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Sammy Hagar Says Michael Anthony Was Never Fully Appreciated in Van Halen

Sammy Hagar
Ethan Miller, Getty Images

Michael Anthony‘s backing vocals were secretly almost as important to the success of Van Halen as Eddie’s shredding, but former frontman Sammy Hagar says his bass playing skills were never fully utilized. So, in preparing to record the first Chickenfoot album, he and Anthony decided not to repeat that mistake.

“Sammy and I did make a conscious decision that, in this band, we were really going to bring that out,” Anthony says in an interview with Gold Mine Magazine. Hagar has long been his bandmate’s No. 1 fan.

“Eddie doesn’t even realize what a great bass player he had,” Hagar says in the same interview. “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.’

Hagar goes on to tell a story of a trip to Cabo Wabo in the late ’80s when the band was listening to Sammy’s previously recorded performance on a radio network. “And Ed is listening to it on the radio, and we get back and he asked me who was playing bass? He went, ‘Yeah, yeah, you guys did ‘Crossroads’ by Cream,’ and he goes, ‘Who was playing f—ing bass on that?’ I’m saying, ‘That’s your brother right over here.’

“But, he didn’t get it, you know?” While the current Van Halen lineup has mostly shied away from interviews, Hagar has been more than happen to offer his thoughts on the new album and reunion.

Chickenfoot is preparing for their Different Devil Tour that begins on May 4 in Lake Tahoe, Nev. Their second album ‘Chickenfoot III’ is on sale now.

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