TED NUGENT Says MICHAEL ANTHONY Was An 'Unequaled Background And Harmony Vocalist' During His Time With VAN HALEN
September 28, 2023
Longtime and esteemed rock journalist Steve Rosen, who recently released a book about his unique friendship with Edward Van Halen, "Tonechaser - Understanding Edward: My 26-Year Journey With Edward Van Halen", was a guest on Ted Nugent's "Real America Voice" podcast on September 22. During the chat, which can be seen below, Ted stated about his love of VAN HALEN (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "When I first saw VAN HALEN, they opened up for me. I think the first gig was either Omaha or Des Moines, Iowa. But I heard that guitar, and I was aware of the 'You Really Got Me' guitar solo. But let me tell you, Eddie Van Halen stood out because he hit such heretofore uncharted frequencies and patterns. He obliterated the predictable scales. He went places that no one had ever gone in the noises, in the use of the flanger and the tone of this amplifier that he made in his basement and a guitar that he made in his basement.'
He continued: "But let me show you, as a music lover, as frontal and as apparent as Eddie's guitar impact was, I give equal power and virtuosity to David Lee Roth as a vocal adventurer and vocal stylist and a frontman, energized leader of the pack. But I also give equal props to Michael Anthony as a foundational inescapable groove, rhythm bass player, and I believe unequaled background and harmony vocalist.
"So I give Eddie Van Halen 10, David Lee Roth 10, Michael Anthony 10, Alex Van Halen 11," Ted added. "I mean, these guys —I know what it takes. And here's the term that is not properly applied to the musical world: work ethic. Those guys practiced like addicted animals. My band, we practiced every day, 'cause we wanted to deliver a tight, authoritative beast of song after song. And then David Lee Roth put the frosting on the cake and the cherry on top with his showmanship and his virility, dare I say, his effervescent masculinity.
"In hindsight, now that Eddie is gone and that band will never appear on stage again, I'm right, aren't I? There would not have been that VAN HALEN impact without those four monsters of dedication, gifted virtuosos that laid the groundwork for Eddie's uncharted histrionics."
Back in August 2022, Nugent reflected on his friendship with Eddie Van Halen during an appearance on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk". He said: "What a great man he was. What a force to reckon with, how he enriched our lives with his musical genius.
"And let me clarify, in case Howard Stern, his lying punks are listening, because they made up a dirty fucking lie on 'The Howard Stern Show', that I was jealous of Eddie and that we had a contention because of the way we played guitar. What a bunch of fucking liars.
"Eddie and I were dear friends," Ted continued. "When Eddie became clean and sober, guess who his first phone call was. To me. Because I lovingly prodded him to get the drugs and alcohol and tobacco out of his life. I did it in a loving way, and he was resistant, as most people are, but we had a wonderful relationship."
Nugent also recalled a conversation he had with Van Halen when VAN HALEN first opened for Ted 46 years ago.
"On that stage, I was fascinated to see what this guy was doing with a handmade guitar, back in '77," Nugent said. "And I went up and I said, 'Hi, Eddie. I'm Ted. What is this rig? It's awesome.' And he whipped out those unbelievable, unique licks of his. And he handed me his guitar. And even though it was this unique rig and the amplification and all these effects and just one of a kid, as soon as I started playing his bastard Stratocaster, it sounded like me, because of the way I touch the instrument. But not quite like a [Gibson] Birdland, because a Birdland just feeds back uncontrollably [laughs] — it's like an angry, pissed off beast. And I handed him the Birdland and it fed back and fed back.
"But here's the takeaway: it's in the hands and in the heart. It's in the spirit of the musician," Ted continued. "And when Eddie played my Birdland, and I was able to back it down a little bit so it wasn't so out-of-control feedback, on my Gibson Birdland through my Fender amps, it sounded like Eddie fucking Van Halen, because he is it. And even with his rig — I would play some of my licks; I played the 'Cat Scratch' lick and I played the 'Free-For-All' lick — it sounded like Ted fucking Nugent.
"But my point is: Eddie Van Halen, we all worship the gift he gave us," Nugent added. "There was never a negative moment between Eddie and I. He and I got along just great. And we loved the same kind of music. And he had a miraculous touch on the guitar, and I had my own touch. And that moment, with those two different guitars and two different rigs, it proves that it really is in the hands of the individual. And it was a great, great moment. I cherish that moment."
In May 2022, Nugent named Van Halen the best guitar player he has ever seen. "He was so diverse in not only his histrionics but his groove," he said about Eddie. "He had an unbelievable organic sense of rhythm in his delivery of not just exciting lead guitar parts but his grind of a grooving rhythm as a white kid. He really defied the history of who can groove like that. 'Cause I come from the world of the Funk Brothers of Motown, so I know what the gods of groove look and sound like. And Eddie Van Halen, the times I jammed with him, and just listening to the records, you can tell he had an unbelievable, uncannySuperman sense of rhythm beyond just his outrageous athleticism on the guitar neck."
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