Michael Anthony recalled Van Halen’s early cover song club days during a recent interview with Southern California radio station 95.5 KLOS FM.
“In Van Halen we would all get together at [David Lee Roth’s] house ‘cuz we would make up the flyers for some of the clubs we would play at,” Anthony told Matt Pinfield for the KLOS video series New & Appoved. “Alex [Van Halen] and I were kind of in charge of making up the flyers and printing them all out.
“I remember one of the first [covers] we did was ‘Jean Genie’ by [David] Bowie,” he continued. “We played everything from Bowie to ZZ Top. We played – I’m sure you’ve heard it in interviews in the past – The Ohio Players. All that stuff was recommended [by]…that was Roth’s idea! [laughs]. We just played everything just to get the people in and then once they were in [we] would sneak in some of the original stuff and kind of grow our original stuff from there.”
Van Halen Performing “Jean Genie”:
After Bowie passed away in 2016 Anthony revealed on Facebook that it was Bowie who inspired Van Halen to record the Kinks’ “Where Have All The Good Times Gone”. After hearing Bowie’s cover they decided to record a similar version for 1982’s ‘Diver Down’ album.
“He was a big fashion and musical inspiration to everybody on the Sunset strip including Van Halen when we were playing the Hollywood clubs in the mid to late 70s,” Anthony posted. “We even covered his version of ‘Where Have All The Good Times Gone’ live and recorded it for the ‘Diver Down’ album.”
Anthony and his band Sammy Hagar & The Circle recently covered Bowie’s “Heroes”. It’s one of ten covers the band recorded virtually during COVID-19 for their new album titled “Lockdown 2020”.
Sammy Hagar & The Circle – “Heroes”:
Below is Pinfield’s entire interview with Anthony: