From his days with Talas and David Lee Roth to his time spent with Mr. Big and Steve Vai, bassist Billy Sheehan has performed and recorded with some gigantic names in rock. But no other outlet allows Sheehan to flex his bass muscle quite like NIACIN. After a seven-year hiatus, the band — which features Sheehan on bass plus keyboardist John Novello (Chick Corea, Ritchie Cole) and drummer Dennis Chambers (Santana, Parliament) — is back with a new album, KRUSH, a tour de force of sonic blues goodness.
"There are so many different fuckers up here jamming, it could be a clusterfuck," says a very sweaty Philip Anselmo, pointing at the audience in an accusatory fashion after he and a pantheon of metal giants finish playing a hyper-charged rendition of Pantera's "Mouth for War" at the Metal Masters concert in New York this past Friday night, September 7.
Billy Sheehan has probably received more worldwide press than any contemporary rock artist not on a major label. In much of this coverage, Sheehan is referred to as "the Eddie Van Halen of bass," a title based on Sheehan's virtuosic command of the instrument, together with his ability to play fiery two-handed fretting moves -- a technique Van Halen brought to national attention with his band's debut album in 1978.
Coming off a successful overseas trek, the original lineup of Mr. Big -- vocalist Eric Martin, guitarist Paul Gilbert, bassist Billy Sheehan and drummer Pat Torpey -- will be touring the United States in support of their latest album, What If...