Michael Anthony interview with Best of WNY

From Best of WNY.com:

Interview: Michael Anthony of Chickenfoot

TROUBLE IN THE HENHOUSE…..The wait is finally over for the highly anticipated debut release of CHICKENFOOT.

The Ego friendly group of veteran musicians just finished up the Club Circuit “Road Test” tour to rave reviews as they prepare to take the show on the road over seas through mid-July.

The Rock Rapport had the great fortune to witness the band strut their stuff first hand at the MOD CLUB in Toronto over Memorial Day weekend as they smoked the packed house to perfection with a high energy two hour set.

With really nothing to gain as they’ve all cemented their careers long before this venture, the Happy half of VAN HALEN, HAGAR & ANTHONY, along with CHILI PEPPERS’ drummer CHAD SMITH & guitar virtuoso JOE SATRIANI played with a sense of pride and purpose showcasing their new tunes.

With over four decades under his belt at the age of 61 HAGAR continues to defy nature with his throat thrashing vocals.

The rhythm section of SMITH & ANTHONY were absolutely bombastic from the first song of the set, pulverizing the album’s first track “Avenida Revolution”.

As for JOE SATRIANI, the unassuming original guitar hero let his fingers do the talking. Grinning the entire set, SATCH was in a zone as he clearly thrived in his new band setting, savoring every note of the new material he helped hatch.

Make no bones about it CHICKENFOOT is all about a group of supreme musicians who’ve been bringing it to the music masses for decades gathering together & spicing up the original Rock ‘n’ Roll Recipe.

The band has just announced the 1st leg of its North American Summer Tour with a couple of stops in nearby Toronto, Cleveland and Pittsburgh beginning in August.

Check out www.chickenfoot.us for dates & ticket information as they take their debut record on the road performing songs from their smokin’ new disc, including a couple of summertime scorchers “Sexy Little Thing” & “Oh Yeah”.

The Rock Rapport had the chance to chat with CHICKENFOOT’S Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame bassist MICHAEL ANTHONY enroute to their gig in Toronto.

Ross CAT – Good morning MIKE great to speak with you again. We really appreciate you taking time out for the Rock Rapport in the middle of the CHICKENFOOT “Road Test” tour.

MICHAEL –Hey Ross before we get started I have a quick question for you.

Ross CAT – Sure shoot.

MICHAEL- You didn’t just get finished talking to CHAD did you?

Ross CAT – No why?

MICHAEL –Good, I’ve I had to follow CHAD on a few interviews today & had to clean up that boys mess every time.

Ross CAT – That’s a perfect segue to one of my first questions, whose going to wind up in the insane asylum after this tour?

MICHAEL –Sounds like you’ve had some interaction with the rest of my bandmates;, it’s a little too early in the tour to tell but I’m putting my money on CHAD.

Ross CAT – As you said it’s early in the tour so I think we should wait and see who’s in the straight jacket by the end of the summer.

MICHAEL – Now that you mention it SATRIANI may end up losing his marbles having to be on the road with the three of us before it’s all said and done.

Ross CAT – Excellent point, lets dive into the new record. Congratulations on the success of this unparalled project thus far; considering it’s only in its embryonic stages do you feel the band is just scratching the surface with this first album?

MICHAEL –Thanks so much and yes I do. This truly is a band in every sense of the word, I know the term “Supergroup” has been bantered around but to me I think that’s a misrepresentation of what we’re all about this isn’t a manufactured one off venture.

We got together as a group of friends to jam for the love of music, the entire process has been organic from the very beginning.

CHAD, SAMMY and I have played together on numerous occasions down in CABO at the Cantina. JOE got sucked into the mix in February 2008 on Super Bowl weekend when SAMMY was playing in Vegas.

We decided to do something a little different for the encore so we got together and played a couple of Rock standards I think it was “Dear Mr. Fantasy” from TRAFFIC and ZEPPELIN’S “Rock ‘n’ Roll”. That was the very first time we had ever taken the stage collectively in front of an audience and the place just absolutely erupted.

Ross CAT – I wanted to touch on the fact that you and SAMMY waited for the proper vehicle before recording any new material. While you’ve played together on various projects since your final departure from VAN HALEN following the 2004 tour you haven’t released any new music until CHICKENFOOT.

