Asked if a Van Halen tribute project will eventually happen, Michael Anthony says it’s certainly possible but giving Alex Van Halen time to heal is the priority.
During his appearance on SiriusXM’s “Trunk Nation with Eddie Trunk” this week (June 2nd), Anthony stated that he has spoken with Alex and David Lee Roth regarding a possible tribute to Eddie Van Halen but made it clear that there are no immediate plans. In fact, Anthony said a Van Halen tribute wasn’t the main topic of discussion.
“I haven’t spoken to [Dave] in a little while, but I have spoken with Alex on occasion,” said Anthony. “For the most part, we don’t even speak that much about music…..[it’s] more about just family, how we’re doing and stuff like that. I know it still pains him a lot as far as Eddie goes and will probably for the rest of his life. But I spoke with him and Dave last year about a possible something, but Dave just starts going [talking really fast] And I’m, like, ‘Okay.’ And we basically just had kind of a conference call about having a conference call to discuss it, and then that other call didn’t happen for whatever reason on their end. I told them that I’d obviously be interested. And it would be more like a celebration of the music rather than putting together something and calling it Van Halen because that just wouldn’t be right at this point.”
Anthony also responded to Roth’s recent statement to the Van Halen News Desk regarding the tribute tour rumors and that, if it were to happen, it would require two people for every position.
Anthony said: “I was kind of thinking along those lines also, but then one thing made me kind of change my mind and make me think, ‘Well, Dave’s just kind of being Dave,’ and maybe he’s just saying that it would take at least two people to be able to duplicate what one person in this band did, and the reason I thought of that was all of a sudden he brought up the name Pink. He was saying that Pink would have to be one of the David Lee Roth characters, or singers, and I’m, like, ‘Huh.’ That just sounded a little too ‘Dave’ to me.”
Asked whether the possible Van Halen tribute will be in the form of a tour or just one concert Anthony said: “What was being talked about was not actually doing a tour. You take something like this on tour and people are gonna think it’s a cash grab. I’d rather have something, like a memorial-type thing, done at a venue. And there were actually a couple of venues discussed. But do it that way instead of taking it on the road. And make it just a real celebration of the music.
“I actually would not be up for doing a tour right off the bat,” Anthony continued. “I think holding a celebration of Eddie and the music and the whole Van Halen legacy is great. And let’s face it — none of us need the money. I don’t need the money. I’d rather take the money and throw it in a charity.”
One thing Anthony made clear, however, is that nothing will happen until Alex is ready and there is no guarantee he will ever be.
“At this point, I’ve gotta tell you, I don’t know if anything will ever happen. ‘Cuz Alex is…he’s really hurting. Him and Edward were so close on all levels; musical levels and personally. It just seems to me like it might be really hard for Alex to even enter into something to bring back all those memories. I don’t know. I could be wrong. I’m the guy that always says, ‘Never say never.’
“I think it all really hinges upon Alex,” added Anthony. “And he’s gotta be the person, really, that wants to do this and give his blessing to the whole thing for it to move forward. And like I said, when we speak, we really don’t even speak about doing anything like that at this point. He’s still healing. And if it gets to that point, I’m sure Alex will be the first one that’ll wanna do something like that.”
On a positive note, Anthony said his relationship with Alex is back on solid ground. Whatever bad blood that may have flowed as a result of his departure from the band in 2006 and eventual partnership with Sammy Hagar (Chickenfoot, The Circle) is now a thing of the past.
“Not at all,” said Anthony. “I only spoke to Dave that one conversation we had last year and I couldn’t hardly get a word in edgewise, which is… that’s typical Dave. But I have spoken to Alex on occasion, and it’s great. We’ll speak for, like, 45 minutes, an hour. And probably about the first 20 minutes is Alex, sometimes he’ll vent to me a bit about all the circumstances around how everything happened with Eddie. But we basically just talk about family and we actually bring up some of the old times on the road, to lighten things up a bit.”
Listen to Anthony’s interview below (starting at 3:58):