In Memoriam: Mark Stone

Mark Stone with Van Halen

Mark Stone, the original bassist for Van Halen, has passed away after a battle with cancer. The news was shared by his brother, Brad, on Instagram.

Stone was a key member of Van Halen’s growth. He joined the Van Halen brothers in 1972 in a trio called Genesis. The band gigged consistently and after they grew in popularity, they changed their name to Mammoth.

“[Mammoth] became the party band of southern California,” the Van Halen News Desk site states. “Before the Van Halen lineup that came to worldwide fame in 1978, there was Mammoth, consisting of Eddie [Van Halen] as both lead singer and guitarist, Alex [Van Halen] was the drummer, and Mark Stone on bass.”

David Lee Roth was hired as the lead singer a year later and the quartet changed the band name to Van Halen. Soon after, Stone left the band and Michael Anthony joined the fold. He explained his departure in the 2003 documentary The Van Halen Story: The Early Years.

“I was a straight A student, and doing the band and I was split between those two things, and basically I couldn’t keep up,” he said “We met one day, and they actually asked me to leave. For a long time it was really tough. It was really tough leaving that band because I knew they were destined for greatness. They say, ‘Don’t leave before the miracle happens,’ and I did.”

Stone remained on good terms with his former bandmates. He would also sit in with the Van Halen tribute band Fan Halen in 2015 and 2016.

Our thoughts are with the family of Mark Stone.

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