“Aces High” from Numbers of the Beast
For something a little bit different, here’s an interesting cover from an All-Star band:
Jeff Scott Soto - Vocals (Yngwie J. Malsteen band, Journey)
Nuno Bettencourt - Guitar (Extreme)
Billy Sheehan - Bass (Talas, David Lee Roth, Mr. Big)
Vinnie Appice - Drums (Dio, Black Sabbath)
Build up your confidence
So you can be on top for once
Wake up, who cares about
Little boys that talk too much
Mr. Big - To Be With You
With Buffalo’s own Billy Sheehan!
Mr. Big - Addicted To That Rush
Can you handle the mullets?
If not, at least watch the intro and skip to 2:10 for the solos. Well, duos.
Ladies and gentlemen, Buffalo’s own Billy Sheehan on bass guitar.
“Shy Boy” by David Lee Roth
(Words/Music: Billy Sheehan, Album: Eat ‘em and Smile, Warner Bros. 1986)
This tour de force of bass and guitar fury which featured Steve Vai and Billy Sheehan was originally written by Sheehan for his original Buffalo band, Talas. According to stories, Roth became quite enamored with Sheehan’s virtuoso bass playing and showmanship while Talas opened for Van Halen. Roth went so far as to petition the Van Halen brothers to get Sheehan in the band. When they said no, it was one of the reasons Roth eventually left the band.
Ironically, Sheehan was the first person pushed out of the David Lee Roth band (he lasted for Eat ‘em and Smile but pretty much absent on the follow-up, Skyscraper).
Also ironically, when Roth rejoined Van Halen, they had a different bass player, Edward’s son, Wolfgang.
Talas LIVE 1984 “High Speed On Ice” (by talasdrum2)
This is for shelterfromthenorm who just asked if I remembered Billy Sheehan’s original band. I have never heard of these guys, but this isn’t too bad.
They also did the ORIGINAL version of David Lee Roth’s “Shy Boy.” It’s one of the main reasons DLR wanted Sheehan. The pride of Buffalo. Well, along with Goo Goo Dolls, Cannibal Corpse, and Ani DiFranco.
“Sink Your Teeth Into That” by Talas (live, 2001)
Featuring original members Dave Constantino on vocals and guitar, Billy Sheehan on bass, and Paul Varga on drums.
“Shyboy” by David Lee Roth
(Words/Music: Billy Sheehan, Album: Eat ‘em and Smile, Warner Bros. 1986)
Originally, I was going to post this yesterday for Saturday Shred and as the final post in my week of songs and artists of Buffalo. Unfortunately, due to computer issues beyond my control, I had to miss it. Luckily, I can use this song for an 80s post as well. Let’s see how this goes…
When the biggest band in the world, Van Halen, announced that they were breaking up in the mid-80s, metalheads and guitar enthusiasts everywhere were pretty bummed. Everyone thought that the band members would each go their own way and we would never hear from them again. Fortunately, the following year found not one but two stellar guitar albums: one by the reformed Van Halen being led by Sammy Hagar, 5150, and one by David Lee Roth’s high-energy, high-excitement supergroup, Eat ‘em and Smile. While the former continued in a slightly harder vein than non-DLR offerings, the latter caused everyone to take notice. Flamboyant and outspoken David Lee Roth managed to bring together a veritable all-star band featuring former Frank Zappa protege Steve Vai on guitar and former Talas bassist Billy Sheehan. Announcing their arrival with the playful and guitar-filled “Yankee Rose” (the song which also leads off the album) and featuring a total of eight guitar romps, the band impressed everyone, but the song everyone was talking about was the second song on the disc, “Shyboy.”
Originally a Talas song, and well-known to their fans in Buffalo, Billy Sheehan’s original composition was his “in-song” showcase (as opposed to his live solo) on which he could demonstrate his ground-breaking bass skills. When DLR and Steve Vai got hold of it, they added more flashy guitar work and decided that what was a bass solo should now be a guitar and bass solo with the instruments playing in tandem. The lines were difficult enough for one musician to play, never mind two playing simultaneously. Upon hearing this song for the first time, my jaw hit the floor and didn’t come back up for weeks. Not only didn’t I know that a bass could do that, and not only was the greatest bassist in the world from my hometown, but now he was in a guitar circus finally getting the credit and recognition he was due, and for one of his own songs, too. Unfortunately, Sheehan and Roth didn’t last long. Sheehan ended playing very subdued lines on the follow-up album Skyscraper and eventually left to form Mr. Big with another flashy guitarist, Paul Gilbert. Sadly, while the duo did put out some interesting work, it just didn’t match up to the combo of Billy Sheehan and Steve Vai. And nothing since has matched the fierce guitar and bass duo of Vai and Sheehan.
(See what I did there? I talked about musicians and the 80s in the same post. Voila!)
More David Lee Roth: AmazonMP3 - last.fm - AllMusic - eMusic
More Billy Sheehan: AmazonMP3 - last.fm - AllMusic - eMusic
More Saturday Shred posts from shelterfromthenorm
More Blister in the Sunday posts from shelterfromthenorm
“NV4 3345” by Billy Sheehan
(Music: Billy Sheehan, Album: The Talas Years, Relativity Records 1990)
A few weeks ago, I posted a piece about Weather Report and how I began listening to them because Billy Sheehan thought their bassist Jaco Pastorius was the best bassist alive. Well, now it’s time for me to write about Billy Sheehan. Having lived in Buffalo for a good part of my life, the myth of Billy Sheehan was pervasive in every bar. It was like the tales of George Washington, but instead the “signs” said “Billy Sheehan played here.” The city was immensely proud that one of its favorite sons was not only making it big on tour with his band Talas and opening for Van Halen, but that he would eventually be hand-picked for David Lee Roth’s mind-blowing supergroup along with guitarist Steve Vai and drummer Gregg Bissonnette. Finally, they were stunned that he was squeezed out by Roth but glad he landed with another supergroup, Mr. Big, with whom he scored a massive, albeit uncharacteristic hit, “To Be With You.” There was no denying that Billy Sheehan was now the world’s preeminent bass player.
Digging back into the archives of old Talas albums, one can find some intense live performances and some great songs marred by amateurish recording. Standouts include the original “Shy Boy” (the cover later a highlight of the DLR band), “High Speed on Ice,” “Sink Your Teeth Into That” and their biggest hit, “See Saw.” All of these songs feature the impressive and innovative playing of Sheehan, who developed a two-hand tapping technique for the bass similar to the one made famous by Eddie Van Halen. The most impressive showcase of Sheehan’s talent and versatility was his solo performance on “NV43345” (which is SHEEHAN upside down, the same way that 07734 is HELLO upside down on a calculator). The song features the two-hand tapping, but also the three-finger picking and natural harmonics, all of which Sheehan utilized before and better than any other bass player at the time. In rock, he single-handedly moved the bass from the rhythm section and made it a lead instrument. Another impressive part of Sheehan’s repertoire is how clean and crisp the tone of the bass is. Sheehan obsessed over his sound for years, building, rebuilding, and tweaking his basses (especially the one her refers to as “The Wife”), amps, and effects. This kind of dedication to the vision of a specific sound is what makes Billy Sheehan one of the greatest musicians of the last half of the twentieth century.
More Billy Sheehan: AmazonMP3 – last.fm