Sammy Hagar predicts bassist Michael Anthony will rejoin Van Halen for a reunion of the band’s original lineup.
“I don’t know what’s going on,” Hagar told VH1 Radio Network’s Dave Basner when asked about reports of a new Van Halen album. “I couldn’t even tell you. I could speculate all day long but I always get in trouble for doing that, so I’d rather just say I would love to hear some new music from those guys — and I don’t care if I’m in the band or not, that doesn’t mean anything to me. Right now, I’m really happy. I can play any song I want and I can sing it and I can rock it and I’ve got musicians that can do it and me and Mikey are having the time of our life.”
“My guess is, if you want me to make one prediction,” Hagar continued, “I think that Michael Anthony will be back in that band because they really need to do that. If they’re going to serve the fans and ever do what the fans really want right now, if it’s going to be Dave, then it’s gotta be Mike, too.”
“It’s gotta be the original band, and that’s the way it should be,” he added. “Nothing against Wolfie — I love the guy; he was a sweet kid, grew up, I saw him when he was born for God’s sake — but they need to do that and my prediction is they will.”
Anthony was famously removed from the Van Halen lineup by guitarist Eddie Van Halen sometime in 2002 because he remained friendly with Hagar after his stint in the band. The guitarist brought in his son, Wolfgang, to handle bass duties in 2006 as the group prepared for a reunion tour with David Lee Roth.
"I think it was actually when Sammy asked me to come out and guest at some shows when he did the Hagar-Roth tour [in 2002],” Anthony told Eddie Trunk recently. “I don't think that sat too well with some people. [Laughs]”
"What actually happened was I hadn't really decided to do it, and Eddie and Alex knew about it, and Eddie called me,” he continued. “And I really don't wanna get into that conversation, but to put it in a nutshell, he didn't want me to be a part of that circus…. But I just wanted to get out and play. And I thought, you know, it's, like… OK, he's not in the band, but it's, like… I don't know… I guess it was more of, like, 'You're with us or you're not. You're in or you're out.' There's no area… It's cut and dried.”
“And what happened was [Eddie] actually kind of backed me up against the wall and he gave me an ultimatum: Are you gonna go out and you're gonna play this or whatever?',” explained Anthony. “And it really upset me; he pissed me off. And I said, 'I'm gonna go out and play.' And that was kind of the end of that conversation. Then I got a call back from Alex about a half hour later saying, 'Oh, well, you know Ed. You know how Ed is. He's like that,' or whatever. And at that point, I was just, like, 'You know what?! I'm…' “
“As much as I love those guys and the band and whatever, we had just all of a sudden been through so much, after Sammy was out of the band, and I think all of the drama with Gary [Cherone] and whatever, I wanted to get out and play. So I don't know if you would call that me quitting the band or just…? I was backed up against the wall. And I wanted to get out and play."
When Hagar was invited to return to Van Halen for a 2004 reunion tour put together to support the band’s ill-planned greatest hits package, “The Best of Both Worlds”, he agreed to participate only if Anthony joined them. The situation led Eddie to force the bassist to take a pay cut and sign over his rights to any future use of the Van Halen name.
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