Sammy Hagar has come to the defense of Michael Anthony after the bassist was at the receiving end of some scathing, hurtful comments from Eddie Van Halen. In a two-minute video titled “In Defense of Mikey,” Hagar stands up for his former Van Halen (and current Chickenfoot) bandmate while also telling Eddie Van Halen, “You’re a liar.”
“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,” Hagar said of Anthony. “100 percent dedicated, never did anything to hurt those guys, and they tried to hurt him again and again and again.”
In a Billboard interview, Eddie Van Halen slammed both Anthony’s bass playing and singing abilities. “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,” Van Halen said, adding that Anthony’s background vocals were “like a piccolo trumpet.”
“For Eddie to say he had to show him what to play and then teach him all those songs, that’s the biggest line of bullshit in my life,” Hagar said. “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 awhile, 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.'”
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While Anthony himself refused to be pulled into the “never-ending mudslinging” between his former band following Van Halen’s Billboard interview, Hagar was up for the challenge. The singer next cited the band’s 2004 reunion tour – Anthony’s final trek with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band before being pushed out of the lineup – as evidence that Eddie Van Halen actually restrained Anthony’s bass playing to cover up the guitarist’s own inadequacies.
“Especially on the ’04 reunion tour: If Mike would have played any more than one note, it would have showed 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,” Hagar said. “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. Michael Anthony is top five rock and roll bass player in the world, any bass player would tell you.”
While Eddie Van Halen’s Billboard interview found the guitarist dropping disparaging remarks about Anthony, Gary Cherone and even David Lee Roth, Hagar walked away from the interview relatively unscathed. Only once does Van Halen make mention of Hagar, and that’s to question an “embellished” portion of the singer’s 2011 biography Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock that painted Eddie Van Halen as a “very angry drunk” during the group’s 2004 reunion tour.
Still, Hagar felt it necessary to defend a friend and bandmate he considers to be “the greatest guy on the fucking planet.” “Michael Anthony is a bad motherfucker. Fuck you Eddie Van Halen for saying that about Mikey. You’re a liar,” Hagar says to close out his “spontaneous” response to Eddie Van Halen’s comments, leveling one last “Asshole” against the guitarist as he unhooks his microphone.