MICHAEL ANTHONY On Why VAN HALEN Tribute Concert Failed To Materialize: 'One Of The Ingredients Was Not Playing Ball With Everybody Else'

May 6, 2024

During an appearance on the latest episode of The Hook Rocks podcast, Michael Anthony once again weighed in on the proposed all-star VAN HALEN tribute concert, saying that it fell through because "one of the ingredients was not playing ball with everybody else."

No progress has been reported on a possible VAN HALEN tribute show since April 2022 when former METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted revealed to The Palm Beach Post that he was approached by VAN HALEN drummer Alex Van Halen about six months earlier about playing bass for the project. Newsted told the Florida newspaper that he agreed to go to California to jam with Alex and legendary guitarist Joe Satriani and see if it felt right, but he eventually realized that it would be impossible to do justice to VAN HALEN's legacy.

Regarding why the VAN HALEN tribute concert failed to materialize, Michael told The Hook Rocks (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "You're talking about Joe being approached by Alex and Dave [VAN HALEN singer David Lee Roth]. And then there've been people that — all of a sudden, in the press, I read that Jason Newsted, who played with METALLICA, was [approached about it as well]. Now I, myself, I got a call from Alex and Dave a few years, a right around that same time. And they wanted to put something together, and Joe was in the mix. I remember talking to Joe a couple of times after that, too. And Joe was telling me, 'Yeah, well, they gave me some of that album and told me to listen to it or whatever.'"

He continued: "All I can say is — I'm not gonna point fingers — but through all of this, one of the ingredients was not, let's say, playing ball with everybody else. And that's all I'm gonna say. I'll let you all figure it out. And that's why none of it worked. And you've read it probably with Wolfgang's [Van Halen, former VAN HALEN bassist and son of late VAN HALEN guitarist Eddie Van Halen] interviews, too, that he's been doing this past year.

"It's pretty sad, because even when the band was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame — this was in 2007 — Sammy [Hagar, former VAN HALEN singer] and I were the only two from the band that showed up, and we weren't even in the band at the time. And it was pretty sad, because I turned to Sammy during the show — I forget who was on stage playing — and we were sitting at our table and I go, I go, 'Sammy, could you imagine if all of us, if we were all here and everybody got along and we got up there, we would kick the ass out of this thing. It'd be a induction ceremony that nobody would ever forget.' And sadly enough, it wasn't to be."

On the topic of "The Best Of All Worlds", his upcoming summer 2024 tour with Hagar, Satriani and drummer Jason Bonham that will focus largely on the music of VAN HALEN, Anthony said: "I love going out and playing VAN HALEN music. People who know me, they know I'm the first guy, when we're on tour, whatever, on a night off, I'll go out and I'll have a couple of drinks and I'll go, 'Let's go jam.' And I'm up there playing VAN HALEN music with bands, I'll walk into a club or whatever.

"At this point, the music is bigger than any of the guys in it," he explained. "And let's just get over all this crap and play what the people wanna hear. They wanna hear the music. And Sammy and I said, 'Hey, let's take it to the fans. Let's just go out there and do it,' because, let's face it, we're not getting any younger. And what? You gotta wait for somebody else to, unfortunately, pass away or whatever, and then all of a sudden we'll be, like, 'Oh, God, we should have done this. We should have done that.' We're already going through that right now with Eddie being gone."

"It'd be great to get Alex out there [with us]," Michael added. "He's obviously welcome anytime he wants to join us, but with Eddie passing… I've spoken with Alex a handful of times, and we speak more about family than anything else when we talk. But I can put a band together and go out and play VAN HALEN music, but wouldn't it be nice to have the other guys that are still around with you from the band to go out and play it too? And, unfortunately, Sammy and I are the only two guys right now. So, we said, 'Hell, let's go out and do it.'

"I don't wanna be the guy that goes out there and, myself, the only one from the band, playing VAN HALEN music," Anthony concluded. "Half the people would be going, 'Oh my God, yeah,' and the other half would be going, 'Oh, he's doing it for a cash grab because he's trying to soak any money out of the VAN HALEN stuff,' which I'm totally not all about it. When this thing is not being able to be done properly and all of us having fun, then I'm finished."

In recent months, Wolfgang has repeatedly said that "drama" in the VAN HALEN camp has prevented a proposed all-star VAN HALEN tribute project from materializing.

Wolfgang played three VAN HALEN songs over the course of two Taylor Hawkins tribute concerts in September 2022 alongside FOO FIGHTERS members Dave Grohl on bass, Josh Freese on drums and THE DARKNESS's Justin Hawkins on vocals.

Wolfgang, who played "On Fire", "Hot For Teacher" and "Panama" at the Hawkins tribute concerts, told Classic Rock magazine that he was no longer actively interested in pursuing the idea of a standalone Eddie Van Halen tribute event. "I think I already did it with the Taylor Hawkins tributes," he explained. "I feel a lot of closure because my part of the show was a tribute to my father."

"When it comes to VAN HALEN and entities surrounding the band it's unfortunate, certainly compared to FOO FIGHTERS who have their shit together with interpersonal relationships," Wolfgang added.

"I don't know what it is with some bands but certain personalities just can't get over themselves to work collectively for one purpose. That's been the curse of VAN HALEN for its entire career. So my playing at the Taylor shows delivered that catharsis without the stresses of dealing with the VAN HALEN camp, and the players involved. Their camp is very dysfunctional — everyone! Hell, it was difficult to make plans even when the band was active."

Eddie died in October 2020 at the age of 65. The legendary VAN HALEN guitarist passed away at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California.

Hagar and Anthony previously worked with Satriani in the supergroup CHICKENFOOT. They recorded two albums between 2009 and 2011 and toured across America but never performed any VAN HALEN material. More recently, Hagar and Anthony have played some of the VAN HALEN catalog with guitarist Vic Johnson and Bonham in SAMMY HAGAR AND THE CIRCLE.

Hagar mended his relationship with Eddie Van Halen months prior to the legendary VAN HALEN guitarist's passing.

Sammy, Eddie, Alex Van Halen and Michael last teamed up in 2004 for a U.S. summer tour. In exchange for taking part in the tour, Anthony reportedly had to agree to take a pay cut and sign away his rights to the band name and logo.

Produced by Live Nation, the 28-date "The Best Of All Worlds" tour will commence on July 13 in West Palm Beach, Florida and will conclude on August 31 in St. Louis, Missouri.

Find more on Van halen
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).