Posted by Dana Category: LATEST NEWS

eddievanhalen2400 The Van Halen News Desk reports:

KISS’s Gene Simmons claims that he once had to talk Eddie Van Halen out of leaving Van Halen and joining KISS. Simmons has repeated this story a few times over the last 20 years, but we’ve never heard what Eddie Van Halen has to say about this story…until now!

The Van Halen News Desk has found a rare interview in which Van Halen was asked about this rumor. This interview, embedded below, was conducted by Alan K. Stout of The Times Leader. Alan states, ”It’s not everyday that a guy who, as a kid, wore a Van Halen t-shirt to school all the time and wore a “VH” necklace gets to chat at length with the guitar legend. But that’s what happened to me at The Times Leader back in the spring of 1995.”

It’s a typical Balance era interview until the interviewer pops the off-the-record question. Here’s the transcription of the KISS – related segment:

Alan K. Stout: I have this book [KISS’ coffee table book] KISSTORY, and there is a passage in there about you.

Eddie: Wow!

Alan K. Stout: It said back around ’82, you had dinner or lunch with Gene and Paul in L.A., and Ace [Frehley] had just quit, and you weren’t happy, and they talked about bringing you into the band. Is that true?

Eddie: Not that I know of.

Alan K. Stout: [Laughs] I didn’t think it was!

Eddie: Unless I was so fucked up I don’t remember…? They might have asked me…?

Alan K. Stout: I thought that’s a fascinating Eddie Van Halen story that I don’t think anybody knows.

Eddie: Not even me! Wow. No, I don’t have a clue. They might have just asked me in passing, and I just kind of laughed it off, probably.

Alan K. Stout: [Laughs] Yeah! I didn’t think it was something that was being seriously talked about.

Eddie: If it happened I’m sure I would have remembered.

Alan K. Stout: [Laughs] Funny story.

Eddie: That’s hilarious. Maybe they did ask me and I just thought they were joking…?

What do you think is the real story? Simmons insists this happened. Paul Stanley was just asked about this rumor, and said he never heard anything about it before. Eddie has never publicly said anything about ever wanting to join KISS. Who do you think is telling the truth? And who’s telling a different kind of truth?

Listen to the entire interview below. The KISS discussion takes place at the 15:45 mark.

source: vhnd.com


  1. Other people Gene claims wanted to join Kiss but he denied for their own sake: Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Keith Moon, Pope John Paul II, John F Kennedy Jr., Moses, each of the Beatles, and Betty White.

    1. Actually, when this was supposed to have happened (around ’82), VH didn’t have two 10+million sellers yet. 1984 wouldn’t even be released for another two years, and the first album was only about four-years-old and still some time away from clearing the 10 million mark. That said, I still think this incident has been exaggerated by Gene for notoriety reasons. It probably did happen, but was just an offhand comment by Eddie because he was angry at Dave at the time. He was also most likely intoxicated, which would explain his not remembering it.

      1. Still, one of the problems was the massive ego that went with the name Van Halen by the Van Halens. The very idea he would give that up is laughable. Eddie is hardly the humble/likeable guy that Sammie Hagar is.

  2. Gene’s account of this “alleged” meeting/conversation is in his bio in some detail. He basically said Eddie was tired of Roth’s crap (obviously I’m paraphrasing from memory, so don’t hold me to the exact-ness of it) and he came in with a demo of “Jump” and played it for Gene. So time-wise that puts this between “Diver Down” and “1984”. Gene’s reaction to hearing the “Jump” demo was something like “so you haven’t put the guitars on here yet, right?…” and Eddie told him it was going to primarily be a keyboard-driven song (which apparently Roth was very against). Eddie asked Gene about joining KISS, but Gene’s said something like “Eddie, your shadow looms too large to be in this band. The fans will never accept it. You are the namesake of your own band…” Again, who knows if this actually ever happened?
    In a kind of related rock rumor, I heard that KISS was considering hiring Angel guitarist Punky Meadows when Ace stopped showing up/couldn’t be found or whatever in the early ’80s. Story goes they passed on Punky ’cause Paul thought he was “too pretty” and Paul could be the ONLY pretty one in KISS!
    Again, this may be just a bullshit rock-rumor.
    So we look to you Eddie Trunk…please shed any light you have on these juicy nuggets of rock folk-lore!

