FireTalkers: Interview with Mike Greening of Mike and Diane’s Gourmet Kitchen
Scott Roberts, Sept 5th 2009
Mike and Diane’s Gourmet Kitchen is the company works with Michael Anthony to create his award-winning Mad Anthony hot sauces, BBQ sauces, and mustard. Below is the Michael Anthony portion of the interview.
Scott: Since I used to be a hardcore Van Halen fan, I have to ask you a few [ex-Van Halen, and current Chickenfoot bassist] Michael Anthony questions. How did you hook up with him to make his Mad Anthony sauces?
Mike Greening: Long story. I will try to keep it short.
I had heard for years that he had [our company’s logo] Ring of Fire tattoo but until I’ve actually seen it, I don’t believe it. Several years ago some friends of ours were going to a music trade show that Michael Anthony was going to be signing autographs at. They asked me if I wanted them to check out his tattoos. I gave them a few bottles to take with them (just in case) and they did. Low and behold, he did have our chileman tattooed on his left forearm. They took a picture of him holding a bottle of sauce next to his tattoo for me to have proof. On a whim, I e-mailed his website and said that if he ever wanted to do his own hot sauce to give me a call. I never even thought he would see the e-mail, let alone respond to it. On the very next day, he called me and said “Hell, yeah, lets do it.” The rest is pretty much history.
Mike: At the onset with Michael, I told him that if he was looking to slap his face on a bottle of hot sauce just to make money on it, I was the wrong guy to work with. My only concern was to make a superior quality product, regardless of how much it sells. He was in total agreement. He wanted a product that he would be proud to have his name on and it wasn’t about making money.
With that part out of the way, I would come up with a type of base for a sauce, a background if you will, and send it to him and see what he thinks. From there, we go back and forth adding things to it until we get a sauce that we are both happy with. He usually only has two requests for the sauce. “HOTTER! And more garlic.” Once we get the garlic where we want it, he just says “HOTTER!”. The man can eat some seriously hot foods. He can down a half a bottle of his XXXHot at a sitting, without it even phasing him. Me, one taste of that sauce and I’m done. This is how we pretty much did all of his sauces.
Scott: Were you a big Van Halen fan before you and Michael collaborated? What do you think of the new Chickenfoot album?
Mike: To be honest, I wasn’t much of a Van Halen fan at all. My wife Diane still has their first two albums. (yes vinyl albums). I liked their music but never thought about it much, except for the Hot For Teacher video. That was hot.
I really do like the new Chickenfoot CD. I actually bought a copy of it because I didn’t want to wait for Michael to send me one. I am also extremely happy for Michael because he is having so much fun with the new band and they are all having a blast playing the concerts. For them, this was about making music and having fun and they really are.
View Scott Robert’s recent review of Mad Anthony’s XXXTRA HOT Private Reserve Hot Sauce.
View all Mad Anthony sauces at Van Halen Store.