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Michael Anthony confirms he was approached about Van Halen tribute tour

Michael Anthony performs on stage with Sammy Hagar and The Circle during iHeartRadio ICONS at the iHeartRadio Theater on May 08, 2019 in Burbank, California
(Image credit: Rich Polk/Getty Images for iHeartMedia)

Last month, the rock world was sent into a frenzy when former Metallica bass guitar player Jason Newsted revealed in an interview with the Palm Beach Post (opens in new tab) that he had been approached by Alex Van Halen and Joe Satriani to join some kind of Van Halen-related tour.

Days later, Satriani confirmed that the idea was real, and that David Lee Roth was also involved in discussions for the tour – which Satriani said would be "a true tribute to Eddie [Van Halen] and the Van Halen legacy."

During a recent appearance on The Mitch Lafon and Jeremy White Show, Michael Anthony – who served as Van Halen's bassist for 30 years, before he was replaced by Eddie's son, Wolfgang Van Halen – confirmed that he, too, had been contacted by Satriani about the tour.

In the interview, which you can see below, Anthony says that he had been on "a conference call with [Van Halen manager] Irving Azoff, Alex [Van Halen] and Dave [Lee Roth] last year."

Anthony added that he also spoke to Satriani about the idea, clarifying that the conversation was "more, you know, just something kicking around."

He also revealed that, given the discussions he had been involved with, he was quite surprised to hear of Newsted's involvement.

All that aside though, Anthony added that he hopes "something happens in the future. 

"I think Joe was mentioning in some of the interviews that it's more a celebration of the band and of the music than calling it 'Van Halen,'" Anthony said. "Obviously, Eddie being probably the most integral part of the whole band, you can't really call it Van Halen after that."

Newsted's own involvement in the project went far enough that he traveled to California to jam with Van Halen and Satriani. After that though, Newsted maintained that "it kind of just all fizzled.”

In his own confirmation of the discussions, Roth said that, in his view, any kind of tribute tour would require two musicians for every position, before offering up Steve Lukather and Tommy Lee as additional potential participants, along with Satriani, Anthony and Alex Van Halen.

Shortly after Eddie Van Halen's death in October 2020, Wolfgang Van Halen – who served as Van Halen's bassist from 2007 until their dissolution, and now leads his own band, Mammoth WVH – said that Van Halen had permanently disbanded.

Replying to a tweet – which was subsequently deleted – from someone asking if Wolfgang would ever reform Van Halen without his father, he wrote (opens in new tab): “I can confidently say I will NEVER replace my father in Van Halen and tour around the world disrespecting my father’s memory.

“No EVH = No VH. Get the fuck over it, but if you can’t, just quit bothering me about it and demanding I do it when I’ve made it very clear how I feel.”

As of this writing, Wolfgang Van Halen has yet to offer comment on the still-hypothetical tribute tour. 

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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player (opens in new tab). Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder (opens in new tab) and Unrecorded (opens in new tab). Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.