Without question you & SAMMY share a rare & distinct vocal chemistry; do you feel the CHICKENFOOT lineup takes any VAN HALEN comparisons out of the equation by assembling a group of established musicians like CHAD & SATCH?

MICHAEL –I really do. It wasn’t like we reacted to what anyone else was saying or doing, it’s just a group of gifted musicians getting together and doing what they love to do. It just so happens that those jam sessions lead us to some creative common ground.

We’re extremely proud of what we’ve done in our pasts musically but for the initial stages of the tour we are consciously staying away from doing any VAN HALEN, CHILI PEPPERS or anything from SATCH’S amazing solo catalog.

This project is all about a new band presenting new songs; what makes it even more exciting is the prospect of playing them live for the fans.

On this little Club Circuit tour, we’ve been tearing through the entire album along with the bonus track “Bitten by the Wolf”.

For the encore we’ve been kicking around a couple of oldies that we thought people might like to hear, “Highway Star” by DEEP PURPLE and “Bad Motor Scooter”. While the latter is a tune SAMMY wrote with MONTROSE it’s the perfect song for him to strap on the guitar and slug it out a little with SATCH on stage, it’s been an absolute riot.

Ross CAT – For SAMMY and you working together is like cracking open a bottle of JD or CABO WABO, almost second nature.

What differences have you recognized in SAMMY as a singer/songwriter in this collaborative coop called CHICKEN.

MICHAEL –Working with SAM for as long as I have and playing with his band the WABORITA’S that music comes from a different place. His music with the WABO’S is about a South of the Border life style, a party vibe so to speak.

There’s a time and place for that type of music; the past year or so we’ve had discussions about wanting to get back to the Roots of Rock and CHICKENFOOT presented us with that opportunity.

I really dig the lyrics that SAMMY wrote on this record its some of the best songs he’s written in a long time, for instance the song “Learning To Fall” you can tell SAMMY’S really digging deep. JOE came in with the music for that song and SAMMY just ran with the lyrics.

Trust me when I tell you that SAMMY is taking this project very seriously, I can tell because you know how long it’s been since I’ve seen that guy put on a pair of long pants for anything.

Ross CAT – Speaking of digging deep, one of the many stand out contributions to the record is the return of your hulking harmonies that have been sorely missed. How did it feel to let loose vocally again on this new collection of songs?

MICHAEL –Thanks man, its one of the things that I really miss about my time with VAN HALEN. Even when GARY CHERONE stepped into the band I barely did any background vocals at all on that record and there are some really solid songs that got overlooked.

SAMMY and I made a conscious effort to bring the harmonies to the forefront with CHICKENFOOT. We’re well aware that we have a very strong identity between our voices from our days in VAN HALEN and we’re having a blast tapping into that again.

Ross CAT – Lets talk about SATCH, he’s had numerous opportunities over his illustrious solo career to join other groups including replacing RITCHIE BLACKMORE in DEEP PURPLE, what finally swayed him into making a commitment to CHICKENFOOT?

MICHAEL –Let’s put it this way would you rather join a band and have to play RITCHIE BLACKMORE songs or would you want to be in a band with free artistic reign as a guitarist.

I really think JOE is having a great time with this despite the pressure that this project brings being a revolutionary instrumentalist.

I think the VAN HALEN fans that are going to come to these shows will witness & come to appreciate a unique kind of playing style from JOE SATRIANI.

Ross CAT – Lets touch on CHAD SMITH who’s been the pulse of the RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS since 1988.

Who would have ever guessed that the RED ROCKER & MICHAEL ANTHONY would take a back seat on the crazy train in any band?

MICHAEL –Ah yes Mr. SMITH is quite the character. This man is just a kick ass in your face Detroit Rocker from way back. He brings that CHILI PEPPER funk to the party; as a bass player looking back at him smilin’ like a crazy man just fires me up even more on stage.

CHAD & SATCH are two weapons that aren’t so secret in the CHICKENFOOT arsenal, they’re just gonna blow people away on the tour this summer.

Ross CAT – Legendary producer ANDY JOHNS is behind the glass for the debut CHICKENFOOT record.

