It is common for Van Halen fans to end up having the eternal debate of which of its two historic vocalists was the one that raised the band to higher levels: David Lee Roth or Sammy Hagar. What not all fans of the group will know is that the second was not the first option that Eddie Van Halen considered when it came to finding a substitute for Roth, since before he came to offer the position to Patty Smyth.
However, until just a few months before, Scandal’s vocalist declined this offer. Smyth explained in an interview with Stereogum that his refusal was due to the terms used in this proposal:
“They were heavy drinkers,” she told. “I don’t drink.” Also, she didn’t want to leave her hometown: “I never saw myself living in L.A. I was like, ‘I’m from New York, we don’t move to L.A.’
The invite came from Eddie Van Halen, with whom she’d grow friendly. But even though she rejected, there was a situation that she would have taken the offer.
“It’s all semantics because if [Eddie] had said to me, ‘Let’s make a record,’ then I would have said yes to that,” she said. “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 hormone 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.’
“And I never said anything about it for years,” she added. “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.”
Earlier, Smyth revealed that she’s putting out her first album of all-new stuff since 1992’s self-titled effort, which highlighted her hit duet with Don Henley, “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough.” It’s About Time will be released on Oct. 9 and highlights the new single “Drive,” which you can watch below and covers of Tom Waits’ “Downtown Train” and Bobbie Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe.”