Roth wants Anthony back in Van Halen
Original lineup: Van Halen with Anthony, right, in the 1980s
David Lee Roth has said he’d love to have Michael Anthony rejoin Van Halen.
The bassist, now with Chickenfoot, fell foul of Eddie Van Halen’s temper in the mid-2000s and was replaced by the guitarist’s young son Wolfgang for the reunion with Roth. At one point the band attempted to airbrush him out of album cover images on their website, and used Wolfgang’s likeness in a video game when he performed tracks recorded by Anthony before he was born.
Now Roth says he’d like the original lineup to get back together – and expresses frustration over the lack of future plans following the release of A DIfferent Kind Of Truth last year.
The singer tells Rolling Stone: “Clearly, vocals are every bit as much a component of success as a rhythm section or a guitar solo. There’s an old expression saying, ‘They don’t go home singing the lighting show, they don’t go home singing the production.’ You’re right, they sing my words and my melodies.
“And what we have at our fingertips is arguably one of the greatest high tenor voices ever – that was in Michael Anthony. That voice is as identifiable as the high voice in Earth, Wind and Fire, as identifiable as the high voice in the Beach Boys.
“So I would always look forward to that reunion, and I would always look forward to writing a whole variety of material.”
But Roth believes that creating new songs is nearly as unlikely as Anthony’s return. He says: “Ed has his own vision, I’m assuming. We haven’t really been able to speak about it and it’s a disappointment.
“Almost all of the music that you hear on our most recent album was written and demoed before the first album. I would certainly look forward to writing a whole list of songs with Ed, but we haven’t found the time to do that.
“I’m not sure what’s in Ed’s mind at this point. I’m gonna guess that his plans are to write with his son, and I’m not sure where that actually leads. But truth be told, Edward and I haven’t written a new song in 20 years.”
The vocalist would also relish the chance to escape the US and play further afield. “Alex and I have been begging to become part of that, and Glastonbury and Reading and Hyde Park,” he explains. “We’re knocking on the doors begging for Bonnaroo and begging for Lollapalooza and Coachella – not even as an advancement of career, but there’s a whole new audience who doesn’t know and doesn’t give a shit about Van Halen, and that’s exactly the best audience to sharpen your spirit on.
“That will compel you to the very best that you have. I can’t wait for those opportunities, and wish us well. We’ve been asking for those shows since I’ve gotten back with the band six years ago, and I’ll be very curious to see where we wind up come next season.”