Jimmy Barnes once revealed that he had been contacted by late Van Halen rocker Eddie Van Halen after he quit Cold Chisel in 1983, though he turned down the chance to work with him.
In his 2017 memoir Working Class Man, Barnes explained: “During that period I was asked to join Deep Purple, Van Halen and Little Feat, all within a few months; I was the flavour of the month.”
“I came back from the studio on the final day and Jane (his partner) was waiting to go to the shops to buy some things on our last day there and told me to look after Mahalia and EJ (his children).”
“As she left she says ‘By the way, Eddie Van Halen rang for you,'” Barnes continued, adding: “So I call him back and he asks me to come over to his house because he wanted to ask me something.
“I explained I couldn’t leave the house because I was babysitting, and half an hour later, there’s a knock at the door and these two guys come in very worried-looking and Eddie says they’re looking for a singer, David Lee Roth had left the band,” the frontman explained.
“I told him I didn’t really want to join another band, I was just starting my solo career and I’d like it see that through. But I was really flattered, I really like Van Halen. I got word when Sammy Hagar left the last time they were trying to get hold of me again.”
Eddie Van Halen’s death was announced today by his son, Wolfgang Van Halen, who revealed over social media that his father had lost his battle to cancer.
In light of the sad news, Barnes today paid tribute to Eddie on Twitter, writing: “Was lucky enough to meet Eddie in the mid-80s when he asked me if I was interested in joining Van Halen.
“I’d just started my solo career so the timing wasn’t right but still to this day, it’s an honour to have been asked to play with such a legendary rock band. RIP Eddie.”
Jimmy Barnes’ Killing Time: Short Stories from The Long Road Home is out now via Harper Collins Publishers Australia.