Mark Stone, the original bass guitarist in Van Halen, has passed away after a long battle with cancer.
The news of his passing, at an unknown age, was confirmed by his brother Brad Stone on Instagram
“My beloved brother Mark passed this morning. #markstone #vanhalen #fanhalen”, he wrote.
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Mark Stone was the bassist in the band from 1972 to 1974. The band was called Mammoth at the time, and only changed its name in 1974 after David Lee Roth joined.
The lineup during Stone’s era was himself, Eddie Van Halen and Alex Van Halen, but he was replaced in 1974 by Michael Anthony.
According to the book titled Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal, Stone was asked to leave the band because he was unwilling to sing background vocals.
“I just don’t want to sing by myself anymore,” Eddie Van Halen reportedly told a friend at the time.
His talent on bass was never part of it, says the book, which quotes one of the Van Halens’ childhood friends as saying “Mark Stone was a really good bass player.
“He had really good meter and his sound was wonderful.”
Mark Stone can be heard on demo tracks including ‘Gentlemen Of Leisure’, ‘Angel Eyes’, Believe Me’ and ‘Glitter’.
He featured in the 2003 doco The Van Halen Story: The Early Years, during which he was quoted as saying he was unable to divide his energy between the band and his school work.
“I was split between those two things,” he said. “I just couldn’t keep up with them.”
Stone’s death was confirmed Grammy-winning historian Greg Renoff, and retweeted by Eddie Trunk.
— Eddie Trunk (@EddieTrunk) September 27, 2020