Was he a natural choice having worked with him on the VAN HALEN “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” album; not to mention his background working with heavyweight Rockers the likes of LED ZEPPELIN & the ROLLING STONES?

MICHAEL –Man I love that guy to death, I had such a great time personally and professionally on that VAN HALEN record; I’m probably a little biased because he’s a bass guy too.

He’s a great hands on type of producer; ANDY’S not afraid to mix it up inside the recording session, he’s in the thick of things getting his hands dirty, he’s literally the fifth member of the band.

We couldn’t be happier with how the songs all turned out; I think he really captured what we were striving for musically as a group. He had his hands full but at the end of the day he roped us in when he thought we may have taken something a little too far. He has a knack for knowing when a song has peaked and when it’s time to walk away.

Ross CAT – Reports from the “Road Test” tour have SAMMY saying ANDY was hospitalized not too long after the record was done, what the Hell did you guys do to the poor guy?

MICHAEL –Well we’d like to think that it wasn’t us but who’s to say. ANDY had an ulcer situation which really didn’t come out until he had to work with JOE. As it stands ANDY is doin just fine and SATCH is the one who put him in the hospital that’s what where goin with in the CHICKENFOOT camp.

Ross CAT – Poor JOE, he’s the low key down to earth kinda guy, how’s he surviving all the CHICKENFOOT chaos so far?

MICHAEL – You know what they say about the quiet ones. We’re trying top keep JOE away from all the bad influences like the CABO WABO Tequila, you just never know he might be a ticking time bomb waiting to explode.

Due to overwhelming demand the debut release date was pushed up by four days, the “Foot” dropped this past Friday globally, highlighted with a Best Buy in store appearance by the band in Los Angeles.

The Rock Rapport as always would like to Thank our friend Jessica Erskine from Rogers & Cowan.

Special shout out to Gus Griesinger from www.backstageaxxcess.com for the live shots from the MOD CLUB show in Toronto.

  • ace5150

    Mikey’s always a class act.

    He deserves the success that he’s having with CF.

  • el c

    30 years down the road the guy IS a class act, has not changed, straight up, genuine and cares about the fans.
    He is too good a guy too be hanging around the circus that is the ‘rehash and junior band’ up at 5150.

  • Big AL

    ass5150,

    I love how on other postings you whine about Ed being BITTER and to let the past go, yet when Mike brings up how he didn’t get to sing that much on a album 10years ago(bringing up the past and sounding bitter) He’s a class act!!

    Come on and just admitt it: YOU’RE NOT A VAN HALEN FAN AT ALL!!!!!! Probable why YOU’RE so BITTER!!!!

  • Scottso

    Of all the members of Van Halen, past and present, who’s the guy you’d want to meet and hang out with?

    Right, MICHAEL ANTHONY!

  • K. Reyoch

    Mikey is a testament to the fact that class + endurance gets rewarded.

    Mike, the music is fantastic. Can’t wait to see CF live. It was fun seeing you guys on Conan. Keep the music coming. Don’t ever stop having fun. I’m hoping this first album is only the gateway album. I’m addicted. Keep supplying more.

  • KO

    Gotta love the foot!!!
    Eddie who? Listen to Satriani on this album and tell me Eddie could pull that off today. No way. I am a big VH fan (hard as that is with Ed loosing his mind 10 years ago)and still cannot fathom Ed playing to Joe’s current caliber. Lets hope Chickenfoot inspires Eddie to get off his ass, loose the sustainer and write!
    Go Chickenfoot!

  • http://None Ducky / Dirty Duck

    Not me…

    I’d want to meet eddie and dave.

  • ROB5150

    Mike and Sam do not lose the occasion to criticize Eddie!
    Have your new band, and then left in peace Ed and Al!
    I don’t care about Chikenfoot

  • pete

    i cant blame mike for criticizing VH3.he was clearly being pushed out at that time and that album could have been so much more if eddie wasnt so hell bent on being in charge.i like chickenfoot and am getting tired of going to stores just to find that they are sold out.

  • Jeremy

    Mike’s a class act because he is period!

    Eddie has brought the drama onto Van Halen 150%!

    #4 CD in America right now and Mike tears it up!

    Good for Mike and Chickenfoot!