  3. Roth alluded to this in his 1997 book. He long believed Gene was trying to poach Eddie from VH. There’s something to this story…who’s being truthful is a mystery worthy of CNN’s missing plane coverage.

  4. Warner Bros. had them rock solid inked. Diver Down was put out quick. In ’95 Eddie was living on orange juice and bacardi, I’d pass on anything he said.

  5. Eddie,

    The guy who did this interview covers music in Pennsylvania, near where I live. He is a huge KISS fan and I follow his music page on Facebook. When this story first came out last week, I posted it on his page and asked him about it, and he was cool enough to reply. I’ve cut and pasted when he wrote back to me:


    “I do clearly remember asking Eddie about that. The “KISSTORY” book had just come out right around the time I did the interview. I was/am a big KISS fan and am also a Van Halen fan. And while I found the whole “Eddie joining KISS” story to be interesting, it didn’t make any sense. In 1982, KISS was a band going through a strange time. They’d just come off the “Music From The Elder” concept album, which was a commercial failure. I’ve always really liked that record, but it was a new decade, the musical climate was changing, and KISS had briefly lost its way. Hard-rock was certainly alive and well in 1982 with AC/DC and Van Halen, and Rush was also huge, but KISS, with “The Elder,” took on a new challenge and it didn’t work. And that’s OK. Any band that’s been around for 40 years will hit a few bumps in the road, and that’s where KISS was at that time. This was also the exact same time that Ace Frehley was leaving the band, which put KISS in an even tougher place. Were they looking for a new guitarist around that time? Yes. But why would Eddie Van Halen, who had just come off the magnificent “Fair Warning” album, want to join KISS? This was only four years after Van Halen first arrived on the national music scene, but he was already nearing iconic status because of his innovative playing. Plus, he was in a band that had his name on it and a band that was still very much on the rise. I’m sure Roth was driving Eddie nuts, but not enough, at least at that point, to part ways.

    Another reason this made no sense was because this would have happened a year before KISS “unmasked” for the “Lick It Up” album. The band still had that element of mystery to them, and now they were going to put a very recognizable superstar in the band? Sure, Gene had helped VH out in the beginning and had produced their early demos, and there was a friendship there, but Eddie joining KISS in 1982, or ever? Just can’t see it.

    Again, I had literally just read “KISSTORY” when I did this interview, so I asked Eddie about it at the end of our conversation. I didn’t tell him it was “off the record,” as this post states. I told him that it wasn’t for the story, because I was writing a story about the “Balance” tour coming to Philly, and it just didn’t fit. And thus it was never included in the article that ran in the newspaper. I suppose if the internet was as big a deal back then as it is now, I could have had a little fun with it and blogged something like, “Eddie Van Halen denies ever wanting to join KISS” and I could have had myself a nice little exclusive and people would have been yipping about it, but if you listen to the interview, you can hear that the question was really just an afterthought. “KISSTORY” was a $150 coffee table book marketed just to the KISS diehards, not a New York Times best-seller, and the Van Halen story was about three sentences in the book, so I really didn’t see it as a big story.

    The reason you hear me chuckling a little was because of Eddie’s reaction to the question – which was one of bewilderment – and because it also seemed like a pretty wild story to me. I certainly didn’t think Eddie was too good for KISS, or vice-versa. If the rumor/story had been just the opposite, and in 1978 Paul Stanley once considered quitting KISS to join the up-and-coming Van Halen, I also probably would have been chuckling if I had the chance to ask Paul about it, especially if he had the same reaction as Eddie. I am still a big fan of both bands and, for the record, I’d be the first in line to buy any record that had Paul Stanley, Eddie Van Halen, Gene Simmons and Eric Carr playing on it.

    Gotta love the internet. An interview I did almost 20 years ago still has life and can become a topic of discussion.

    Rock on …


    Thought you and others here might find it interesting. I enjoy his articles on KISS.

  6. Interesting, Gene is always talking about how he hates drinkers and druggies, but if it’s true that it was Gene asking Eddie as Roth claims, he would have been replacing one drunk with another.

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