Though he was in Chickenfoot by the time his old band reunited for 2012′s A Different Kind of Truth, Michael Anthony has seen almost all of Van Halen’s dizzying highs — and the awful lows. He was there when the band was founded around David Lee Roth, and there when Van Halen reached its commercial zenith with Sammy Hagar.
So which albums are his favorites? Anthony, speaking with Metal Exiles, chose one from each era.
“Fair Warning was my favorite from the David Lee era,” Anthony says. “I just thought it was a great rock album. With Sammy, it was For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge. We got to work with [producer] Andy Johns, and he wanted my bass big and beefy. He was fun to work with.”
1981′s Fair Warning was home to the fan favorite “Unchained” (“one break … coming up!”), while Unlawful — which arrived a decade later — debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard album charts and featured the hits “Poundcake,” “Right Now” and “Top of the World.”
As for the legendary excesses associated with his time in Van Halen, Anthony is quick to point out that they always paid close attention to their craft when it came to the songs.
“Obviously, what the fans saw and what the public saw is, like what you said, the excesses, but the music was always No. 1,” Anthony adds. “When we were in the studio working stuff out, and even when we were on stage, the music was a priority. You can only go with the excesses to a certain point; it wasn’t always the Jack Daniels bottle. We weren’t just a bunch of sloppy musicians on stage drinking; we would critique every show.”
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