Michael Anthony: “Wolfgang probably wasn’t excited, really, about being in Van Halen”

“That’s why in his band, he doesn’t play any Van Halen, ’cause he wants to carve out his own niche.”

Michael Anthony and Wolfgang Van Halen

Michael Anthony and Wolfgang Van Halen. Credit: Kayla Oaddams/Lester Cohen/Getty

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Former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony thinks his successor Wolfgang Van Halen “probably wasn’t excited” about being in the band and had ambitions to do his own thing for a while.

Anthony played in Van Halen until 2006, at which point Wolfgang took over while still a teenager. He played on what ended up being the band’s final album, 2012’s A Different Kind Of Truth, and remained with them up until the band came to an end, when Eddie Van Halen passed away from throat cancer in 2020.

The topic of Wolfgang comes up in an interview with Sally Steele in which Anthony is asked if he ever got to speak to Eddie before he died. “No, unfortunately, Eddie and I never had a chance to really settle any differences that we had in the past or whatever,” Anthony answers [as transcribed by Blabbermouth].

“But at the end of 2023 here, Wolfgang played the House Of Blues out here [in Las Vegas, with his new band Mammoth WVH] and I went to the show as his guest. And we talked, we sat and talked, and there was a lot of closure for me there. Valerie [Bertinelli, Wolfgang’s mother and Eddie’s ex-wife] was there. So it was a great night. Besides the fact that Wolf is a great guy, great musician, his band kicks ass. But, yeah. So at least we were able to do that.”

“We’ve always been friends,” Anthony continues when asked if he’s now friends with the man who “took his job” in the band. “Eddie, he wanted to play with his son. The way I kind of feel is that Wolfgang probably wasn’t excited, really, about being in Van Halen. That’s why in his band, he doesn’t play any Van Halen, ’cause he wants to carve out his own niche.

“But just to be able to get up and play with his father, I can totally understand that. But no, I love Wolfie, man. I hadn’t seen him in, like, 20 years. I went to the show, it was great. We had a great time, great hangout.”

Anthony adds that he doesn’t believe Eddie was ever priming Wolfgang to eventually take over the bass role. “He played drums. That was his first instrument that he played. And he knew a couple of chords on guitar ’cause in 2004 when we did the Van Halen reunion tour, Wolfie came out and actually strummed a couple of chords with Eddie at some of the shows. But being Eddie Van Halen’s kid, you’re gonna be a multi-instrumental person anyway.”


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