Sammy Hagar on Michael Anthony: "He Never Played Like This in Van Halen"

For all the positive reviews of Van Halen's new album, A Different Kind of Truth, there has always remained a steady drone of a naysayers claiming that the band is just not the same without bassist Michael Anthony.

While Anthony himself has remained mostly quiet on the issue, his longtime bandmate Sammy Hagar has been quite outspoken in his defense.

In a new interview with Goldmine magazine, Hagar was asked about the difference in singing with Anthony in Van Halen and Chickenfoot, and Sammy used the opportunity to once again sing the bassist's praises.

"Singing with him, he’s the only guy that I know that could just go above [me]," he said. "I don’t care if I’m at the peak of my range; he can get up above me, just squeeze his nuts and get on up there – and right on key, he can mimic my phrasing."

he continued, "He’s just … he’s so fast. That’s the thing that people don’t understand about Mike. He learns faster than anyone I’ve ever met in my life. Joe Satriani, Eddie Van Halen … guys come up with riffs, and come on, I can’t fucking play them. I’m sitting here with an acoustic guitar around the house still trying to learn these riffs on this record, and I ain’t got ‘em down yet … And he’s playing his ass off in this band. He never played like this in Van Halen. Eddie [Van Halen] doesn’t even realize what a great bass player he had. I think he never realized it, and that is his complete loss. I remember recording in Van Halen, Eddie was always saying, “Just play eighth notes.” And he would play all this stuff, and Mike’s just going, 'boom, boom, boom, boom.' Boy, Mike’s really capable of playing more than that, and he never found out."

You can read the rest of the interview here.

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Josh Hart

Josh Hart is a former web producer and staff writer for Guitar World and Guitar Aficionado magazines (2010–2012). He has since pursued writing fiction under various pseudonyms while exploring the technical underpinnings of journalism, now serving as a senior software engineer for The Seattle Times.