In the days since Van Halen’s August 13 announcement that a long-awaited reunion tour with founding frontman David Lee Roth was, indeed, on, the band’s trusty fans haven’t heard from the one man who could make a true VH reunion complete: original bassist Michael Anthony.
Instead, fans would eventually learn, Anthony has been replaced by guitarist Eddie Van Halen’s 16-year-old son Wolfgang (see “Van Halen Reunite With David Lee Roth — Tour Kicks Off September 27″ ). Anthony hasn’t granted any media interviews, and the band’s followers have wondered why he’s been excluded from what is already turning out to be a sellout, 25-date North American run, which kicks off in Charlotte, North Carolina, on September 27. But on Tuesday, Anthony broke his silence in a pithy blog titled “Thanks for the support,” which was posted on the musician’s Web site.
“I want to thank everyone for all the support [you've] shown me during the past months,” Anthony wrote. “It’s all been pretty crazy, and I just wanted to bring you all up to speed.”
With regard to the Van Halen reunion trek, Anthony claimed he was never even extended an invite. “It’s not that I’m not touring with Van Halen because I’m going out with Sammy [Hagar, who fronted the band from 1985 to 1996 following Roth's departure, and then again from 2003 to 2005]. I’m going out with Sammy [as the Other Half] because I was not invited to do the [Van Halen] tour.
“Sammy told me that if I was asked to be part of the VH tour and decided to do it, it would be totally cool, and it would not tarnish our friendship in the least,” Anthony continued. “Well, it’s not to be, and life goes on. I’ll still be out there with Sam, and I can’t wait to do some partying with all of you.” Hagar and Anthony’s tour, which will feature the Mad Anthony Express, Los Tres Gusanos, the Other Half and Sammy and the Wabos, will kick off in Biloxi, Mississippi, on October 19 and run through November 17 in Sioux City, Iowa.
Anthony also urged fans to go easy on Wolfgang, calling the green bassist “a great kid” and adding, “Don’t judge him too harshly — I’m sure he’ll do just fine.”
Missing, however, from Anthony’s missive is any mention of the attempts Van Halen has reportedly made in recent weeks to erase Anthony from the band’s 35-year history. Last week, fans lashed out at the band after photos of Anthony on Van Halen’s official Web site were allegedly removed or replaced by an image of Wolfgang Van Halen; the pictures were restored within hours, soon after fans took notice and began sounding off on various VH message boards.
Nor is there a response in Anthony’s blog to the rumors that recorded tapes will be used to re-create his distinctive backing vocals on the upcoming tour. Not surprisingly, Anthony also failed to make any reference to the recent reports that his name has been removed from the writing credits for the band’s 1984 LP, 1984. Some of the band’s fans first took notice of this little fact while reading the closing credits for the movie “Superbad”; Van Halen’s hit song “Panama” is used in the film, but the song is credited only to Eddie and Alex Van Halen and David Lee Roth.
According to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers database, Anthony’s name has been removed from the songwriting credits of 1984, but he’s still credited with crafting material for the band’s other studio releases.
Anthony could not be reached for comment as of press time; a representative for Van Halen had not provided comment from the band at press time.
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