As Tom so aptly put it, “Eddie Van Halen is a weird motherfucker,” and in Billboard’s new Eddie Van Halen cover story yesterday, Eddie Van Halen had a lot of weird shit to say. But along with such gems as the revelation that the last album he bought was Peter Gabriel’s So in 1986, he also said some not-so-flattering stuff about, well, most of his Van Halen bandmates who aren’t actually related to him. He was most critical, however, of exiled former bass player Michael Anthony, claiming that “Every note Mike ever played, I had to show him how to play. Before we’d go on tour, he’d come over with a video camera and I’d have to show him how to play all the parts,” and saying shit like “Mike’s voice is like a piccolo trumpet. But he’s not a singer. He just has a range from hell. Mike was just born with a very high voice. I have more soul as a singer than he does.”
Anthony refused to get into it with him, reportedly responding, “I am proud to say that my bass playing and vocals helped create our sound. I’ve always chosen to take the high road and stay out of the never-ending mudslinging, because I believe that it ultimately ends up hurting the Van Halen fans.”
But it looks like Sammy Hagar, on the other hand, has no compunctions about wading into the mud to defend his friend’s honor. In a new two-minute video uploaded to YouTube entitled “In Defense Of Mikey,” Hagar stands up for Anthony and tells Van Halen off for basically being an obnoxious bully:
It’s really irritating to see them go after Mikey. Mikey didn’t do anything, ever, to Van Halen. Mikey was the most loyal guy in the band, he was the first guy there at rehearsal, the last guy to leave…100-percent dedicated, never did anything to hurt those guys, and they tried to hurt him again and again and again.
In fact, according to Hagar, Van Halen was the one who messed up his playing:
For Eddie to say he had to show him what to play and had to teach him all those songs, that is the biggest line of bullshit I’ve ever heard my life. I was in that band for 11 years, there was never a video camera involved of Eddie showing [Anthony] what to play. Eddie would tell him what to play once in a while, say ‘No Mike, don’t play to that many notes, just stay on one note, so that I could fuck up and nobody would know it.’
…It was that kind of shit. Especially on the ’04 reunion tour: If Mike would have played any more than one note, it would have been showing that Eddie wasn’t playing the right chords again and again and again. I couldn’t sing to him, you couldn’t play bass to him. So that is a lot of bullshit and I don’t know why they go after [Anthony] like that. He doesn’t deserve it. He’s one of the greatest rock and roll bass players ever, in the world. Michael Anthony is top five rock and roll bass player in the world, any bass player would tell you. Any musician would tell you that.
In conclusion, Hagar sums it all up by saying, “Michael Anthony is a bad motherfucker. Fuck you Eddie Van Halen for saying that about Mikey. You’re a liar.” And as he gets up and removes his mic, you can hear him saying, “I’m pissed, man…asshole…Michael Anthony’s the greatest guy on the fuckin’ planet.”
Watch the full video below.