Michael Anthony, former bass player in Van Halen and a current member of Sammy Hagar & The Circle, recently commented on the potential Van Halen tribute tour that former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted had mentioned in April, according to Blabbermouth.
Pressed for details on the proposed plan, Anthony suggested the 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 host Eddie Trunk of Sirius XM’s Trunk Nation on Thursday (June 2). “But I spoke with him and [Van Halen singer David Lee Roth] last year about a possible something.”
The former 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 had picked him and guitarist Joe Satriani for the tribute. The Metallica alum said he agreed to go to California to jam with them, but also said he sensed it wouldn’t do justice to Van Halen’s legacy.
“How could you?” Newsted asked. “There’s nobody that 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.”
“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..”
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 his own band, Mammoth WVH.
To Trunk this week, Anthony concluded, “At this point, I’ve gotta tell you, I don’t know if [a tribute tour] 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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