The bassist for Van Halen may not have received as much media coverage as his fellow bandmates, but Michael Anthony’s enduring stamp on Van Halen’s sound cannot be denied. Aside from Eddie and Alex, Michael Anthony is the only other bandmate to appear on all Van Halen studio albums. But how did this humble bassist and backup vocalist find himself among some of the most prolific artists of all time? We’ve got the rundown for ya!
Born on June 20, 1954, in Chicago, young Michael entered the world of music as a trumpet player. When his family moved to California, he was soon introduced to the world of rock ‘n’ roll. Bands like Blue Cheer and Cream inspired him to put down the trumpet and pick up electric bass. While attending Pasadena City College, he met future bandmate Eddie Van Halen. At the time, Michael was the bassist and lead vocalist for Snake, while Eddie and his brother Alex were involved in a group called Mammoth. When Mammoth needed a new bass player, Michael answered the call. With the addition of David Lee Roth on vocals, Van Halen was born!
The quartet spent a short time playing on the Sunset strip before Warner Bros. offered them a record deal, catapulting them to the top of the hard rock scene. Anthony’s subdued bass lines and vocal harmonies laid the foundation for the more extravagant and flashy performing from the other members of the band. When David Lee Roth left Van Halen in 1985, he was replaced with our good pal, Sammy Hagar! Sammy and Mikey must’ve really hit things off, because even as their involvement in Van Halen diminished, the two would continue to collaborate together. They’ve played in several other bands together, including Los Tres Gusanos (The Three Worms), supergroup Chickenfoot, and now their latest venture, The Circle!
The bassist has had his fingers in a lot of different pies throughout his career, so we’ve collected some of our personal Michael Anthony favorites!
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