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David Lee Roth originally wanted Steve Stevens for his solo band

David Lee Roth

Classic Rock

David Lee Roth originally wanted Steve Stevens for his solo band

After years of success fronting Van Halen, the singer David Lee Roth decided to leave the band in 1985 and form his own group. The line-up of the first album had Steve Vai (Guitar), Billy Sheehan (Bass) and Gregg Bissonette (Drums).


With those musicians, Lee Roth recorded the albums “Eat ‘Em and Smile” (1986) and Skyscraper (1988). But according to the bassist Billy Sheehan, Roth originally wanted the Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens for his band.

The musician told that story in an interview with Ryan Roxie (Transcribed by Ultimate Guitar).

David Lee Roth originally wanted Steve Stevens for his solo band

“Steve (Stevens) was the guitarist Dave had his sights on. I think they spoke a little bit. But Steve was solid with Billy Idol and wanted to stay where he was. I met Steve after the rock band… we almost did a band together. He’s an amazing guitarist and a wonderful guy.”

“But when it didn’t work out with Dave, I told Dave, ‘I know another Steve,’ because I had already spoken with Steve Vai about possibly working with him. So, when Steve Stevens wasn’t available, I had Dave contact Steve and he worked out great,” Billy Sheehan said.

Before working with David Lee Roth, Steve Vai had already worked with Frank Zappa and had been a member of the Hard Rock band Alcatrazz, which had Graham Bonnet as the vocalist.

Besides being Billy Idol’s longtime collaborator, Steve Stevens also achieved fame on his own, especially with the release of the Top Gun theme song, which won a Grammy in 1987. During his years outside Idol’s band, Stevens released solo albums and was a member of Vince Neil’s solo group.  He had also collaborated with other artists like Michael Jackson, Ric Ocasek, Robert Palmer and many others.

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