Trevor Rabin says he could have produced a Van Halen album in the 80s but declined the offer due to commitments with his band Yes.
In a recent episode of the Paltrocast, the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer was asked by host Darren Paltrowitz if he has ever worked with a member of Van Halen.
“They asked me to produce them years ago when Sammy [Hagar] was in the band,” said the multi-instrumentalist and producer Rabin. “I think Mick Jones ended up producing that album, who was a good friend of mine.”
With Mick Jones producing just one Van Halen album – 1986’s 5150, it’s likely that this was the same album Rabin was asked to produce.
“I remember Eddie, myself and Steve Lukather, who’s a fast friend, we went to see Steve Stevens playing at the Roxy,” continued Rabin. “We ate there and drank a little bit…NOT! Quite a lot! I said, ‘I can’t [produce your next album]. I’m going out on the road, I just can’t do it. We were going out with [the Yes album] Big Generator. I think that was it.”
Although Rabin didn’t produce Van Halen’s next album, he did provide Eddie with some creative inspiration. Eddie liked a piece of music Rabin would eventually use for his 1989 song “Eyes Of Love” and apply it to the 1995 Van Halen instrumental “Baluchitherium” from the Balance album.
Listen to Trevor Rabin’s “Eyes Of Love” (1989)
Listen To Van Halen’s “Baluchitherium” (1995)
Rabin told Paltrowitz: “One day I’m’ watching, I think it was a football, or no it was a rugby game I think. And music came on, you know, as they transition to different parts [of the game], and it was the song from a solo album I did called Can’t Look Away. A song called “Eyes Of Love” and I thought, ‘Wow! I haven’t released [that song]. It doesn’t sound like Lou [Molino III, drummer on “Eyes Of Love”]. Its my riff but it doesn’t sound like Lou.’ And I was like, ‘It sounds like Alex Van Halen.’ And the guitars. It’s not me, but it was the riff. And it was Eddie. I [called] Eddie and I said, ‘Uh, hi Ed, it’s Trevor. I just heard ‘Bitchellarium’ or whatev….I can’t remember the name of the song, and I got this call back with a lot of swear words: ‘Hey man, I’m F’ng sorry. Yeah, it’s a little close. Let’s work something out. Eddie was just so sweet and a great guy.”