Monday, April 18, 2011

Sammy Hagar Red book review: Michael Anthony is bitter

The Foreword was written by Michael Anthony who comes off as a very bitter man.

It is interesting reading about the formation of the band from Anthony’s perspective. He writes about the early Van Halen days but does not mention David Lee Roth until he discusses his departure. Even then, he refers to him only by his last name. Anthony then moves straight into Sammy Hagar joining the band. He writes that Hagar took Van Halen “to a new level” which seems questionable. The Sammy Hagar version of Van Halen is great but Van Halen’s first album is one of the top rock albums of all time. All the other DLR Van Halen albums have great songs on them and compare favorably to any of the Van Hagar albums. Hagar is a better singer and the music did evolve with the use of more acoustic guitar and keyboards but there simply was not a “new level” to be reached after their first album. That is not a criticism of Hagar. Van Halen I was a masterpiece that could not be topped. If Hagar was in the band back then, maybe Van Halen I would have been even better but we can’t rewrite history and that seems farfetched anyway.

Anthony then moves on to his departure from the band. Prior to their final tour with Sammy Hagar on vocals, he “signed away pretty much any future rights to” anything Van Halen to participate. He wanted to be on the tour really badly and gave up a lot to do it. On the other hand, he had plenty of money and most experts regard Anthony as a plodding, predictable, mediocre bass player. Also, we find out later, Anthony did no songwriting and Eddie Van Halen told him what to play, as well. He doesn’t say this but Anthony may have felt like he earned enough for doing what many other bass players could have done.

Also, be sure to check out what I learned from Sammy's tell all book.


  1. Plodding, predictable, mediocre.....Experts??? Come on! Sure he's no Vic Wooten, but it's not about the playing exactly. It's the whole package. He was in Van Halen! They made history, remember? Hell, BB King doesn't fly all over the neck either, but is considered one of the Kings of blues.

    Mike seems to me to be the kind of guy that avoids the pettiness and just wants to play, wherever and whenever..........

    Besides, I don't think Ed would allow any other virtuoso types in the lineup - ya know? Kind of like when Sam was in Montrose. Ronnie would not allow (in Sammy's words) "...another guitar player in the same building, let alone the same band."

    It was real low the way they treared him. Of all ppl he has a right to be bitter. I really don't think he's that bitter anyways. He's rich, and working with Sam and Satch.

  2. In the book, Sammy Hagar says that Anthony didn't write any songs and that EVH told him what to play. Furthermore, he was replaced by a 16 year old child with no experience.

    Yes, he was mediocre at best who scored big time by meeting up with the greatest guitarist of his generation.

  3. I think Michael Anthony was paid very well for his services. I am a guitarist and have all their music Van Halen listed him as a writer on all their music. Sammy was good in the band but he sounds like an old women with his gossip. Damn it Sammy, take the high road!

    1. Sammy and Mike are great friends to this day so, while there is plenty of BS in the book, this one rings true. Also, many bands have given the entire band credit for song writing. The Doors are a good example. In Van Halen, the primary songwriters were DLR/Sammy and EVH.