Former Guns N’ Roses manager Alan Niven has revealed that back in the early 80s, Eddie Van Halen was considering leaving Van Halen in favour for glam rock act KISS.
During an interview with Rock Talk With Mitch Lafon Niven revealed that when the band were first starting out, they would cut their teeth practising by playing KISS covers.
“Well, that will probably explain why it took five years instead of two and a half – they might have been snapped up earlier if they hadn’t been playing ‘Party All Night’ or whatever that cursed thing is.”
He then went on to detail that during a time of tension at the Van Halen camp in 1983, Eddie phoned up Gene Simmons, asking to join KISS.
“I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but talking about the magical, mystical, magnificent KISS – my God, that was difficult to say – you may not be aware that there was a time when talking about holding bands together, that there was a time apparently when Eddie was so frustrated, and I think this would have been 1983, somewhere around there, that he called Gene Simmons.
“Because they knew each other from the ’70s, and he told Gene that he wanted to join KISS.”
He continued, “Apparently, Gene Simmons had the appropriate and accurate assessment at the time and looked at Eddie and said, ‘You can’t leave your band. It’s called Van Halen, it is your band.’
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“And that’s not just a matter of possession and control, that’s a matter of content and style,” he continued.
“Because – Van Halen without Eddie… I don’t know. Alex I think is an incredibly underrated drummer in the shadow of his younger brother, and I think he deserves far more credit than he gets.
“But the absolute magic of Van Halen to me on my first impression was – the songs are good and the vocalist had an attitude, but my god there was some fire coming off that fretboard on that first album that was just magical.”