Greg Prato for Ultimate Guitar spoke with bassist Michael Anthony. The Q&A, appears in its entirety, below.

Ultimate Guitar: How would you compare working with David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar, what are the main differences in terms of the creative process and playing live?

Michael Anthony: Well, Dave, he read books, magazines, everything under the sun. So, as far as lyrics and stuff like that, Dave, that’s all he was really about.

When Sammy joined the band, Sammy being a guitar player, his knowledge of chord structure and stuff like that brought a different element to Van Halen. Because where Dave focused mainly on his lyrics and trying to do a melody for that, Sammy would be like, ‘Well, what if we try this chord or try this progression?’ So, it was a different experience between the two.”

As far as singing goes, Sammy sings how he sings, Dave sings how he sings. But I really enjoyed how Sammy brought that other musical element to the band.

Ultimate Guitar: Did you ever get the opportunity to hear Dave‘s Eat ‘Em and Smile album, and if so, what did you think of it?

Michael Anthony: Yeah. I mean, I haven’t heard it in a long time. And I actually don’t even know if I’ve heard the whole album ever in its entirety. That’s a great album. I mean, I’m friends with Billy [Sheehan]. And Steve [Vai]. Obviously, they’re both great frickin’ players. It was great.

At first, my thoughts were, ‘Is Dave just trying to put together a band to try to kick our ass? To try to put together the best players that he could get?’ Because obviously, between Greg [Bissonette] and Steve and Billy, shit right there, you got some great musicianship.

But I thought it was good. The playing was great on that album. Those guys are all great. And on top of that, it was just Dave being Dave.”

13 Responses

  1. Well, that’s revenge….I guess DLR’s band “Eat “Em and Smile” album was equivalent, in that regard, to Dave Mustaine’s band “Killing Is My Business…” album.

  2. That was a great album for its time with some awesome player’s. Clearly, it was a FU to the VH brother’s. Loved the videos at the time and the chunky prosthetic suits they were using. Who was that in the videos with him as the engineer, was that his agent or manager?

    I saw him in Roanoke during the Eat Em’ & Smile Tour. Pretty great show. Vai & Sheen, oh man that was killer.

    1. Tasker,

      To this day Yankee Rose, along with The Prodigy‘s Slap My Bitch Up, are my two favorite videos ever.

      The beginning of Yankee Rose is HYSTERICAL, and Roth could never make a video like that now.

    2. Saw him during the Skyscrapers tour (my first concert), and even though Billy was no longer in the band, that was one hell of a concert. My 16 year old self even actually was on a quest to tell all my friends Steve Vai was better than Eddie (they are close, but I know now Eddie is a GOD!!).

      And the Yankee Rose video was killer…again, my teenage self absolutely went nuts with the girl that was showing some UNDER-BOOB!!!!

      The 80’s were a good time!!!

  3. Sammy needs average guys in his band…he’s an average guy…that’s the magic of Sammy…he takes you into his world and then completely kicks yours….Sammy is a rock god in sheep’s clothing…but Sammy in Van Halen is not Van Halen…I don’t know what it is…it’s Sammy with the Van Halen brothers as his special guests…with Michael brought in to bring the beer and play bass…lol..

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