Tawny Kitaen was doing cartwheels for Van Halen long before Whitesnake. In fact, she still is.
“I’d like to see somebody tell me that Van Halen isn’t the greatest rock band in the world,” said Kitaen during her recent appearance on rock journalist Mitch Lafon’s podcast “Rock Talk with Mitch Lafon”.
Kitaen said she toured with Van Halen’s original lineup for three years while dating Pete Angelus – the band’s road manager and lighting director from 1978-1984. She didn’t specify which three years she toured with the band but did say it was during the height of the band’s popularity.
“It was during the days when we could not walk out the front door, we had to walk through the kitchen,” said Kitaen. “It was like being with The Beatles. It was crazy.”
According to Angelus’s comments in the 2012 book “I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution“ the two met at a Van Halen concert in San Diego around 1977 or ’78 when she was “17 or 18 years old”.
Kitaen told Lafon that no matter how many times she watched Van Halen perform live the band never ceased to amaze her.
“When I close my eyes all I can see is David Lee Roth in these striped colored spandex pants … jumpin’ off Alex’s riser, kickin’ his legs high up into the air into a ‘V’ and just goin, ‘BAAAHHH!’ They were just insane and they never got boring,” said Kitaen.
Lafon asked Kitaen what she thought about Sammy Hagar replacing Roth in 1985.
“Sammy, I love you, but stick to your own band,” she said. “It just really showed, and it showed the other guys in the band too, that David is a huuuge part of that success. Sammy could not bring it. You’re tryin’ to fill David Lee Roth’s shoes?! That’s like tryin’ to fill Tommy Lee or Alex Van Halen or [John] Bonham. There’s just certain people that you can’t ever pretend to be.”
Kitaen talke some more about Van Halen while sharing her thoughts on the late Robbin Crosby of RATT, Whitesnake and more.
Below is the full interview, embedded with both Spotify and YouTube. Kitaen’s Van Halen comments can be heard at the 17:30 and 22:52 marks of the podcast.