Michael Anthony, former bass player in Van Halen and a current member of Sammy Hagar & The Circle, has commented on the potential Van Halen tribute that former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted first mentioned back in April, according to Blabbermouth.
Pressed for details on the proposal, Anthony this week suggested final say in any possible official salute to Van Halen is in the hands of Van Halen drummer Alex Van Halen, the brother of Eddie Van Halen. Eddie, the guitar icon who led Van Halen, died in 2020.
“I know it still pains [Alex] a lot as far as Eddie[‘s death] goes, and will probably for the rest of his life,” Anthony reportedly told rock radio host Eddie Trunk of Sirius XM’s Trunk Nation on Thursday (June 2). “But I spoke with him and Dave [Van Halen singer David Lee Roth] last year about a possible something.”
The ex-Van Halen bassist continued, “We basically just had kind of a conference call about having a conference call to discuss it, and then that other call didn’t happen for whatever reason on their end. I told them that I’d obviously be interested. And it would be more like a celebration of the music rather than putting together something and calling it Van Halen because that just wouldn’t be right at this point.”
Anthony also indicated he wasn’t initially aware Newsted was involved. “That’s the first that I’d even heard about anything like that,” he explained. “It was kind of interesting because he said he spoke to [Dave and Alex] about a year ago, and that’s about the time I was speaking with them. So I don’t know. I’m gonna have to call Jason and ask him. [Laughs]“
On April 14, Newsted told The Palm Beach Post that Alex selected him and guitarist Joe Satriani to play on a Van Halen tribute tour, but that he sensed it might not do justice to Van Halen’s legacy.
“How could you?” Newsted said. “Nobody … can top it, so how do you show it honor? I didn’t want it to be viewed as a money grab. And then it kind of just all fizzled.”
Roth chimed in with his two cents days later, referencing the pop star Pink, Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee and the COVID pandemic in an all-caps statement sent to the Van Halen News Desk.
“IN MY MIND ‘VAN HALEN 4K,’ IN THE AGE OF COVID IS GOING TO REQUIRE TWO OF US FOR EVERY POSITION,” Roth wrote. “SATRIANI AND LUKATHER, ANTHONY AND NEWSTED, AL OR TOMMY LEE. PROBABLY THE ONLY ONE WHO COULD DO MY JOB TODAY WOULD BE PINK..”
Hagar and Roth each sang in Van Halen at separate times. In 2006, Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie’s now 31-year-old son, replaced Anthony in Van Halen and performed alongside his father until his death. Van Halen subsequently disbanded. Last year, Wolf released his debut album with Mammoth WVH.
To Trunk this week, Anthony concluded, “At this point, I’ve gotta tell you, I don’t know if [an official tribute] will ever happen. Because Alex is really hurting. Him and Edward were so close on all levels, musical levels and personally and whatever. It just seems to me like it might be really hard for Alex to even enter into something to bring back all those memories. … I could be wrong. I’m the guy that always says never say never.”
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