CHICKENFOOT Bassist: New Album Is 'One Of The Best Things That I've Been Involved With'

Joe Daly of The Nervous Breakdown recently conducted an interview with CHICKENFOOT/ex-VAN HALEN bassist Michael Anthony. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

The Nervous Breakdown: The advance reviews for "Chickenfoot III" have been wildly positive, to say the least. I know that Sammy [Hagar, CHICKENFOOT/ex-VAN HALEN singer] said that it's the best record that he's ever been a part of. What has it been like for you?

Michael Anthony: You know what? I'd have to agree with Sammy. Every now and then you hit on something. I mean, the chemistry in this band, right off the bat, is something that I experienced early on in VAN HALEN and then again when Sammy joined VAN HALEN. Once an album's over, you don't think it's gonna happen again, and with CHICKENFOOT, it was kind of like, "Oh, my God" We just got together as four friends and said "Man, this is great. Let's just hang out and play some music." Who would have known it was going to turn out into one album and tour much less? I've gotta say that from all aspects of this album, it's one of the best things that I've been involved with. And that I can proudly say I've been involved with.

The Nervous Breakdown: For you, what's the biggest difference between playing with Joe Satriani and Eddie Van Halen?

Michael Anthony: (pauses) You know, I don't know. I really can't. Playing with both guys, I really just try to lock in with the drummer. Because here are two guys who can really go into outer space with what they play, and if it what's happening behind them isn't solid CREAM was the only band that I know of that could do something that almost sounded like three guys playing three different songs and then be able to dive right back in where they're supposed to come in and be playing the same thing again. You don't want everything to get disjointed when the solo comes up. They're different players, obviously, but they're both on that same level, so I treat it all the same.

The Nervous Breakdown: You wrote the foreword for Sammy's bio ("Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock").

Michael Anthony: I had never been asked to do anything like that in my life and I said, "You know, Sammy, I'm just gonna talk from the heart, and I'm gonna just throw something down and not try to embellish anything." And his co-writer on that book, Joel Selvin, was trying to obviously, people are going to try to get you to spew out some dirt and stuff like that, and I had him re-write it about three or four times. I said, "No, I'm not gonna say that kind of shit, I'm not gonna talk about that, I'm not that kind of guy. I'm not gonna dis our fans. You write it like I want it to be written." Everyone used to call me "Mr. Switzerland." I'm not the kind of guy who smack talks anybody or whatever. Whenever I do an interview and people ask me VAN HALEN questions, I say "You know what, if you want the smack talking, ask one of the other guys. They might be ready to talk all the shit." I always want harmony within the band. I want it to work. I want everyone to get together great musically and socially, and personality-wise, because that's when the shit is happening. There was a long time in VAN HALEN when Roth was in the band, and we had that camaraderie. And when Sammy was in the band, there was a time when we called ourselves the "four-headed monster" 'cause it was like, "Nobody's gonna stop this band." That's the way I like to see it run. When you see something start slipping that kind of shit really bums me out.

Read the entire interview from The Nervous Breakdown.


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