Music News

Original Van Halen Bassist Michael Anthony Is 57 Today!

You're standing in the '80s rock concert parking lot of proverb. To your left, a black Pontiac Trans-Am rocks gently back and forth to the horrifyingly gentle rhythm of date rape taking place within its T-topped bowels. To your right, your buddy finishes his Schlitz, crushes the can on his forehead, and poses the following question: 

"Which member of Van Halen would you wanna party with most, bro?" followed by a massive belch and the "crack-ahhhhh" opening of another frosty brew. 

I'll bet my original copy of 1984 and a case of Aquanet that you didn't answer Michael Anthony; however, in honor of the man's 57th birthday, I'm going to tell you why you should have. 

1) Michael Anthony is the most underrated member of the original Van Halen lineup! His rock-solid bass playing is what kept the Van Halen ship afloat when captain Eddie was busy putting the ED in shred, and those super-specific backup vocals we all know and love from classic songs like "Jamie's Cryin'" depend almost entirely on his high harmony, one of the reasons he was brought onboard in the first place.

2) He has awesome toys. Michael collects one-off hot rods and speed boats and is now a partner in car accessory company Bonspeed. The only thing David Lee Roth could drive is women crazy... 25 years ago.

3) He loves to eat hot food and, more important, hot sauce and has an award-winning line of sauces out under the name Mad Anthony's. I've personally tried it, and I have to say, it blows Joe Perry of Aerosmith's Boneyard Brew away. His catch phrasing is better as well, including the gem "So hot, you'll need two assholes."

4) He's sponsored by Jack Daniels. Literally.

5) The guy is a class act, especially relative to the way his former bandmates conduct business. He has stayed away from the trappings of the bullshit-infused drama circus that has become Van Halen and took being replaced by Eddie's 16-year-old son on recent tours like a champ. Rather than sling mud, he simply promotes his own ventures and continues doing what he does best: keeping a low profile and enjoying his life as a former member of one of the world's biggest bands. It doesn't hurt that his current band, Chickenfoot, featuring Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, and Chad Smith, has a major deal with Best Buy and sells albums on the supergroup title alone. 

So when you inevitably hear one of the two Van Halen songs Big 105.9 FM is going to play close to 20 times today, think of Mike and turn up the bass in honor of his birthday, and if you find the time, have yourself some Mexican food and a shot of Jack.

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David Von Bader