Anthony talks to Eddie Trunk
Original Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony is still open to honor Eddie Van Halen more than two years after the guitarist’s death. The rocker called into SiriusXM’s Trunk Nation with Eddie Trunk on Wednesday (Mar 22nd) and openly discussed the idea, but says Eddie’s brother and Van Halen drummer Alex Van Halen must be involved.
“When we speak, it’s kinda funny because we don’t really speak that much about music,” Anthony says about Alex. “We speak a lot about family and what’s going on about that. The last time I talked to him, he’s still obviously, very upset and mourning his brother’s passing because they were so close. I, myself, would love to see something happen. I don’t know what incarnation it would be because one day we’re talking — there’s words come up about Roth and then not Roth and then Sammy and then, you know, whatever — so I don’t know. It’s like a big ball of spaghetti and once we unwind the whole thing we’ll see if something’s going to happen, but if something did happen and it’s done the right way to honor Ed, I’m totally in one hundred percent myself.”
Trunk tells Anthony that Eddie’s son Wolfgang says it’s Alex’s decision to spearhead a tribute.
“He is correct when he says it’s up to his Uncle Al because, you know, I wouldn’t do anything unless Alex was involved with it myself,” Anthony adds. “I guess we’ll just kinda have to wait and see. Should we get Al on the line right now? I’m just kidding,” he says laughing.
Last year, Sammy Hagar confirmed to Trunk that talks were underway to honor Eddie but they quickly fizzled. Multiple ideas were being discussed that included a variety of superstar musicians playing with Alex and Hagar, including Anthony. Trunk describes how he believes the tribute could happen so effortlessly.
“The thing I don’t understand is this, if Alex tomorrow called up the Forum and said, ‘I’m gonna do a tribute to my brother Eddie Van Halen on this date’ and said the date and booked the room and then he called you — and you already just said you’d be in — and then he called Sammy and/or Dave, because it should be both — but my point is why not just like — just like the Jeff Beck [tribute], just like the Taylor Hawkins [tribute]. If you announce something like that — you and I both know there’s not a musician on the planet who would not want to partake in that. Thing thing would book itself. All you gotta do is hire somebody to say yay or nay and who shows up, shows up, and if Roth doesn’t show up, put that on him,” Trunk states.
“Yeah, all you gotta do it put the ticket thing on the wall and every guitarist in the world would be grabbin’ a ticket to get in line for that,” Anthony reassures. “I’m sure Alex knows that. We have spoken a little bit about that — his real big concern is he doesn’t want anyone to take advantage of his brother’s legacy. He was really like serious about that. We spoke once sometime back about that. I guess it’s just gonna be when Al feels the time is right, and hopefully it’s sooner than later.”
Trunk says Alex could “alleviate all the drama” by donating all proceeds to charity and host a single night event.
“I wouldn’t accept any money for it. If it’s like donate to a charity, I have charities that I’m involved with, too, or whatever, but it should be something like that and not turn into a money grab for anybody,” Anthony adds.
During the lengthly conversation, Trunk offered his assistance to see the tribute happen.
“If you talk to [Alex] and he’s open to me helping or talking to him or just giving him my two cents, I’d do it in two seconds because I have been involved in some charity stuff before — not at that level… Sometimes I think people have so much noise coming at ’em they can’t process how to do it and it shouldn’t be that hard,” Trunk states. “I mean, you get a promoter, one guy to handle the band. That’s it. ‘Alex Van Halen Presents a Tribute to Eddie [Van Halen].’ Done. That’s all you know and you’re good to go.”
Anthony agrees, “Alex is a very soft spoken guy and if people are firing at you like that, I don’t know, maybe, maybe it drives him more into reclusing and not dealing with it. We’ll see what happens, you know. It definitely should happen.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Anthony discusses his involvement with the long-awaited Van Halen reissues of the Sammy Hagar-era. The reissue campaign kicks off on Record Store Day on April 22nd with a 4 LP set of the band’s 1992 live album, Live: Right Here Right Now, that features additional tracks not found on the initial offering.
“We’re gonna go through all the Sammy stuff and there’s other stuff that we’re going through — different recordings and stuff like that. Interestingly enough, we got [former Van Halen studio engineer] Donn Landee… he’s kinda overseeing the whole thing,” Anthony shares. “Right now, I’m just hearing about it as they’re announcing, but there is a plan of what we’re going to do. I’m obviously going to be vocal about it because I would like to have kinda hand in there, even if it’s just sonically, certain things are sounding like and what Donn’s doing. And hopefully we’ll be following up and doing Roth stuff, too. Who knows?”
Anthony also states the future releases would likely include previously unreleased studio material.
“There is movement in there and we’re digging back into stuff,” he confirms. “Obviously, there’s a lot more stuff even at Ed’s 5150 studio — a lot of that stuff. I know either Wolfie or Alex will start going through that stuff there and seeing what there is, but yeah, there’s a ton of stuff.”
Anthony also confirms he has his own archive of videos that have never been released.
“I do have videos. I used to know people that collected really quality bootleg stuff. I’ve got stacks of bootleg stuff. I’ve got shows that are almost album quality that I’ve gotten from certain people that used to dig around and find stuff for me. You know, just back in the day there was always that one sound guy who would accidentally record something — record a live show for himself (laughs), all of a sudden there it is. I’ve got a bunch of stuff like that,” he adds. “I do have some video. That’s one thing that we didn’t do a hell of a lot that we probably should’ve done was where everybody started doing behind-the-scenes stuff, studio stuff, whatever… Very early 80s or whatever, you’d play somewhere like the Capital Center in Maryland or something like that — and they would record it for us, you know, and I’ve got a few videos — live videos like that — that the house would do for you… that have never been out.”