In a new interview with We Go To 11, bassist Billy Sheehan was asked if there is any existing professionally filmed video of a concert performance by VAN HALEN singer David Lee Roth and the band for his debut solo album, “Eat ‘Em And Smile”. “I’ve got it,” Billy responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). “I have it. I think I’m the only guy with it. They shot it pro. It’s Dave‘s tour and Dave‘s business, so I can’t do anything with it, unfortunately. At some point, maybe I’ll try and get in touch with Dave, ‘Do you wanna put this out?’ But I had a pro-shot … I forgot how I got it. As far as I know, nobody else has it. I just reviewed it the other day and backed it up again to another three drives to make sure I didn’t lose it.”
Sheehan continued: “I’m not sure if it could be out someday, if Dave would be interested in doing it, but I’ve got it; it’s here for him. If he wants it, I’ll be happy to put it on my Dropbox and send it over to him. But most of [the videos that are out there] are hand-held [clips], shaky with [muffled] audio. This one is — the audio is good; it’s not great. But it’s better than most of the hand-held camera things.
“Back then, a video camera, to sneak it into a venue [was very difficult], but somehow people did. It’s pretty amazing. I mean, they were sneaking bottles of Jack Daniel’s in, and a camera wasn’t too far of a stretch during concerts in 1986 there.
“So, yeah, I do have a pro-shot [concert],” Billy repeated. “And for a while I couldn’t find it, so I thought, ‘Did I imagine that? Am I fooling myself here?’ But sure enough, the other day, ‘Uh-uh. There it is. I’ve got it.'”
This past February, guitar legend Steve Vai said that the train had “left the station” when it comes to a proposed reunion of Roth‘s solo band following the cancelation of their November 2015 performance in Hollywood.
Roth‘s “Eat ‘Em And Smile” reunion at the Lucky Strike Live nearly seven years ago was called off at the last minute by the fire marshal. The show would have marked the first time in three decades that Roth joined Vai, Sheehan, drummer Greg Bissonette (RINGO STARR & HIS ALL-STARR BAND) and keyboardist Brett Tuggle to perform some of the hits from the classic LP.
Asked in an interview with Barbara Caserta of Italy’s Linea Rock about the possibility of a “Eat ‘Em And Smile”-era band reunion, Vai said: “You never know about these things. And we touched on it in the past. It’s a logistical thing too, because Dave had VAN HALEN, I had my solo career, Billy has… everybody is kind of busy. And I would only have done it with the ‘Eat ‘Em And Smile’ [lineup], I think. And the idea was very intriguing, and I never rule out anything. But as time went on, the train kind of left the station. I understand now that Dave is retiring so I don’t know when something like that could happen. It’s a long shot.”
Vai, Sheehan and Bissonette reunited on in January 2019 for a two-song performance at “Ultimate NAMM Night” in Anaheim, California. They were joined by singer Jeff Scott Soto (SONS OF APOLLO, TALISMAN, YNGWIE MALMSTEEN) to play a cover of the QUEEN classic “Tie Your Mother Down” and the Sheehan-penned TALAS headbanger “Shy Boy” which appeared on the “Eat ‘Em And Smile” album.
“Eat ‘Em And Smile” was the first of two Roth albums to feature the duo of Vai and Sheehan on guitar and bass.
Billy said in a 2017 interview with Songfacts that he was “ready to go” if Roth ever decided to do some shows with the “Eat ‘Em And Smile” band. “We have a great respect and love for Dave and what he did for us,” he continued. “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.”
In January, Roth issued a brief statement after the cancelation of the remaining farewell shows he was set to play at the House Of Blues at Mandalay Bay. The 67-year-old VAN HALEN frontman had previously scrapped concerts scheduled for New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day and was to play a total of nine shows as he vowed to retire from performing live.
When asked if Roth‘s farewell performances will take place at a later date, he told Fox News Digital in a statement: “It’s not about me anymore. When the benefits for Kentucky, Colorado, and Farm Aid kick in; Call me.”
In a similarly worded statement to EW, Roth said about the cancelation of his Vegas residency: “Sometimes you win, Sometimes you lose, We got rained out.. “Covid cancelled.
“Future shows? When the benefit concerts for Colorado, Farm Aid, and hospital workers ‘everywhere’ come up; Call me..,” he added.
In October, the legendary VAN HALEN singer announced that he was ending his career with his Vegas shows during the first weeks of January. “I am throwing in the shoes. I’m retiring,” Roth told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “These are my last shows.” He added: “I’m not going to explain the statement. The explanation is in a safe.”