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Eddie Van Halen Says Michael Anthony Wasn’t Fired, Bassist Refutes Claim June 4, 2009

Posted by adziesz in band, hard rock, heavy metal.
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by : russell hall and joe bosso

This story is quickly turning into a “he said, she (actually ‘he’) said” affair.

First, in a new Rolling Stone interview with David Wild, Eddie Van Halen said longtime bassist Michael Anthony left the band on his own accord.

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“The funny thing is that everyone who quits the band always claims they got fired by me,” said the legendary guitarist. “Hey, I’m not the bad guy here. When Hagar left the band, Mike went with him. Then when we get back together with Dave, and all of a sudden, he wants back in. It’s like, ‘No, dude, you quit the band.’ So my son became the bass player. But we didn’t give Mike the boot to have my son play. He was around. We didn’t have a bass player. ‘Hey Wolfie, you want to play?'”

But now Anthony is telling Musicradar.com that he “never quit Van Halen.”

“No way,” said Anthony, who is now part of supergroup Chickenfoot. “And the funny thing is, I don’t even know why the subject is coming up anymore.

Anthony elaborated on the point a little more.

“Why would I have quit Van Halen?,” he asked. “It never happened. And what’s weird is, [Eddie Van Halen] was being asked about Chickenfoot, whether he had heard us or not, and suddenly he launches into this thing about me quitting the group. What does one thing even have to do with the other?”

Anthony, who says he had to take a pay cut and sign away his rights to the Van Halen name and logo to take part in the 2004 tour the group did with Sammy Hagar, admits that he was stunned to find himself out of the band when they announced their 2007 reunion tour with singer David Lee Roth – an arena run that saw Eddie’s son, Wolfgang, on bass.

“I found out about that tour like everybody else did – in the press,” says Anthony. “I had no idea. At that point, I kind of sighed and went, ‘Whatever. If this is what Eddie wants to do, he’s going to do what he wants to do.’ If he wants me out of the band and for Wolfgang to play bass, what was I going to do about it?”

Even so, the bassist wants to make one thing clear: “I never quit. I never once said, ‘I’m out of here.’ It never happened. That’s the weird thing right now, for Eddie to be trying to paint himself as ‘not the bad guy.’

“You know, it’s weird to be talking about all of this right now,” he continued, “because I’m in such a good place with Chickenfoot. The album we made, the shows we’re doing, everything we’re all about – we’re having a blast. And the fans are digging it and they’re responding.”

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In the Rolling Stone interview, Van Halen said he’d never heard any of Chickenfoot’s music. Anthony suggested maybe he should.

“Eddie says he hasn’t heard Chickenfoot, and I believe him, because it’s true, he doesn’t really listen to anything,” says Anthony. “But instead of trying to rewrite the past and talk shit or whatever, he should see what we’re doing and go into his studio and make some music. Make music, have some fun. Don’t just talk – do!

“Ultimately, all’s well that ends well,” he says. “I just find it odd that I’m put into a situation where I’m forced to defend myself. Everything is great in my world and I couldn’t be happier with the group I’m in. But I don’t want people to think I quit Van Halen, because I didn’t. It never happened.”

Nonetheless, the Van Halen train keeps rumbling down the tracks. In the same Rolling Stone interview, Van Halen touched on a number of topics, including his newfound sobriety.

“I started drinking when I was 12 years old because I was nervous,” Van Halen said. “And my dad gave me a shot of vodka and it was a wonder drug. It really worked for a lot of years. But I certainly didn’t drink to make music or to write. It had nothing to do with it. I just get nervous. I’m nervous now. But I stopped drinking over a year ago, and I’m done with it. For 42 years, I drank. It just shows you anything is achievable.”

Asked about the group’s future, Van Halen was upbeat, indicating that his relationship with David Lee Roth was likely to yield more great work.

“It wasn’t just a reunion one-off thing,” he said. “I’ve already gone to Dave’s house four or five times over the last month. I’ve got so much music. It’s just trying to figure out what Dave’s into because we haven’t written together in a long time. But it’s great. It feels like we’ve always felt in the beginning. But I’m sober, so it’s different. He’s sober, so it’s different. It’s a wonderful feeling.”

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