Billy Sheehan Info
Rising to cult status in the 80's with his Buffalo, NY based band Talas, Billy overpaid his dues. Starting in 1971 by playing 3 & 4 sets a night, up to 21 nights in a row, and on one occasion, three separate shows on the same day. He was recruited by David Lee Roth (when Roth left Van Halen in '85), for the legendary "Eat 'Em And Smile" album & tour. He recorded two platinum selling albums with the former Van Halen front man before setting out on his own. Forming Mr. Big in 1989, the band achieved a Billboard #1 single in the USA and 14 other countries with "To Be With You" from their 2nd Atlantic Records album release "Lean Into It", as well as 2 other Top 40 hits, and worldwide platinum status. While developing his trademark style of playing he has performed over 4000 live gigs on every continent except Africa and Antarctica.
Voted the "Best Rock Bass Player" 5 times in Guitar Player magazines Readers Poll, an honor which placed him in their "Gallery of Greats" (alongside Jimi Hendrix, Paul McCartney, Geddy Lee and Eddie Van Halen to name but a few), he has also won readers polls in Germany, Japan, Korea, Italy, and many other countries. On January 27, 1999 Billy's hand-prints and signature were preserved in cement on the Hollywood Rockwalk at Guitar Center. An honor attributed to those artists who have made a significant contribution to Rock and Roll. In Japan, Billy has won the prestigious "Player Magazine" (Japan's #1 Music mag) Readers Poll for Best Bass Player an unprecedented 16 consecutive times and Burrn! Magazines (Japan's #1 heavy metal mag) Readers Poll 8 times while selling out Budokan arena 3 consecutive nights with his band Mr. Big.
Billy's first solo album entitled "Compression" featured Sheehan playing Baritone 12 string and 6 string guitar, singing, playing bass, writing all the material and programming drums on the entire record, except for 2 tracks featuring Terry Bozzio on drums and an amazing Steve Vai solo on the song "Chameleon" (the first pairing of Steve and Billy since the David Lee Roth days). This led to Billy joining Steve Vai for several “G-3” tours and Steve’s headline tour of Europe. The European tour included 2 sold out shows at the Astoria in London, which were filmed and released in Dec 2003 on DVD entitled “Live at the Astoria” which which received Gold certification in the States and Canada.
Billy Sheehan’s second solo album entitled “Cosmic Troubadour” was released worldwide in 2005. Billy played all the Bass, and guitar parts along with all the vocals. The album includes many instrumental tracks that shows a continued growth as an all round musician and enforces his stature as Rocks Best Bass Player. Also in 2005 Billy performed on Steve Vai’s album entitled “Real Illusions: Reflections" and a worldwide tour with Steve Vai. In between Billy found time to perform on the 6th Niacin album entitled “Organik” featuring Dennis Chambers on drums (Funkadelic, Steely Dan, Santana, and Mahavishnu Orchestra). Niacin is an all-instrumental Bass, Drums, and Hammond B3 band at the cutting edge of the new progressive musical movement. Other highlights include teaming up with Richie Kotzen to open up for the Rolling Stones in Japan and a BX3 tour in the United States featuring Billy, Stu Hamm and Jeff Berlin.
2008/2009 saw the international release of the eagerly anticipated third solo album from Billy Sheehan entitled “Holy Cow!” The albums tracks showcase Billy’s immense talents as both a singer/songwriter and instrumentalist. This album featured guest appearances by Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Paul Gilbert (Mr Big), Dug Pinnick (King’s X) and the drumming of Ray Luzier (Korn). 2009 also saw a World Tour by Billy with Mr Big. Sold out shows in Japan, SE Asia, Europe, India along with the release of a live DVD and album in Japan and being voted “Best Bass Player in Japan’s premier Rock Magazine Burrn for the seventh time.
2010 saw the recording of a new Mr Big album “What If” and the 8th Niacin album along with writing songs for the next Solo album. In between all of this recording, look for Billy to be part of Bass Day UK, Bass Player Live, a special Session with Guitar Center LA, In December, the Mr Big album was released in Japan and certified Gold in ONE WEEK!
2011 Started with receiving a Lifetime Achievement award from Yamaha Corporation acknowledging Billy’s contribution to his Art and 25 years of working together with Yamaha developing his signature Attitude Bass. This will be followed by an appearance on the MTV/VHI Rock Camp show from the Bahamas, an appearance on VH1’s “That Metal Show” and touring the World in support of the new Mr Big album entitled “What If.”
Recently, he had this to say about the MXR Bass Compressor: “Finally, a five-knob compressor in a pedal. I’m a compression aficionado, and this box kills! All parameters are tweakable.”
Billy Sheehan Videos
Billy Sheehan Sounds