Van Halen fans have been doing a happy dance ever since David Lee Roth and Eddie Trunk made some cryptic comments alluding to a possible reunion of the band’s classic lineup, but Michael Anthony is here to bring fans back to reality.
“The only comment I have is that I haven’t spoken to any of the guys since we last played together back in 2004,” Anthony told Premiere Radio Networks, per iHeart. Anthony added that when he ran into former band mate Alex Van Halen “a few years back,” the two engaged in brief small talk but nothing more.
Van Halen lead singer David Lee Roth recently made a comment about the band playing Yankee Stadium in 2019, and he teased that there could be some surprises on the lineup. According to Ultimate Classic Rock, Roth revealed that Van Halen would be touring “in the summertime and do the original thing, maybe somewhere sportin’, maybe with somebody famous.”
Fans clung to David Lee Roth’s choice of the phrases “original thing” and “somebody famous” and surmised that the “Jump” singer was dropping hints about Michael Anthony’s return to the band as part of the classic lineup with Roth and Eddie and Alex Van Halen, whom he worked with from 1974 to 1985.
And to add fuel to the fire, radio host Eddie Trunk revealed that he heard unconfirmed “rumors from reliable sources” that Van Halen “will tour in 2019 with the original band, which would mean the return of Michael, and that there is gonna be some sort of stadium package.”
“Again, I cannot stress enough that is not confirmed in any way shape or form but there are starting to be some real substantial rumors about that as we close out 2018,” Trunk said.
REPORT: Van Halen rumored to tour with original lineup in 2019: https://t.co/cGp7YNePSH— Loudwire (@Loudwire) December 26, 2018
Van Halen last toured in 2015, 11 years after they last played with Michael Anthony, who departed the band for good in 2004 after an increasingly diminished role as background vocalist and bass player. Van Halen continued with Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang on bass, while Anthony has teamed up with former Van Halen vocalist Sammy Hagar for the bands Chickenfoot and Sammy Hagar & The Circle.
In an interview with Billboard, Eddie Valen Halen once said Michael Anthony had a terrible singing voice and wasn’t that great of a bass player.
“Every note Mike ever played, I had to show him how to play,” the Van Halen guitarist said. “Before we’d go on tour, he’d come over with a video camera and I’d have to show him how to play all the parts.”
But Sammy Hagar staunchly stood up for his longtime bandmate and called out Eddie Van Halen as a liar in the expletive-fueled response.
“For Eddie to say he had to show him what to play and then teach him all those songs, that’s the biggest line of bullsh*t in my life,” Hagar said. “I was in that band for 11 years, there was never a video camera involved of Eddie showing [Anthony] what to play.”
Hagar even accused Eddie Van Halen of telling Michael Anthony to “stay on one note” so it would camouflage his own guitar mistakes.
Despite the bad blood between the ex-bandmates, Sammy Hagar previously told Rolling Stone time is running out for a proper Van Halen reunion tour. Hagar said he believes fans deserve an ultimate reunion tour that would include the vocalists from both eras of the band.
“I haven’t talked to anyone, and I’m not reaching out,” Hagar told Rolling Stone in 2017. “I’m gonna tell you exactly what my dream would be, though. It would be Sam, Dave, Mike, Al, and Eddie. If [Eddie’s son] Wolfie’s band opened, that’s fine.”
Hagar added that his idea is a very real possibility because “there’s so much money involved that somebody will make it happen,” but he cautioned that the aging rockers could be running out of time. Hagar, 71, also made it clear that by the time he hits age 75, he won’t be interested in doing a Van Halen reunion at all.
While he hasn’t talked to any of his ex-bandmates about it directly, Michael Anthony also expressed interest in a reunion tour. Last year, the legendary bassist told the New Herald that Van Halen owes it to their loyal fans to give them “some kind of proper closure.”
“You obviously see all of these other bands doing it these days,” Anthony said. “Everybody in the band is still relatively healthy and alive. So there’s one thing right there.”