Eric Broadbent from EVH Gear TV has interviewed all five members of the new super group SONS OF APOLLO, who all claim to be the “World’s biggest Van Halen fan!” Check out this article and the five exclusive interviews. TONS of great VH talk!
By Eric Broadbent:
While we wait to see what will become of 2018 as far as Van Halen is concerned ie: new album, tour, or anything of the sort, I have found myself searching for something to pass the time.
About two months ago, I was introduced to Sons Of Apollo, a new progressive metal group (“super group” as labeled by the industry, not by the band), consisting of five heavyweights in the business. Mike Portnoy, Ron Bumblefoot Thal, Derek Sherinian, Billy Sheehan & Jeff Scott Soto. Each of the incredibly talented musicians have a resume longer than a young child’s Christmas list. By exploring each of the projects and bands they have all worked in, would result in music that could take you the next five years to fully consume. Not a bad thing at all, when it comes to discovering new music. The only thing better than good music in my opinion, is good new or undiscovered music (at least when it comes to you).
Furthermore, pulling back the curtains and looking a little deeper into what makes Sons Of Apollo (as a unit) tick, you will find a common thread amongst them all. Each member is the self-proclaimed biggest Van Halen fan.
I thought I would have a little bit of fun with this, and put each of the guys up to the test and get them to share their Van Halen knowledge, passion, stories and inspiration with us all, by interviewing them all individually on my talk show EVH Gear TV.
By sitting down with them one on one, we used the common theme “well this person is not here to defend their title so the floor is all yours”, each member having a lot of fun with this. This was repeated with each guest over the course of five in depth interviews.
Derek Sherinian (Audio Only)
First on deck was “king of keys” Derek Sherinian, who’s ivory wizardry of guitar on keyboard is a feat that once witnessed, will leave you speechless. We talked about his covers of Mean Street and Spanish Fly and how they not only did the compositions justice, they were blasted into the stratosphere. We expanded on that, hearing from Derek about performing at Eddie’s personal gathering at his house, jamming with Eddie and getting a personal our of 5150 by the King himself. The thrill ride for Derek continued with Eddie showing Derek VHS tapes of Eddie and Wolf rehearsing for the upcoming reunion tour (the 2007 tour) with David Lee Roth. During this interview, EVH Gear TV was given an exclusive fact that if Billy Sheehan was not available for Sons of Apollo, Wolf Van Halen was their next choice for bassist.
Batting second was guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal who opened the show with some beautiful “Take Your Whiskey Home” on the acoustic (before the cameras rolled, however you can still witness it in a show ID he did for us) and treated us with various other acoustic treats throughout the night. Fans, along with myself, hung on every word that came from Ron, being as gifted a speaker as he is an accomplished guitarist. Ron echoed his love for Van Halen and agreed that the Van Halen DNA in this band was off the charts. We discussed his upcoming Japan tour along with his incredible career. For those that are night quite sure what Bumblefoot is capable of on guitar, I suggest you look him up on YouTube and sit back and enjoy one of your soon to be new favourite guitarists. Thank me later.
Billy Sheehan followed next, and he came in punching, as far as his proof of being the biggest Van Halen fan. Billy is the only member of Sons of Apollo to have either performed with the members of Van Halen or been involved at functions etc with Van Halen. A classic note was where Billy mentioned doing “number games with young Wolfie at the time” while on an flight. We discussed Billy’s band Talas opening up for Van Halen in 1980, and witnessing the juggernaut of the migty VH night after night. He also proudly talked about his time with David Lee Roth and the members of that super group. In all, I gave some bonus points to Billy, solely for jamming with as many Van Halen members as he has.
Jeff Scott Soto:
Vocalist Jeff Scott Soto came in for the fourth interview, and Jeff really expressed not only his love for Van Halen, but what how he would approach the role if Eddie called him to sing. We also talked a bit of how Yngwie may have been taken a bit out of context when it comes to mocking Eddie on various occasion, playing Eruption etc. Even if you have no volume watching this interview, you can see the passion for Van Halen in Jeff’s eyes. We explored Jeff’s incredible career (in no particular order) from solo, to Yngwie, to Sons, to Trans Siberian Orchestra and more. He certainly brought the goods and a stellar Van Halen A game!
In my attempt for a fifth and final interview, I contacted Mike Portnoy and said, “Mike, all four of your guys have been interviewed on my show, and they all say they are the biggest Van Halen fans”. Mike’s response was “Well, I can’t be left out!” and after that email, he was on my show four days later.
Mike Portnoy had the final say (once again, being that the remaining members of Sons Of Apollo were not here to defend their title). We talked about a band name being harder at times to pick, then anything that goes on within the workings of a band. Mike showed up some nice photos of meeting Eddie, Wolf and Alex and you could see there was just a much fan boy in Mike as there would be in any of us.
Mike agreed to Billy’s claim, saying, “I think Billy Sheehan has played with more Van Halen members than any of us.” Mike also went on to show us (hands on) the opening of 2 special edition Sons Of Apollo “Psychotic Symphony” CD and Vinyl sets (which by the way was his first time seeing them opened) and was grinning like a kid on his/her birthday. We got a very rare look at the Portnoy man cave, and this is worthy of a video watch in itself. Some extremely rare Dream Theater and other memorabilia was on display, including Mike’s personal tour drumkit. This is where things went crazy, in the craziest of good ways. Life long friend and now fan of the show (and contributor) James Poulin asked Mike live, “can Mike play something for us”. Mike hopped on the challenge (literally) and gave us “Hot For Teacher” and “Light Up The Sky” (another incredible interview exclusive for EVH Gear TV fans).
I personally feel each of the five interviews were a great look into the world of Sons Of Apollo. Not one segment was any better than the previous, as each gave us such a beautiful look into the minds of a Van Halen fan, just like the rest of us.
I highly encourage everyone to check out Sons Of Apollo. I have had a great deal of feedback, mostly being thanks, for turning people on to this band. My response has been unanimous. You are very welcome, as I am grateful as well.
This was an incredible experience getting to interview the entire band, one by one for 90+ minutes each one I will never forget. The entire Sons team are class act individuals, and are “The world’s biggest Van Halen fans.”
In the end, though, we crowned Derek the biggest Van Halen fan, as he named his son “Halen”!
Enjoy the videos, and please share.
More about EVH Gear TV:
Eric Broadbent hosts the weekly EVH Gear TV Talk Show, where they talk about Eddie Van Halen — his gear, his inspiration on musicians worldwide – and anything and everything brown sound related, while featuring commentary and interviews from celebrity industry guests such as Pete Thorn, Steve Stevens, Mike Himmel, David Friedman, Gary Hoey & many more.
Bonus: Derek Sherinian shows off the “very Van Halen” ending tapping sequence of “Alive”:
Check out the official website of SONS OF APOLLO!