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Why Mitch Malloy Didn’t Join Van Halen

Mitch Malloy
Mitch Malloy

Singer Mitch Malloy has once again discussed his brief mid-’90s tenure as the almost-third singer for Van Halen, saying he turned down an offer to join the group because “it was clear to me that there was something amiss.”

Appearing on Mitch Lafon’s podcast, Malloy said he was offered the job following the first departure of the band’s second singer, Sammy Hagar, back in 1996. However, a gut feeling, compounded by mixed messages caused by the band’s tumultuous on-air reunion with original singer David Lee Roth at that year’s MTV Video Music Awards, made him decide to say no.

Even though he described himself as a “very confident” guy, and said guitarist Eddie Van Halen was extremely complimentary about the work the singer did while auditioning for the group (which resulted in at least one new and much-bootlegged song titled, ironically enough, “It’s the Right Time”), Malloy said something just didn’t seem right.

“I go on gut feelings, and it was clear to me that something was amiss, so why continue?” he explained. “It seemed like they were uneasy, and that whole presentation with Dave thing that they did for MTV … I mean everybody kind of knows now … that they were forced to [do that]. But I didn’t know they were going to do that, it was kind of like, ‘What is going on right now?’ It was a very strange time, and it didn’t feel good. [So] I was like, well, if they don’t want me, let me do them a favor and bow out.”

Twenty years later and currently in the middle of an overseas tour in support of his most recent album Making Noise, Malloy remains confident he made the right move. “I know a lot of people lament about their decisions, but I am not that guy,” he told Laffon. “I’m sure people will look at me and go, ‘You’re an idiot.’ And maybe they’re right, but oh well!”

Extreme singer Gary Cherone instead became Van Halen’s third singer, debuting with the band on 1998’s much-maligned and low-selling Van Halen III album. He was dismissed from the group the next year, and following a disastrous 2004 reunion tour with Hagar, Van Halen brought Roth back into the fold for 2007, 2012 and 2015 tours, and the 2012 studio album A Different Kind of Truth.

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