  • Rich

    Exactly, the only thing Mike is saying here is that he missed the background harmony days of Van Halen – that doesn’t sound bitter, it sounds like someone fondly recollecting events from their past!

    The truth is in these kind of interviews, Ed seems to talk less about himself and how everyone else quit and how its everyone elses fault and hes just a simple man with a simple band. That previous interview he did was commented on so much for sounding bullshitty.

    Mike doesn’t do that – the only thing he’s said here was that Van Halen III did not let him express the harmonies that he had on previous albums, which is true! Ed wanted to sing more on this album (respectively, take nothing away from that, “How Many Say I” isn’t actually too bad) but that meant that Mike had to take a back seat, as well as not even playing bass on half the album. So you can tell he’s stoked to actually be one of the guys in this band, he has his own corner, no egos to battle with, just a fun time.

    Jeez, every interview Mike does is either praised or rejected by others saying how wrong he is and how Eddie is so right about everything. Honestly, just read the interviews and make up your mind, rather than claiming Ed is so fantastic – Ed isn’t even mentioned here.

  • Mike

    I am first and Foremost a VH – Strictly Dave-Era fan to the core and couldn’t really give a care less about the Sammy-era stuff……To me, it’s Sammy Hagar with a better band……Having Said that, This is the BEST Sammy Hagar band that I have ever heard, including Montrose. The album is awesome and would be a shame if it was a one-off. My only question……what happens to the peppers?????

  • ROB5150

    Somethig happen between Mike and Ed I think around 1996, in an interview some years ago Mike claims that he didn’t like that Dave come back. I remeber that at the time of the split between Dave an VH, Eddie told that Dave tried to convince him to fire Mike in favour of Billy Sheehan (it was around 1981-1982 when Talas were opening act for VH tours), and Ed at the end didn’t make this for his friendship with Mike.
    I have to say also that the bass lines, at least until FUCK album, didn’t have a big impact on the sound of VH, maybe Andy Johns is the producer ideal for Mike’s job;howewer we are talking about an average bass player,certainly not a virtuous like Sheehan or Stu Hamm (2 names at random). If instead of his son Ed hired for example Matt Bisonnette, nobody would have talked so much about “the drama of the bass player”

  • http://vhnewsdesk lee magee

    lucky billy sheehan wasnt hired he would have shown eddie up big time with his flashy bass playing far more technical than eddie thats why eddie will always have an average bass player including his son so the guitar sound takes centre stage the only guy ever to sound good and compete with billy is steve via and eddie is no steve via or satriani for that matter and never will be period.

  • Rubbing Wit Da Debbol

    Big AL, you’re seriously clutching at straws with that comment.

  • CDC5150

    its nice to hear Mike’s voice and bass again.
    GO FOOT!!!!!

  • ace5150

    Hey big al, who the hell are you to judge me?

    I have loved VH through the DLR years, the Sammy years, and even gave Cherone a chance. I personally thought Gary should have been given a shot for one more album.

    I am not just a one trick pony like you who thinks only the Dave years count.

    I love VH but I don’t have to like what Ed has done to MY favorite band and what he has done to good people in this band.

    He might be a Guitar God but that doesn’t make him God!!

  • http://Michaelwestgate1@yahoo.com wtf !!!

    Glad these guys are having a good time doing there thing . From what I have heard there are maybe a couple songs that could have made it on Balance other than that I am just not hearing it . This Album couldnt touch a thing from Van Halens first album thru Fuck ! As far as all the Eddi bashing goes or to say he cant compete with satch or vai , well your fuckd up . Van Halen will be out with another album that will absolutley kick the fucking shit out of this album in all facets !!! You will be listening to it sometime next summer !!! Eds getting married and is definetly going to give his son a push !!!

  • Z-man

    Mikey…Your Awesome!!!! Chickenfoot Rules!!
    ED is so fricking whacked he doesn’t even know what the truth is anymore.

  • 5150j-man

    You guys have it all wrong. What happened To sammy and Dave after they left Van Halen. They fell off the face of the planet. People listen to van halen for Ed. They go see Van Halen for Ed. this tour was their biggest because no one cared that mikey was gone(I love him to death though)They wanted to See Ed play the Freakin guitar.