Bass legend Billy Sheehan says that he "hasn't heard anything at all" about a proposed reunion of VAN HALEN singer David Lee Roth's solo band following the cancelation of their November 2015 performance at the Lucky Strike Live in Hollywood.
Roth's "Eat 'Em And Smile" reunion at the Lucky Strike Live was called off at the last minute by the fire marshal. The show would have marked the first time in thirty years that Roth joined Sheehan, guitarist Steve Vai, drummer Greg Bissonette (RINGO STARR & HIS ALL-STARR BAND) and keyboardist Brett Tuggle to perform some of the hits from the classic LP. Also scheduled to join the band on stage was STEEL PANTHER vocalist Ralph Saenz (a.k.a. Michael Starr).
Asked in a new interview with Greg Prato of Songfacts if there are any updates about the possibility of a "Eat 'Em And Smile"-era band reunion, Sheehan said: "Unfortunately, no. We haven't heard from Dave in a while. I hope he's doing well. If he changes his mind and decides to do some shows, I'm ready to go, and I think Steve and Gregg feel exactly the same way.
"We have a great respect and love for Dave and what he did for us," he continued. "And if he wants us to play, I'm ready to go. But I haven't heard anything at all, so we'll see what happens with that. There's no secret undercurrent thing going on that I'm not talking about. The fact of the matter is it's Dave's call. If he chooses to do so, I couldn't be happier."
Regarding how much rehearsal he, Steve, Gregg and Brett did for the aborted show at Lucky Strike Live, Billy said: "No rehearsal, no soundcheck, no nothing. That was the whole idea: We were just going to walk up and play without anything. So we didn't rehearse.
"That particular jam was no pedals allowed, no nothing," he explained. "That's why the jam is so great: You walk in, you get up on stage, you play, you get off, and the next band is up. There's no dicking around with pedals or adjusting the drum kit or setting stuff up, so the audience actually hears band after band after band, and it's fun and exciting.
"We thought that was a proper challenge for the 'Eat 'Em And Smile' band — to just step up on stage and play it like men, and do the real thing without having to fool around with gear and soundcheck," he added. "Unfortunately, the fire department shut us down. Me and Steve were on stage, behind the curtain, ready to go when the fire department came in. No rehearsal, no practice, no nothing."
Asked if he knew beforehand that Dave was going to show up, Billy said: "Originally, we asked and we didn't hear from him, but about three days before the thing, Dave called back and said, 'Yeah, let's do it!'
"We had to keep it a secret, but people started to put two and two together and figured it out. The club holds about... legally it's 600, but they'll allow 700-725 and the fire department will look the other way. But there were about 1,200 people in there and a line all the way down the street and around the corner on Hollywood Boulevard. So probably a total of about 3,000 people had showed up, and 1,200 got in the club.
"Somebody got wise to it, because it was dangerous. People were jammed in there, so the fire department came in and said, 'Nope. Shut the whole thing down and everybody out.' In retrospect, they probably did the right thing. If something would have happened, it could have been one of the worst catastrophes in the history of show business.
"The club I don't believe did the right thing by allowing so many people in. Everybody had a friend of a friend and they all wanted to get in. I know people that were there, and they said they couldn't even put their arms out — they were jammed in like sardines. It was dangerous. So in the end, it was probably — sad as it is — wise to shut it down."
"Eat 'Em And Smile" was the first of two Roth albums to feature the duo of Vai and Sheehan on guitar and bass.