Valerie Bertinelli, ex-wife of Eddie Van Halen, says she admired former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony as much as anyone, but without the presence of her son Wolfgang, there would have been no reunion with David Lee Roth.
“You know, I loved Mike too,” Bertinelli says. “I thought he was a really nice guy. Still do. But the only way this tour is happening is because Eddie gets to play with his son Wolfie. Otherwise this tour wouldn’t be going on. It really wouldn’t.”
Anthony played bass with Van Halen from 1974-2003, but saw his involvement dramatically lessen in recent years. He only played on three cuts on his final full-length original project with Van Halen, 1996′s Van Halen III. When the group got back together with Roth to begin work on this year’s A Different Kind of Truth, they did so with son Wolfgang Van Halen sitting in on bass. Meanwhile, Anthony is now a member of Chickenfoot, with Sammy Hagar — who himself replaced Roth as frontman for Van Halen from 1985-96, and then again from 2003-05.
Truth is the first full-length studio recording featuring guitarist Eddie Van Halen, drummer Alex Van Halen and Roth since 1984.
“For any fans that are truly angry that Mike is not in the band anymore, well at least they get to see a version of the band — because they wouldn’t be if Mike was,” Bertinelli says, during an interview with Drew & Mike on WRIF-FM/Detroit. You’re getting to see Dave and Ed and Al play together, and I know I am a proud mom and I am a little prejudice, but my son kicks ass! I mean he is an amazing musician.”
The Different Kind of Truth album and tour, Bertinelli added, gives Eddie Van Halen a chance to reconnect not only with the music of Van Halen’s initial incarnation, but also with his son.
“This brings joy to Ed,” Bertinelli says. “That’s what he wants to do now — just have fun playing. As great as Mike is, this wouldn’t be happening if Mike was still in the band. There would be no tour, there would be no album, there would be no nothing.”
Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Chickenfoot, and Van Halen. Click through the titles for more …
VAN HALEN – A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH (2012): It’s interesting that A Different Kind of Truth doesn’t always go for the easy hook (recalling Fair Warning), something that may surprise late-arriving fans of keyboard-driven pop successes like “Jump” (and certainly the subsequent period with David Lee Roth’s successor, Sammy Hagar). Some of the material requires more than one listen to completely absorb, and Anthony’s cloud-bursting tenor is missed at times. But A Different Kind of Truth has a way of burrowing in. That’s largely thanks to the presence of Roth, of course. He’s always good for spandex-splitting laugh or two.
AFFABLE MICHAEL ANTHONY SAYS HE WON’T PURSUE ROYALTY CASE OVER NEW VAN HALEN ALBUM: When David Lee Roth confirmed that Van Halen returned to the band’s vaults in search of old pieces of music and existing lyrics for a much-anticipated new album, it brought up the question of royalties for original bassist Michael Anthony. Van Halen had a policy, back then, of crediting all four members equally for each song — meaning Anthony could potentially make a case for a cut of the cash when it comes to A Different Kind of Truth. That won’t happen, though. Anthony, who was ousted from Van Halen along with singer Sammy Hagar in advance of this reunion with original frontman Roth, says he won’t be lawyering up.
SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: VAN HALEN: A long-waited reunion with original lead singer David Lee Roth has Van Halen back in the news … and us digging through some old albums. Here’s a look back at a few favorite moments with Roth — and yes, Sammy, too — including “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “Hot for Teacher,” “Jamie’s Cryin,’” “Good Enough,” “And the Cradle will Rock” and “Ice Cream Man.” Let’s start shredding!
ON SECOND THOUGHT: VAN HALEN – A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH (2012): I stand corrected – and pleasantly surprised, too. When I went into my first listen of Van Halen’s A Different Kind of Truth, I was expecting a steaming pile of mediocrity. Instead, the album is loaded with big, crazy riffing from Eddie Van Halen. As I listen to the record, I keep coming back to one word – swagger. That could be a complete review of this album in itself. It’s something that the best work from Van Halen has always had, and something that, for me, was often missing in the post-DLR version of the band.
SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: CHICKENFOOT’S KENNY ARONOFF: When superstar drummer Kenny Aronoff — on tour now with Chickenfoot — starts recalling his sideman projects, they spill out with no rhyme or reason. He’s, almost literally, played them all. Of course, today it’s Chickenfoot, an all-star rock group featuring vocalist Sammy Hagar and bassist Michael Anthony, late of Van Halen, and sizzling guitar hero Joe Satriani. Aronoff is filling in for Chad Smith, who did the record but is now on tour with his main band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Chickenfoot announced a new U.S. tour this week, after a string of successful European stops in January. Chickenfoot is just the latest stop in a dizzyingly diverse career for one of music’s most in-demand drummers. Aronoff starts listing them off then stops himself, taking it all in: “I mean, are you fucking kidding me?”