins in and then Billy Sheehan is grooving da bass and then the Ringmaster himself David Lee telling us ” he’d like to get know the natives but he’s only flesh and blood”! Umm what? But cool regardless! During the chorus Dave is singing “Come back back back back…. What a great fucking track! One of the DLR BANDS best tracks!(EVER!)

PERFECT TIMING – keyboards drive this tune! Too be honest I kinda skipped this track….did I just not type this two songs above? More importantly there is no actual bass on this tune! Brett Tuggle and his Casio Keyboard give Mr Sheehan the day off and I guess that may be one of the reasons Billy bolted after its release.

TWO FOOLS BORN A MINUTE-guess that makes Dave 3! He says it not me! This is cool Shuffle  Demon Dave! Rhyming off cool lingo lines. Guitars are real good courtesy of Steve and some real quick bass runs by Billy and  toss in a side order of horns and boom classic send off and viola Dave 1988 is off and running…

IN CONCLUSION- Dave/Steve/ Gregg and the soon to leave Billy put out an album totally different from Eat Em! At the time I was like Huh? But over time make that 27 years time maybe that was Dave’s plan! Put out first actual full solo album release sounding like previous band(Van Halen)and when all the fan boys (myself,my younger bro Todd,Tbone and his brothers) lap it up its time to change gears and these fanboys will follow and follow we did but it came at a cost(kinda). Today I still find I can listen to this album but I will skip but Hina is the winner but there are a few misses as well and if you read this you will know what I’m talking about!

Still though…Skyscrapers a interesting record almost Dave and Steve kinda getting a little serious at times here maybe they should have called this THE JOSHUASCRAPER! after that  U2 album(Joshua Tree)

Never the Less it was a pretty good to start 1988 with the Diamond One!