YOU REALLY GOT ME
Metal Sludge looks back with Mitch Malloy, who for a fleeting moment was Van Halen’s new lead singer
In 1996, Malloy, then 34 and an unknown, won the gig as Sammy Hagar’s replacement — but only for a matter of days before leaving in a huff following an MTV appearance with Van Halen and original singer David Lee Roth.
Roth never did re-join, and neither did Malloy.
Which is not to say Malloy disappeared completely. The blond-haired American continued to record ocassionally in addition to producing a lot of successful acts — kind of mastering both sides of the recording board.
He has a new CD called “Making Noise” that is winning over both fans and critics, and Malloy, under the new guidance of former Guns N’ Roses manager Doug Goldstein, is on tour in England.
In fact, that’s Mr. Malloy on the phone overseas right now. Here we go.
METAL SLUDGE: So you’re in the UK? They serve warm pints of beer, and in USA, it is cold? Can you explain why?
MALLOY: Because in the UK, it’s way way less carbonated and less chemicals and all around way better. It doesn’t need to be chilled. In the states, it tastes like ass unless it’s chilled cause it’s crap! And in Germany it’s a fucking loaf of bread.
Are the British girls more sexy ’cause of their accents?
MALLOY: Of course
Are you glad Doug Goldstein is managing you and not Guns N Roses anymore?
MALLOY: Yes. I think if Doug was managing them, they would be way better off, but I’m more than happy he has the time and enthusiasm to manage me. Doug got halfway through my new cd and called and offered me a contract. One of my proudest moments to be honest.
MALLOY: The U.K. is a fantastic market for me, and they are very supportive of me and my music. And since the “Making Noise” cd has gotten such amazing reviews, it only fuels that fire. Touring is the ultimate.
Let’s start from beginning. You come from a REALLY small town. How was the night life in Dickinson, North Dakota?
MALLOY: Well I left when I was 17, so for me it was about “where’s the party tonight?” We were all just kids trying to have a good time and stay warm. Ha ha
What percentage of the girls got pregnant before the end of high school?
MALLOY: I don’t have those statistics, but that was a major deal back then, I do remember that.
You made your way to Seattle when you were young. Were you friends with Cobain and that crowd, and if so did you shoot heroin together?
MALLOY: I was only there for one year right out of high school attending the Cornish institute of allied arts, which was very difficult to be accepted to. So I was extremely proud of that and very focused on school and the arts. So I never met him or anyone else in that scene. I was never a druggie.
You were almost in Van Halen. That’s a big part of the Malloy legacy, for better or worse.
MALLOY: Very significant to me yes, extremely proud to have been asked. Maybe the only cooler band to be asked to be part of would be Zeppelin. So for better of course, what could be bad about being asked to be in Van Halen?
And you left VOLUNTARILY after the band made overtures again to Roth, right?
MALLOY: They didn’t make overtures to Roth, and I knew there was no way Roth was coming back. But … the public didn’t. And that’s why things didn’t work out. Youtubes “Mitch Malloy Van Halen’s lost boy” tells this story better than I could, though.
Well, Eddie told you that you were IN. Right?
Incidentally, how much money did you have in your savings at this point in your life?
MALLOY: My first cd did really well and my first publishing deal was very nice as well, so I was fine.
Well, you went through a period where you did like one studio record over like a 12-year span. Were you focused on something else for a bit?
MALLOY: I own Malloy Master tracks studios, and I’ve been very fortunate to work with Taylor Swift, Lady Antebelum, Chad Kroeger to name just a few. I record, mix and master, and I also write and co-write with many of my artists. So for many years there is no time for my own art.
MALLOY: No, I was not, and in fact for that reason alone, I’m glad it didn’t happen; otherwise, I wouldn’t have met my amazing, gorgeous wife and wouldn’t have the best person on the planet in my daughter, Eden Grace Malloy.
True, but as VH’s new singer, you might have got 300 blow jobs that year, too. It is a pretty good ice breaker: “What do you do? ‘Oh, I am the new singer in Van Halen!’.”
MALLOY: Is 300 a lot?
Not for Stevie Rachelle but for the rest of us! So what is the actual reason you left?
MALLOY: It was clear to me that after the entire world thought Dave was coming back that it wasn’t going to work out. Even though I knew he wasn’t, as Ed made that clear to me. Before and after the MTV thing.
Had you told a lot of people you had got the gig, or were you keeping it low key?
MALLOY: It was a total secret. I didn’t even tell my mother. However, Ed did tell Joe Walsh when he called one day to tell Ed he had a guy, as I was standing right next to Ed.
Had you rehearsed to the point where you had the whole set down including all the endings and transitions?
MALLOY: No but we did a bunch, though.
Did you like the Roth stuff or Hagar?
MALLOY: I liked them both actually.
Yeah, me too. Do you think GUNS N’ Roses is good still? That’s our biggest Rock story of year.
MALLOY: Actually, I would prefer it if Steven was the drummer, but having said that, I have to say that I don’t think they have ever sounded better. And if it’s possible, hopefully some of that magic will rub off on me, as I’m now managed by Doug Goldstein.
And finally, since your such an expert in the studio, what 3 pieces of advice would you give to a new act that wants to make a great CD?
MALLOY: First of all thanks for the compliment.
- Write great songs
- Pay attention to your timing as timing is everything
- Listen. Listen to everyone else as much as you are listening to yourself. These are the mistakes artists and musicians make the most and they are extremely important.
- Stay humble. There is always somebody better than you.
Wait, I said 3 not 4!
MALLOY: (laughs) I’m a rebel like that!
Gerry Gittelson can be reached at email@example.com