Audio: Mitch Malloy’s Audition for Van Halen (1996)

Hear Mitch Malloy Perform “Panama” With Van Halen!

Van Halen fans all know the the two major eras of the band — the original era featuring lead singer David Lee Roth, the “Van Hagar” era with Sammy Hagar. And there was also the album and tour with Gary Cherone. But most fans are unaware that during the Summer of 1996, the band auditioned singer Mitch Malloy. Surprisingly, one track from Mitch’s audition has leaked online! Here’s the story on the little-known audition and this historic, newly unearthed recording:

In 1996, Mitch Malloy auditioned for Van Halen by recording a few tracks at 5150 studios with Eddie, Alex and Michael Anthony. His joining VH as replacement for Sammy Hagar was overridden by then manager Ray Danniels, who wanted Gary Cherone (whom he managed). Van Halen then went with Cherone.

But what would could have been? Have a listen to this live studio demo above.

These days, Mitch Malloy is still hard at work and will release his new album “Shine On” at the end of this month at Firefest UK and then via and plus iTunes worldwide.

Mitch Malloy told the story of his day at 5150 to

“A guy who worked for their management at the time used to be my road manager and he kept calling me and telling me they were going to fire Sammy and that I was going to be the next singer in Van Halen and he was calling and calling and finally I got annoyed by this and told him to stop and that I didn’t think I was a good fit in VH and that if he was serious he should have Ed call me.

“A week later Desmond Child calls me and says he has just left Ed’s house and was writing with them and that they were talking about me and that they were watching my “Anything At All” video, and that he told them that I was perfect for them, and that they would be lucky to get me, and before I knew it, I was on a plane to LA. Ed did call, a bunch of times. He was great.”

Mitch recorded with the band – “Panama”, “Ain’t Talking ‘out Love”, “Why Can’t This Be Love”, “Don’t Tell Me (What Love Can Do)”, “Jump.” [“Panama” is the only track that has leaked online. Chances are we’ll never hear the others].

“It was very surreal. It was pretty cool. Valerie was very nice to me and Wolfy and I had a great connection. He just took to me right away. Ed was very taken with that as I recall, he told me I must be the guy cause his son loved me.

“It was cool. It was very nice. Ed is really a great guy, and so is Al and Mike. Ed was treating me like I was his best friend, his little brother. He still does most of the time. I miss him at the moment. I have not talked to him in a while. I hope he is okay.

“He was very encouraging on this new record. I sent him You Lift Me, It’s About Love, and Draw The Line and he called me while he was still listening to it and was very very excited and saying things that I couldn’t believe. I can’t really repeat them here without sounding like a total egotistic ass, so I will just say, he was very flattering.

“I hung up and yelled at the top of my voice. That felt way better than when he told me I was in the band. I felt like he accepted me as a peer when he like my music.”

Mitch’s complete interview about his Van Halen audition can be read at