Former VAN HALEN singer Sammy Hagar has branded Eddie Van Halen "a liar" after the legendary VH guitarist claimed in an interview that Eddie had to show ex-VAN HALEN bassist Michael Anthony "how to play all the parts" to the band's classic songs before they would go on tour.
Speaking to Billboard.com, Eddie Van Halen defended his decision to enlist his son Wolfgang to play bass for VAN HALEN following the dismissal of Anthony. He said: "Every note Mike ever played, I had to show him how to play. Before we'd go on tour, he'd come over with a video camera and I'd have to show him how to play all the parts." Van Halen also downplayed the role Anthony's harmonic backing vocals play in creating the group's signature sound. "Mike's voice is like a piccolo trumpet. But he's not a singer. He just has a range from hell," Eddie said. "Mike was just born with a very high voice. I have more soul as a singer than he does. And you know, people always talk about Mike's voice on VAN HALEN songs, but that’s a blend of Mike's voice and my voice. It's not just him."
Earlier today, after being told of Eddie's latest comments about Michael Anthony, Hagar released a video message defending the bassist, with whom he currently plays in THE CIRCLE, also featuring Jason Bonham on drums and Vic Johnson on guitar. He said (transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "It's really irritating to see them go after Mikey. Mikey didn't do anything — ever — to VAN HALEN. Mikey was the most loyal guy in the band. He was the first guy there at rehearsal, the last guy to leave, the guy that was… the first guy at the gig, the guy that flew the… carried the banner, the flag, the VH banner… he carried it every night. And the horseman with the flag, the flagman on the horse in the calvary. That was Michael Anthony, okay?! [He was] a hundred percent dedicated. [He] never did anything to hurt those guys. And they try to hurt him again, and again, and again."
He continued: "For Eddie to say he had to show [Michael] what to play and had to teach him all those songs, that is the biggest line of bullshit I've ever heard in my life. I was in that band for eleven years, and there was never a video camera involved of Eddie showing him what to play. Eddie would tell him what to play once in a while, and say, 'No, Mike, don't play with that many notes. Just stay on one note — boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom — so that I can fuck up and nobody will know it.' It was that kind of shit. And I am telling you straight up, especially on the '04 reunion tour, if Mike would have played any more than one note, it would have been showing that Eddie wasn't playing the right chords again and again and again; I couldn't sing to 'em, you couldn't play bass to 'em. So… that is a lot of bullshit."
Hagar added: "I don't know why they go after him like that. He doesn't deserve it. He's one of the greatest rock and roll bass players ever in the world. Michael Anthony is Top 5 rock and roll bass player in the world. Any bass player will tell you that, any musician will tell you that. Listen to him play on THE CIRCLE. He ain't going 'boom boom boom boom boom boom boom boom' unless it was called for.
"Michael Anthony is a bad motherfucker. Fuck you, Eddie Van Halen, for saying that about Mikey. You're a liar."
Anthony, for is part, offered the following rebuttal to Eddie's comments in the Billboard.com interview: "I am proud to say that my bass playing and vocals helped create our sound. I've always chosen to take the high road and stay out of the never-ending mudslinging, because I believe that it ultimately ends up hurting the VAN HALEN fans."