WOLFGANG VAN HALEN Wanted To Call MICHAEL ANTHONY Personally To Ask Him To Return To VAN HALEN
November 19, 2020
In a new interview with Rod Ryan of the Houston, Texas radio station 94.5 The Buzz, Wolfgang Van Halen discussed his recent revelation that his father, legendary VAN HALEN guitarist Eddie Van Halen, had contemplated a "kitchen-sink tour" that would have included bassist Michael Anthony, as well as vocal turns from both Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth. There was even talk about bringing back Gary Cherone, who sang with the band on one poorly received album, 1998's "Van Halen III".
"It was my idea," Wolfgang said (see video below). "Over the years, I'd been talking to Dad and introducing the idea of, like, 'Hey, hear me out. But this would be really cool. What if we had Mike come back and I could open?' And over the next year or so, he started to warm up to the idea, and he was into it. And then we started joking around with the idea of the kitchen-sink tour — everything but the kitchen sink — and just get everybody. Get Hagar, get Cherone, get Roth, Anthony, and we'd all get up on stage and just have a party. And we even spoke to Irving Azoff, the band's manager, and he got really excited about it, and hit up Anthony. I think that's how the rumors got out. But by that time, Dad's health was in such a decline that we were kind of waiting until we could over this hump to [where] we can get back to it, and we never got to that point, unfortunately."
According to Wolfgang, the original plan was for him to personally contact Michael and ask him to come back to VAN HALEN. "Unfortunately, Irving hit [Michael] up before I had a chance to," he said. "The plan was for me to [reach out to him]." Wolfgang went on to say that he was also the one who called Roth in 2007 to get him to return to VAN HALEN for a reunion tour.
Asked if there are any plans to stage an Eddie Van Halen tribute concert at some point in the not-too-distant future, Wolfgang said: "Not currently. But I wouldn't see something like that not happening at some point. But it's not on the horizon yet. But I certainly wouldn't be against that happening at some point. Once we're able to all be touring and actually get together and celebrate live music, I'm sure there's an opportunity for us to do something like that."
In early 2019, a rumor surfaced that the classic VAN HALEN lineup would reunite that summer for a run of stadium shows. This would have been the first time that Michael, Eddie, David and Alex Van Halen performed together since 1984.
The rumors originally started with Roth, who hinted to Vulture that VAN HALEN would be playing stadiums with Anthony back in the lineup.
VAN HALEN and Anthony had not been on good terms for more than a decade, with Anthony not invited to join the reunion with Roth that began in 2007. The subsequent two tours and studio album, "A Different Kind Of Truth", featured Wolfgang on bass.
Anthony's THE CIRCLE bandmate Hagar — himself a former VH member — was the first to publicly confirm that Michael was contacted in 2018 by VAN HALEN's management about reuniting with the group for a tour.
Anthony took a pay cut and signed away all of his rights to the band name and logo in order to participate in VAN HALEN's 2004 tour, which featured Hagar.
During a June 2019 appearance on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk", the former VAN HALEN bassist — who spent much of the last few years on the road with SAMMY HAGAR & THE CIRCLE — confirmed that he was approached by VAN HALEN's management two years ago about re-teaming with the group.
"I spoke with Irving Azoff [in] October  — that's when I first heard from him — and he asked if I would be interested in any kind of a reunion, and I told him, I said, 'Yeah.' I was finishing up a couple of shows with Sammy and I said, 'Yeah, I'd be interested to hear what you guys have going on," Michael recalled. "I've got these few dates left, and give me a call.' And I never heard a call back. And then, right after the first of the year, I got… David Lee Roth's, Dave's business manager or lawyer, or something, got ahold of me about a meeting or something. And so at that point, I gave it over to our manager, because I didn't wanna start getting in this whole thing — I wanted to do it the correct way, especially after the way things went for me in 2004.
"From what I've heard, and I haven't spoken to any of the guys, they were gonna try to plan a thing for [that] summer," Anthony added. "And for whatever reason… I was never… My people were never… They never got in touch with us about any kind of a contract or any kind of a meeting to discuss or whatever. And the next thing I knew, the plug got pulled on it."
Eddie died on October 6 at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California. The iconic VAN HALEN axeman died from complications due to cancer, his son confirmed.
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