Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sammy Hagar: Eddie Van Halen underused bassist Michael Anthony

Chickenfoot doing press at the same time that a new Van Halen album is out is, naturally, going to lead to some questions and comparisons about the two projects.

With former VH members Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony on board, Chickenfoot have managed to not only continue to use the pair’s dual vocal abilities, but actually expand on them.

In a new interview with Goldmine,Sammy and Michael discuss the group’s strategy to beef up its vocal sound even before they recorded “Chickenfoot III.”

“Yeah, actually, Sammy and I did make a conscious decision that, in this band, we were really going to bring that out,” says Anthony. “And there were a couple of songs, like ‘Turning Left’ from the first album, where it’s like a two-part harmony lead vocal part through the song, but we definitely wanted to bring it out more, because it’s pretty signature-sounding. But in Van Halen, like you said, the background, my part, was more … not ghosting, but it was a little bit more in the background, where Sammy really wanted to bring it to the front. And on the new album, I think we really took that a lot further.”

“Singing with him, he’s the only guy that I know that could just go above [me],” adds Hagar. “I don’t care if I’m at the peak of my range; he can get up above me, just squeeze his nuts and get on up there – and right on key, he can mimic my phrasing. He’s just … he’s so fast. That’s the thing that people don’t understand about Mike. He learns faster than anyone I’ve ever met in my life. Joe Satriani, Eddie Van Halen … guys come up with riffs, and come on, I can’t f**king play them. I’m sitting here with an acoustic guitar around the house still trying to learn these riffs on this record, and I ain’t got ‘em down yet … And he’s playing his ass off in this band.”

“He never played like this in Van Halen,” Sammy continues. Eddie [Van Halen] doesn’t even realize what a great bass player he had. I think he never realized it, and that is his complete loss. I remember recording in Van Halen, Eddie was always saying, ‘Just play eighth notes.’ And he would play all this stuff, and Mike’s just going, ‘boom, boom, boom, boom.’ Boy, Mike’s really capable of playing more than that, and he never found out. So Mike and I, one time, we’re in Cabo San Lucas when we were in Van Halen — say probably around ’89, ’88 or ’89, when we were still loving each other, and having a good time — and Mike was in Cabo jamming and doing a live broadcast from the Cabo Wabo for some album network that I think used to be around that would do live broadcasts. And Ed is listening to it on the radio, and we get back and he asked me who was playing bass? He went, ‘Yeah, yeah, you guys did ‘Crossroads’ by Cream,’ and he goes, ‘Who was playing f**king bass on that?’ I’m saying, ‘That’s your brother right over here.’ That was Michael Anthony on the bass. And Ed goes, ‘Yeah? Yeah? Yeah? Yeah?’ And then he’d smoke a cigarette, take a hit off a beer and go, ‘Hmmm.’ But, he didn’t get it, you know? But Michael has been tearing it up on this record.”

Read more of the Chickenfoot session at Goldmine here.

Earlier this week, Chickenfoot announced their “Different Devil” tour – named after their current single – which kicks off on May 4 in Lake Tahoe.

The band will play 20 dates over the month-long trek, which is currently set to wrap up June 10 in Los Angeles; opening the shows will be Black Stone Cherry.

Chickenfoot Chickenfoot

Chickenfoot – Big Foot

See also:

VIDEO: Van Halen pull out 1984 classic in Detroit
VIDEO: David Lee Roth interviews the Van Halen brothers part 2
VIDEO: Van Halen’s Recreational Director
VIDEO: Van Halen open 2012 tour
Van Halen tops the hennemusic Hot 10 for 4th week
VIDEO: Van Halen – David Lee Roth explains Stay Frosty
Van Halen land #1 Rock Album on Billboard
VIDEO: Multi-cam footage of Van Halen dress rehearsal
Van Halen debuts on Billboard album chart
PHOTOS: Van Halen share pictures of rehearsal show
Van Halen: University student suspended after writing Hot For Teacher essay
VIDEO: Van Halen’s David Lee Roth on romance
Van Halen: New album enters UK charts
Van Halen tops the hennemusic Hot 10 for 3rd week
VIDEO: David Lee Roth explains Van Halen and the legend of the Brown M&M’s
VIDEO: Van Halen – David Lee Roth explains HoneyBabySweetieDoll
VIDEO: Van Halen - David Lee Roth explains As Is
VIDEO: Van Halen - David Lee Roth explains You And Your Blues
VIDEO: Van Halen - David Lee Roth explains China Town
Gary Cherone shares his Van Halen experience
VIDEO: Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth TV commercial
VIDEO: Van Halen rock dress rehearsal for tour
Kool & The Gang talk about opening for Van Halen
Van Halen vs. Adele for Billboard #1 next week
Van Halen: ESPN running Tattoo contest
VIDEO: David Lee Roth interviews the Van Halen brothers
David Lee Roth defines the Van Halen sound
VIDEO: Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth timelapse
VIDEO: Van Halen play secret show in Los Angeles
Michael Anthony: No plans to challenge Van Halen over old songs
Sammy Hagar slams new Van Halen again
David Lee Roth talks new Van Halen album
Van Halen: Tattoo hits #1 on Billboard Hard Rock Singles chart
VIDEO: David Lee Roth explains Van Halen’s Tattoo
VIDEO: Van Halen unplug for You Really Got Me
Sammy Hagar slams new Van Halen single
Van Halen: Tattoo earns Top 20 debut on Billboard’s Rock Songs chart
Eddie Van Halen donates 75 guitars to L.A. schools
VIDEO: Van Halen – Tattoo
VIDEO: Van Halen rock 1979 classics in New York
VIDEO: Van Halen rock 1978 classics in New York
VIDEO: Van Halen rock 'Panama' at New York club show
VIDEO: Van Halen debut new song at New York club show
Van Halen 2012 tour dates announced
NBC's Al Roker uncooperative on Van Halen flight to New York
hennemusic: Van Halen leads list of Rockers To Watch in 2012
Van Halen win two hennemusic Rock News Awards
Rock News Artist Of The Year #1: VAN HALEN
Rock News Story Of The Year #1: VAN HALEN
Rock News Story Of The Year #9: VAN HALEN