Sammy hates Eddie and Alex for the way they treated bassist Anthony – but will never forget the musical force
Former Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar is still full of foul-mouthed rage at his ex-bandmates for the way they treated bassist Michael Anthony – but he still misses working in the group.
The frontman, who’s now in Chickenfoot with Anthony, has previously said he expects to return to the fold one day. But as Van Halen gear up to release their first full album since 1998, and their first with David Lee Roth since 1984, Hagar reveals he can’t forgive them for their demotion and sacking of the bassist.
Anthony was forced to take a wage cut to be part of the band’s reunion tour with Hagar in 2004. He wasn’t allowed to take part in songwriting sessions for the band’s three new tracks and he didn’t play bass on the recordings. When the Van Halens fell out with Hagar again, Anthony was seemingly punished for remaining friends with the singer. He was replaced by Eddie’s teenage son Wolfgang and the band attempted to airbrush him from all their album covers on their website – a move which caused a fan backlash and led them to replace the images.
In the 2009 video game Guitar Hero: Van Halen, Anthony was once again left out of the band’s history, with Wolfgang appearing on screen, playing songs which were written before his birth.
Now Hagar tells the Pulse of Radio: “I miss Van Halen. I don’t like them fuckers, and fuck those guys for what they did to Mikey especially, not me.
“It was unnecessary. Bad guys. But I miss that musicianship, that creative spark and that friction that made it all work.”
Hagar admits he was apprehensive about joining the band, mainly because he didn’t like the image they had with Roth. But he tells Gibson.com: “I wanted to try out because I thought I’d get Eddie to play on one of my records as a solo artist. But once I’d played with Ed, Al and Mike, I decided the music was too good – it was fantastic.
“I wasn’t like the new guy. We were both selling out arenas and we both had platinum albums. But the main reason was the friggin’ music was great. The chemistry was great and we made great records.”
Meanwhile, Chickenfoot are planning to tour in November with former John Mellencamp drummer Kenny Aronoff standing in for Chad Smith, who’s busy with his main band the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Hagar says: “We’re going to play with Kenny for two days. If it works we’re going to go out and do small venues in five cities. If it’s good, we’ll go out with Kenny.
“Chad picked him – he said Kenny’s just like him. He beats his drum set to death. At the end of every show you have to buy a new drum set for these guys. We need that power.
“When Chad can come back, we’ll make Chickenfoot IV with him.”
The band’s second album, Chickenfoot III, is due out in September.