Michael Anthony was contacted by VAN HALEN's management half a year ago about reuniting with the band for a tour, Sammy Hagar has revealed.
A recent rumor has suggested that the original VAN HALEN lineup — including Anthony, who has not played with the band since 2004 — will reunite in 2019 for a run of stadium shows. This would be the first time that the four founding members of the band, including singer David Lee Roth, guitarist Eddie Van Halen and drummer Alex Van Halen, perform together since 1984.
During an appearance earlier today (Wednesday, February 13) on the "Trunk Nation" show on SiriusXM satellite radio, former VAN HALEN singer Sammy Hagar, who plays with Anthony in THE CIRCLE and CHICKENFOOT, said that Michael has been kept mostly in the dark about the possibility of the bassist being involved in a VAN HALEN comeback tour.
"As usual, Mike's hearing about it through the news, just like the way he heard about when Wolfie [Eddie Van Halen's son, Wolfgang Van Halen] replaced him [back in 2007]," Hagar said. "It was, like, 'Oh, I guess I'm not in VAN HALEN anymore.' He read about it instead of these knuckleheads giving him a call and just being straight upfront with him. So Mikey's still sitting in that same position again to where all these rumors are going around."
Having said that, Hagar said that he is "sure [the VAN HALEN camp is] trying to put something together. Whether or not it's gonna materialize, I wouldn't have a clue; it's nothing to do with me," he said. "But I told Mike, 'If this happens, you freakin' have my blessings. You go do this. You're a founding member in that band.' And for the fans, he needs to do it. He is the missing element right now. If you want my opinion, without Mike, it just doesn't seem quite the same. Mikey, he's the flag bearer — he walks out there with the flag, the VH flag. He holds it high, like the guy in the cavalry. And he's a special guy and he has my blessings. And when they're done, [THE CIRCLE will] go back out — if they do it; if it happens."
Seemingly addressing the rumor that a VAN HALEN reunion tour with Anthony would see the bassist splitting the set with Wolfgang, Hagar added: "The things I've been reading, it aint gonna happen," Hagar continued. "They think Mikey's gonna come out and do his bass solo with the Jack Daniel's bass and say goodbye and stand on the side of the stage and watch Wolfie play his songs all night. I mean, I don't think the fans are gonna go for that either. That'd be real hard on little Wolf — he don't deserve that. So I don't know what to think. Maybe it's just a rumor. Who knows? Those guys, they don't tell me nothing, 'cause I don't wanna know. But you'd think they'd at least tell Mike. [Laughs]"
Hagar went on to say that he is "not trying to hide anything" about what he knows regarding Anthony's status with VAN HALEN. "Mike and I have had the conversation," he confirmed. "I'm telling you, Mike don't know shit. They're gonna have to eventually… Somebody's gonna have to give the guy a call. I mean, he got a call six months ago from [VAN HALEN's] management saying, 'Are you interested?' And he said, 'Yeah. I'm doing a record with Sammy right now. We're booking shows, so you'd have to work around it.' And they said, 'Okay. We'll get back to you.' And that was it. I can tell you that much."
Sammy repeated that Anthony "totally" has his blessings to play with VAN HALEN again if the opportunity presents itself. "I'm an easygoing guy," Hagar said. "First of all, I don't wanna go out and play six months. So [THE CIRCLE is] gonna go out and play a couple of months. And if this happens, he can go play with [VAN HALEN] a couple of months, and then I'll go out in the fall again for a couple of months. I just know that Mike's committed to these shows we've got going on right here. If those guys get it together, a hundred percent he has my blessings. I love the guy. And I think he knows that THE CIRCLE is really important for his long-term thing, because VAN HALEN is so sporadic."
During an appearance at last month's NAMM show in Anaheim, California, Anthony told Music Radar that he wasn't opposed to reuniting with VAN HALEN. "I'm a 'never say never' guy," he said. "At this point… I don't know what kind of rumors are floating around or whatever, but I personally haven't been contacted by them yet or anything. So, at this point, nothing is happening. But you never know."
The rumors stem from a recent interview Roth did, as well as a report from radio personality Eddie Trunk. Roth hinted to Vulture that the band would "come back through town in the summertime and do the original thing, maybe somewhere sportin', maybe with somebody famous…. next time my rock band will be playing the same place that the Yankees play."
Meanwhile, on his SiriusXM show, Trunk said that he heard from reliable sources that the band would tour in 2019 with Anthony back in the fold. He explained, "Every year there’s some rumor about VAN HALEN about to do something or announce something, and ultimately it just doesn't happen. But, a little more so than normal as we close out 2018, I'm starting to hear some rumblings."
He went on to say: "The rumors from reliable sources — but still rumors that are unconfirmed — is that the band will tour in 2019 with the original band, which would mean the return of Michael, and that it’s gonna be some sort of stadium package."
VAN HALEN and Anthony have not been on good terms for more than a decade, with Anthony not invited to join the reunion with Roth that began in 2007. The subsequent two tours and studio album, "A Different Kind Of Truth", featured Wolfgang on bass.
Anthony has said that a reunion of the original VAN HALEN lineup would be an opportunity for "closure." He told The Pulse Of Radio not long ago that he's ambivalent about playing VAN HALEN songs live even though he still feels like he has "ownership" of the old songs. "Part ownership, anyway," he said. "I was part of it. You know, that's kind of one of the reasons why I've never wanted to like actually put a [solo] thing together and go out and play like that. I know Roth did it for quite some time. But you know, to me, I mean, that's basically, that's VAN HALEN's stuff, and it's best left to VAN HALEN doing it."
Anthony took a pay cut and signed away all of his rights to the band name and logo in order to participate in the 2004 tour, which featured Hagar.
Thanks: Bob Suehs of Rock N Roll Experience