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Jimmy Barnes reveals why he rejected offer to join Van Halen

Late rocker Eddie Van Halen once tried to recruit Jimmy Barnes.The legendary guitarist and co-founder of Van Halen, who has lost his lengthy battle with throat cancer aged 65, approached Barnes after he quit Cold Chisel in 1983.Barnes launched a solo career after leaving the band and had his sights set on cracking the lucrative…

Late rocker Eddie Van Halen once tried to recruit Jimmy Barnes.

The legendary guitarist and co-founder of Van Halen, who has lost his lengthy battle with throat cancer aged 65, approached Barnes after he quit Cold Chisel in 1983.

Barnes launched a solo career after leaving the band and had his sights set on cracking the lucrative US market.

After the release of his second solo album, For the Working Class Man, Barnes captured the attention of some of the world’s biggest bands.

RELATED: Eddie Van Halen dead at 65 from throat cancer

“During that period I was asked to join Deep Purple, Van Halen and Little Feat, all within a few months; I was the flavour of the month,” he wrote in his 2017 book Working Class Man.

“I came back from the studio on the final day and Jane (his partner) was waiting to go to the shops to buy some things on our last day there and told me to look after Mahalia and EJ (his children).

“As she left she says ‘By the way, Eddie Van Halen rang for you’.

“So I call him back and he asks me to come over to his house because he wanted to ask me something.

“I explained I couldn’t leave the house because I was babysitting, and half an hour later, there’s a knock at the door and these two guys come in very worried-looking and Eddie says they’re looking for a singer, David Lee Roth had left the band,” Barnes explained.

“I told him I didn’t really want to join another band, I was just starting my solo career and I’d like it see that through. But I was really flattered, I really like Van Halen.

“I got word when Sammy Hagar left the last time they were trying to get hold of me again.”

Barnes today paid tribute to Eddie Van Halen on Twitter after learning of the musician’s death, writing: “Was lucky enough to meet Eddie in the mid 80s when he asked me if I was interested in joining Van Halen.

“I’d just started my solo career so the timing wasn’t right but still to this day, it’s an honour to have been asked to play with such a legendary rock band. RIP Eddie.”

Jimmy Barnes has a new book out called Killing Time which is published by HarperCollins Australia. Get it today via Booktopia

You can also join Jimmy and family for ‘Story Time with Jimmy Barnes’ wherever you get our podcasts — plus exclusive behind-the-scenes content at storytimewithjimmybarnes.com.au

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