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Mr. Big’s Eric Martin recalls failed audition to Van Halen back in 1985

Eric Martin Van Halen
Photos by Frank Schwichtenberg and Alan Light

Classic Rock

Mr. Big’s Eric Martin recalls failed audition to Van Halen back in 1985

Mr. Big singer Eric Martin recalled in an interview with Appetite For Distortion when he was invited to audition to Van Halen back in 1985 but “chickened out” because Eddie Van Halen said he loved Martin’s voice but hated his records (Eric Martin had a solo career before Mr. Big).


Mr. Big’s Eric Martin recalls failed audition to Van Halen back in 1985:

“Oh, man, I’m not going there. That’s the biggest thorn in my side. OK, I know what you’re going to say… I was invited to audition for Van Halen. I talked to him on the phone two or three times, flew down to L.A., knew people that worked for the Van Halen organization, knew Michael Anthony actually, but yeah…”

“Just to be asked to come on down… I did a record with Danny Kortchmar and Greg Ladanyi, who both produced ‘Building the Perfect Beast,’ and all the musicians that played on that record – played on my record… we were in the same studio together. So Danny Corchmar was in New York, and he ran into Eddie (Van Halen), and he said, ‘This kid’s really good, we just did a record…'”

“So, here’s the quote – he calls me up and he goes, ‘Hey, I’m Edward Van Halen, Danny Corchmar told me about you. I listened to your record, and man, you’re a great singer, but I hate your records. You shouldn’t be doing that kind of stuff’.”

Martin continued explaining that he then agreed with Van Halen on the phone, saying “Yeah, you’re right! You’re right Man! It does suck!

He then explained that after the conversation he had no confidence to go an audition with the band, “Yeah, I chickened out. I wish I had done it. I was two miles from 5150 and his house and I just went ‘I can’t do it!’.

In the same interview he also said that he had the chance to meet almost all Guns N’ Roses members

“I actually saw them with Metallica and it was neck-and-neck, man, Metallica actually was pretty good, especially that night. I wore a Duff McKagan shirt on a bunch of Mr. Big festivals after that, it looked cool.”

“I played with Gilby [Clarke, guitar], I’ve done some gigs with Gilby, I think I opened to him or he opened to me, I can’t remember, but yeah, just my connection is just Duff and Matt [Sorum, drums], and Gilby.”

“Also I know Bumblefoot, we have a lot of the same friends. I never met Axl [Rose], I would like to one day, and I have run into Slash, I was introduced to Slash once, nice people.”

Eric Martin

Born in Long Island, New York back in 1960, Eric Martin sang in 415/Eric Martin Band from 1978 to 1985 and then started a solo career from 1985 to 1988, when joined the supergroup Mr. Big teaming up with bassist Billy Sheehan, drummer Pat Torpey and guitarist Paul Gilbert.

I'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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