Eddie Van Halen on Michael Anthony: ‘I Had to Show Him How to Play … I Have More Soul as a Singer’
Eddie Van Halen says he's still enduring the ups and downs of his working relationship with David Lee Roth because it's what the fans want. The fans who want bassist Michael Anthony back in the lineup, however, are out of luck.
Anthony's dismissal remains a point of contention for longtime listeners who still want to see the original Van Halen quartet play together again and who continue to miss his distinctive harmony vocals in the group's sound. But in a new interview with Billboard, Eddie asserts that Anthony is neither the musician nor the singer that people seem to think.
In fact, he claims Anthony wouldn't have been able to hack any of Van Halen's songs without a lot of painstaking instruction. "Every note Mike ever played, I had to show him how to play," he insisted. "Before we’d go on tour, he’d come over with a video camera and I’d have to show him how to play all the parts."
And as far as those who wish Anthony was still adding those high harmony vocals of his to the Van Halen sound? Eddie argues you aren't missing as much as you think. "Mike’s voice is like a piccolo trumpet. But he’s not a singer. He just has a range from hell," said Van Halen. "Mike was just born with a very high voice. I have more soul as a singer than he does. And you know, people always talk about Mike’s voice on Van Halen songs, but that’s a blend of Mike’s voice and my voice. It’s not just him."
Reached for comment by Billboard, Anthony — who's currently touring with former VH vocalist Sammy Hagar's current band the Circle and playing a set list that includes some of their old band's biggest hits — declined to dignify Van Halen's accusations with a point-by-point response.
"I am proud to say that my bass playing and vocals helped create our sound," said Anthony. "I’ve always chosen to take the high road and stay out of the never-ending mudslinging, because I believe that it ultimately ends up hurting the Van Halen fans."
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