Former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony says he was approached last year about the possibility of a reunion tour with the band that was supposed to take place this summer. It would have been the first time all four members of the classic David Lee Roth lineup shared a stage since 1984.
“I’m sure you know Sammy [Hagar] had made a statement [earlier in the year] saying I was offered [to do a tour with Van Halen],” Anthony told radio host Eddie Trunk on Wednesday. “And I can tell you, I spoke with [Van Halen’s manager] Irving Azoff last October — that’s when I first heard from him — and he asked if I would be interested in any kind of a reunion, and I told him, I said, ‘Yeah.’ I was finishing up a couple of shows with Sammy and I said, ‘Yeah, I’d be interested to hear what you guys have going on. I’ve got these few dates left, and give me a call.’”
A follow-up call from Azoff never came, Anthony says. “And then, right after the first of the year, David Lee Roth’s business manager or lawyer, or something, got ahold of me about a meeting or something,” he said. “And so at that point, I gave it over to our manager, because I didn’t wanna start getting in this whole thing — I wanted to do it the correct way, especially after the way things went for me in 2004. From what I’ve heard, and I haven’t spoken to any of the guys, they were gonna try to plan a thing for this summer, And for whatever reason… I was never… My people were never… They never got in touch with us about any kind of a contract or any kind of a meeting to discuss or whatever. And the next thing I knew, the plug got pulled on it.”
At one point, Anthony was so confident it might happen that he asked for the Circle – the current group he plays in with Sammy Hagar, drummer Jason Bonham and guitarist Vic Johnson – to give him time off in the summer. “The reason the Circle is taking a break right now is that if things would have worked out as they were starting to go and was planned, we would have been in pre-production rehearsals with Van Halen right now,” he told Trunk.
It’s unclear why the tour didn’t happen, though Roth did give a somewhat cryptic statement about the group earlier this month. “Plenty of music coming up,” he told the music interview website Toazted. “I’m gonna be seeing the Van Halen brothers in the next week or so. We’ll be talking what’s coming up then.”
Van Halen parted ways with Anthony at the end of their 2004 reunion tour with Hagar. Eddie brought his teenage song Wolfgang into the band on bass and he’s been there ever since, though the band has been on hiatus since the end of their 2015 summer tour. Wolfgang has been working on a solo album for many years, but there’s no word on when it might come out and what it might mean for his future in Van Halen. In typical Van Halen fashion, the group hasn’t commented on any of this.