Stephanie Schultz of The Press-Enterprise reports:

When Michael Anthony, longtime bassist and back-up vocalist for rock icons Van Halen left the band in the late ’90s, he faced some uncertainties except one: he would continue to play music.

“I couldn’t just sit on my hands and do nothing because my last name isn’t Van Halen,” Anthony said in a recent telephone interview. “I didn’t want to be the bass player everyone forgot about.”

Anthony played with various bands and eventually reunited with former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar and even original lead singer David Lee Roth for a short-lived Van Halen tour. [Dana’s note: Hagar and Roth never toured on the same bill for Van Halen. The writer, most likely, accidentally combined the 2004 Van Tour along with the 2002 Roth/Hagar tour.]

“It started out going well and then it didn’t go too well,” he said of the 2004 tour. “I remember the first show I played, Sammy said, ‘Yeah, I think Dave is going to come out and join us,’ and Dave never came out of his dressing room and he became a recluse and I never really saw him.”

To add to the complications, Eddie Van Halen was dealing with health issues.

“Eddie was in bad shape – we did 80 shows and had to pull the plug because it was just too much work,” he said. “And I hated having to wake up the day of the show and think, ‘Which Eddie Van Halen are we going to get today? The Jekyll or the Hyde?’”

But Hagar, a Fontana native, circled back and asked Anthony to start coming out to shows to perform with the Red Rocker’s band The Waboritas, which then led to Chickenfoot, a supergroup featuring Hagar, Anthony, the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith and guitarist Joe Satriani. Hagar also formed The Circle — another formidable group made up of Hagar, Anthony, drummer Jason Bonham, son of Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, and guitarist Vic Johnson.

Anthony said it’s all about having fun these days, including good times off stage like when the two get together on Hagar’s television show Rock & Roll Road Trip With Sammy Hagar on AXS TV.

“What’s great about Sammy and I is once we reconnected we had already attained a level of success and it allowed us the luxury to just have fun,” Anthony said. “There’s no egos involved, we are all really good friends and although it’s nice to make money, it’s not money driven.”

The Circle will perform at Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa in Rancho Mirage on Thursday, May 17th, and Pala Casino Spa & Resort on Saturday, May 19th. The latter performance is in conjunction with the opening of the resort’s new pool complex.

Anthony said the band enjoys performing at casinos as much as arenas and stadiums.

“The casinos are always packed and a little more intimate than the bigger arena shows and we have a lot of fun playing those and we plan to bring all the craziness that we do,” he said with a laugh. “And I gotta tell you, they pay really well.”

The members of The Circle bring a massive catalog of songs to choose from making the setlists a cornucopia of classic hits ranging from Hagar’s solo career, Montrose, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin and selections from Chickenfoot and The Circle.

“One of my favorite songs to play live is Right Now,” Anthony said of the 1992 Van Halen hit. “It always evokes a lot of emotion from the crowd and is a lot of fun to play. Poundcake is great fun, too.”


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  • RandyK on

    When did Michael Anthony ever re-unite with Roth? I think this article has co-mingled the 2002 Hagar/Roth tour with the 2004 Van Hagar tour.

    • Dana on

      Yes, Randy,

      You are correct, Van Halen never toured with both singers. The writer must have combined both the 2004 Van Tour with the 2002, The Heavyweight Champs of Rock and Roll tour, with Roth and Hagar. The writer should really correct that inaccurate information.

      I will put a note in ours.

      All my best,
      Dana 🙂

  • Doug R. on

    My top 20 Van Hagar Songs:

    20) Pleasure Dome
    19) Judgement Day
    18) Man On A Mission
    17) Feels So Good
    16) Love Walks In
    15) The Dream Is Over
    14) Amsterdam
    13) Summer Nights
    12) “5150”
    11) Black And Blue
    10) Poundcake
    9) Why Can’t This Be Love
    8) Cabo Wabo
    7) Right Now
    6) Best Of Both Worlds
    5) When It’s Love
    4) Runaround
    3) Dreams
    2) Finish What Ya Started
    1) Top Of The World

    So cool that Mikey and Sammy are still keeping the great Van Hagar era songs alive! Unfortunately, Eddie and Alex still want to pretend these great songs don’t exist, but they do exist, and thanks to Mikey and Sammy for reminding everyone (who might have forgotten) just how great the Van Hagar era songs really are!

    • MikeyMan on

      Pretty good list. But I’d have to squeeze “Humans Being” in there somewhere.

    • Doug R. on

      “Humans Being” was close, real close. I think I should go with a top 25 list from now on! 😉

  • T on

    Although I think the first four VH albums were by far the best overall, I definitely think that Sammy and Michael were the adults in the breakup of VH post Sammy. I thought the way Eddie talked about Michael and dismissed his role was a disgrace and beyond childish, and why? Because he continued to play music with Sammy. How dare he.

  • RTunes68 on

    This entire article is the epitome of lazy journalism. No one expects a newspaper writer to know everything about whoever they’re writing about, but this writer makes it blatantly obvious that she didn’t know her subject AND didn’t bother to research them either. This is a bunch of Michael Anthony quotes chained together with misunderstanding and misinformation.

  • Taskerofpuppets on

    First time I saw VH was during the OU812 Tour Monster’s of Rock 88′. Alex had 3 drum kits in the round and Micheal with the JD bass solo and Eddie who played so beautifully in both DC and Memphis that tour. Sammy climbing the stage frame…good times! I do hope they get back together with Sammy as one last hurrah. Before it’s too late….last time I Saw Edward he was looking more like Wolfie

    • Dana on

      I would highly suggest that all Van Halen fans read Noel Monk’s book, Runnin’ With The Devil. It might shed some light on the complicated relationships, and dynamics, within the band.

      D 🙂

    • PJ Schwackhammmer on

      Ha… if you were at the Memphis show, you must remember the Great Coke Cup War that broke out in between the Dokken and Scorpions sets. That was nothing but awesome–although in retrospect, it’s a really good thing they weren’t serving beer that day…

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