Former VAN HALEN bassist Michael Anthony joined Matt Pinfield for the latest installment of the new KLOS series "New & Approved", which highlights forthcoming and current projects from the biggest names in music. Anthony discussed SAMMY HAGAR & THE CIRCLE's latest offering, "Lockdown 2020", a collection of cover material that was a collaborative effort from the group as he and his bandmates wanted to release a project for fans during the coronavirus pandemic, seeing as how their originally slated tour came to a halt last year in March. With covers from acts like AC/DC, VAN HALEN, Bob Marley, and many more, the project is a small glimpse into what each member has been inspired by during quarantine. Anthony also goes on to speak on putting together a tribute concert for the late Eddie Van Halen, discusses plans for new material after things settle with the global pandemic, and much more.
Asked if he had a chance to reconnect with Eddie Van Halen before the legendary guitarist's passing, Michael said (see video below): "I actually did not have the chance to do that, and I really feel bad about that. We all, kind of in the inner circle, that were kind of close to him, knew that he was ill, but I didn't know to what extent. And he was very private about his illness, and so we all kind of respected that. So we really weren't that much in touch before I found out, with everybody else, that he had passed."
Michael also talked about plans to organize a tribute show in honor of Eddie, who died last October after a long battle with cancer.
"There has to be one," he said. "Obviously, we all loved Eddie, and the music was all great, whether you're a Dave [Lee Roth] fan, a Sammy [Hagar] fan, a Gary [Cherone] fan, or whatever. And it's gotta be celebrated at some point. But, obviously, now is not the time, because his family's grieving, his son's grieving, [and] I'm still trying to wrap my head around it actually having happened. But I'm sure it will happen some time here in the hopefully not-too-distant future. And I'm definitely in when it does happen. It'll be a great celebration, I think."
Last November, Eddie's son Wolfgang told Entertainment Tonight that he and his family may eventually stage a tribute show in honor of his father, with proceeds going toward Eddie's favorite charity, Mr. Holland's Opus, which helps underprivileged students access musical instruments. Proceeds from the debut solo single from Wolfgang's solo band MAMMOTH WVH, "Distance", are also benefiting Mr. Holland's Opus.
During the same chat, Wolfgang once again shot down a rumor that a new version of VAN HALEN could be assembled featuring him on guitar in place of his late father. In October, a rumor started to make the rounds via a Wolfgang Van Halen private group on Facebook that the VAN HALEN "camp" was discussing the possibility of the band carrying with a revamped lineup that would consist of Hagar on vocals, Anthony on bass, Alex Van Halen on drums and Wolfgang on guitar. Furthermore, it was suggested that Eddie Van Halen told his son and brother "I give you my blessing" with regard to the prospect of VAN HALEN continuing without him.
"No way. That'll never happen," Wolfgang told Entertainment Tonight. "I think a message to the VAN HALEN fans [would be that] some things just really suck. I don't have a dad anymore and I have to figure out how to process that and deal with it. And, that's the process that VAN HALEN fans need to go through and realize that you can't have the band anymore without Eddie Van Halen. The music will live on forever, but you can't have [the band] without him. Impossible.
"My dad would probably be really pissed off at me if I [tried to take his place,]" Wolfgang added. "He'd probably be, like, 'What are you doing playing my stuff? Go do your stuff.' He would've been really upset, like, 'You have all this music you're sitting on. Why wouldn't you go forward with that?'"
Hagar replaced David Lee Roth in VAN HALEN in 1985 and recorded four studio albums with the band — "5150", "OU812", "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" and "Balance" — all of which topped the U.S. chart.
Sammy, Eddie, Alex and Michael last teamed up in 2004 for a U.S. summer tour. In exchange for taking part in the tour, Anthony reportedly had to agree to take a pay cut and sign away his rights to the band name and logo.
In early 2019, rumors were rampant that the classic-era lineup of VAN HALEN would reunite for the first time since 1984. It has since been revealed that a health setback involving Eddie was responsible for the tour not materializing.
Eddie died at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California.
The iconic VAN HALEN axeman passed away from complications due to cancer, his son confirmed.