Gus Griesinger of Glam-Metal.com recently conducted an interview with former VAN HALEN bassist Michael Anthony. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow.
Glam-Metal.com: There has been plenty of talk in the last couple of months about a "supergroup" forming with you, Sammy, Chad Smith (from the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS), and guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani. How did this project come about?
Michael: These things happen by default or we just roll into these things. Chad comes down to Cabo (the Bar). He actually has a place in Cabo, San Lucas. He comes down and jams with Sammy and myself. We have a code word named for the band called CHICKENFOOT, for lack of having anything else better to call it. This past February, Sammy did a show at the Palms hotel in Las Vegas. He asked me if I would play the show with him and I said sure. Sammy had an idea because Chad wanted to come out and play as well. He wanted to put something different together for the encores. How he ever came up with Joe's name, I don't know. Maybe he pulled his name out of a hat and called Joe on it. He called Joe and he said he would love to do it! Sammy over the phone said let's do "Mr. Fantasy" (the TRAFFIC version), and "Going Down" (which is kind of a standard deal) instead of me finishing the show and doing an encore. So we all just listened to the music on our own. We never rehearsed it. We got up there (in Vegas), we played and it just clicked so well! In fact after we played those two, the fans were going nuts! Chad is going, "You want to hear one more?" We ended up doing ZEPPELIN's "Rock and Roll". It sounded so great and everybody got along great too. So hey, why don't we go into the studio and see if this could blossom into anything. Not to form an actual new band but just to do a one-off thing because we don't know where this is going to take us. Sammy and Joe both live in northern California and they got together and Sammy had a couple of ideas. Next thing I know, Joe says I got this and that and he sends us each a CD with about 6 different ideas on it. We were all just blown away. Chad and I flew up to San Francisco and in about one weekend, we all put 8 songs together.
Glam-Metal.com: Since you have been recording new material and have 8 tracks done already, can we expect the material to be released in late 2008 or early 2009?
Michael: We have to go back in the studio. The demos or what we are calling demos, a lot of that stuff we may just use off the demos because the energy was there. So we will be just checking everything to make sure the songs sound good and we are going to repair a few things on the demos. In August/September we are going back in the studio to finish this thing off. Right now, we are putting a plan together on how we want to do this as far as touring or putting this out. Whether we will do it ourselves or go to a couple of labels. We really don't know yet. We do know that everybody is way into it and it's going to happen. There has been a lot of buzz over the Internet saying that this supergroup or what have you, won't happen. This is going to happen! I can tell you that!
Glam-Metal.com: On behalf of our staff and readers we would like to congratulate you on your 2007 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A so-called re-union was done with the original VAN HALEN without you. Even though the tour numbers support that it went off well, many disagreed that it wasn't a reunion tour and have voiced their opinions expressing so. How does that make you feel that fans are voicing their support and showing their appreciation of you and your legacy in the band?
Michael: First of all, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction was a bittersweet thing. Sammy and I showed up and we weren't even in the band at the time. I felt, I hope those other three guys really regret this at some point in their life. It was great! Sammy and I are sitting at a table there watching REM play and I turned to Sammy and said, "Can you imagine if the band were all tight and everything and we got up there we would have really kicked everyone's ass?" Like no induction ceremony they ever had. Instead, we just jammed with the "Late Show" guy Paul Shaffer, which was OK. We got there and did it and VELVET REVOLVER did a couple of our songs. What was supposed to be the pinnacle of your career (at least for me), because all of your tears went into it. I'm out there trying to give some sort of off-the-cuff speech and I got Keith Richards looking at me. I had people like him, John McEnroe, and everyone comes up to me and congratulates me. I had my wife and my kids there and it was like the greatest night of my life! It was sad on how it turned out and it could have been so much better. As far as the tour goes, it kind of hurt in a way at first only because there were a couple of graphics on their website where they actually pulled my picture off album covers. I was like, "Wow!" I'm very proud of the old VAN HALEN legacy. It sucks that they want to try to wipe it out or seem like I was never there. The only other thing I wish is that we could have given them a real reunion, with all the original guys. They chose their path and Eddie says that I chose to play with Sammy and whatever. Basically, I played with Sammy because there was a period where the band wasn't doing anything. I'm sitting there at home and my wife wants my ass out of the house and Sammy would call and ask if I wanted to jam on a couple of songs. I was on a plane before I had my bags packed because I just wanted to get out there and play.
Read the entire interview at Glam-Metal.com.