Before Steve Vai, another guitarist piqued David Lee Roth’s interest for his solo band

Steve Vai left the band in 1989 following their Skyscraper tour.

Steve Vax playing his heart shaped guitar as part of David Lee Roth's band

Image: Paul Bergen / Getty

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Before Steve Vai joined David Lee Roth’s Eat ‘Em And Smile band, Roth had his eye on another guitarist, according to bassist Billy Sheehan.

Another Steve was considered for the lineup, but this player was already busy working alongside Billy Idol – that guitarist was of course Steve Stevens.

Eat ‘Em And Smile was Roth’s debut solo record away from Van Halen, and consisted of Vai, Sheehan, drummer Gregg Bissonette and of course, Roth. It landed in the summer of 1986 and is certified Platinum in the US.

Speaking on the Ryan Roxie Podcast, Sheehan reveals how Vai became the final choice of axe wielder for the project (via Ultimate Guitar): “Steve [Stevens] was the guitarist Dave had his sights on. I think they spoke a little bit. But Steve was in 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,” begins Sheehan.

“But when it didn’t work out, 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 [Vai] and he worked out great.”

Check out the interview below:

Roth has been making headlines in recent months as Sammy Hagar prepares for his Best Of All Worlds tour where he will be playing Van Halen songs alongside Joe Satriani, Michael Anthony, and Jason Bonham.

Hagar had extended an invite to Roth to join the outfit on the road, but Roth has since made several awkward remarks about both Hagar, and former Van Halen bassist and current Mammoth WVH frontman, Wolfgang Van Halen.

Find out more about the Best Of All Worlds tour.

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