Michael Anthony’s Return to Van Halen Would Have Meant Wolfgang Van Halen’s Departure

  • Axl Rosenberg

We now know with absolute certainty that the rumors were true: prior to his death last month, Eddie Van Halen was considering a “kitchen sink” tour which would have united all the various members of Van Halen from over the years. This would have included singers David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar, and Gary Cherone, as well as bassist Michael Anthony.

But a lot have fans have wondered where that would have left Eddie’s son, Wolfgang Van Halen, who replaced Anthony in 2007.

Well, according to a new interview Rolling Stone has conducted with the youngest Van Halen, he was “pretty much” ready to “retire.”

“[O]ther than maybe jumping on stage for a song or two, because Dad would be like, ‘You got to be on stage at least a couple times.’ He kept trying to pull me back in. Not that I didn’t want to be there. Playing with my father was the best thing I ever did. It was my favorite thing to do.”

Presumably, those couple of songs would have been tracks taken from 2012’s A Different Kind of Truth, the only VH album on which Wolfgang appears (not counting the cover of Balance). It’s hard for me to imagine Michael Anthony agreeing to sit out “Panama” or “Poundcake.”

Asked if he’d ever discussed his position in Van Halen with his predecessor, Wolfgang replied:

“Never had too much of an opportunity. That’s kind of what that whole tour was supposed to be. And then it never panned out. I was really looking forward to speaking with him, and that hasn’t happened yet. I’m looking forward to the opportunity that I have in the future to speak with him.”

Still, Wolfgang asserts a belief that Anthony doesn’t hold a grudge against him: “I’ve seen things he’s said. He’s always been an amazing guy.”

Elsewhere in the same interview, Wolfgang discusses the current state of his relationships with his other Van Halen bandmates: his uncle, drummer Alex Van Halen…

We talk every day, ever since Dad passed. Just checking on each other. “I love you. Call me if you need anything.” Some days are better than others. He’s just got to go through it.

…and singer David Lee Roth, with whom he says he doesn’t have much of an “ongoing relationship”:

“We’re cordial. But it was very business-related. You know, we were always cool, but we really only ever saw each other on stage.”

That last bit tracks with reports that DLR and the Van Halens disliked one another so much, their tour riders specified that their dressing rooms be as far apart from one another as the venue would allow.

You can read the entire interview with Wolfgang here.

Earlier this week, the multi-instrumentalist debuted “Distance,” his first single as a solo artist, which is dedicated to his father. You can check that out here.

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