Eddie Van Halen on Former Van Halen Bassist Michael Anthony: 'I Had to Show Him How to Play'

Eddie Van Halen
Peggy Sirota

Eddie Van Halen photographed by Peggy Sirota on May 29, 2015 at his home in Los Angeles.

In this week's Billboard cover story, Eddie Van Halen had some choice words for his present and former Van Halen bandmates, including David Lee Roth, Michael Anthony, and Gary Cherone.

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Van Halen summed up quite simply his relationship with Roth: "He does not want to be my friend." Not that he feels he's necessarily missing out. He added that "Roth's perception of himself is different than who he is in reality. We're not in our 20s anymore. We're in our 60s. Act like you’re 60. I stopped coloring my hair, because I know I'm not going to be young again." In the same vein, Van Halen said Roth does not like "rock music," he "likes dance music."

Of Gary Cherone, the band's temporary third singer, Van Halen realized they were on different planes. "It was a strange thing with Cherone,” he said. "We were getting ready to go on tour, and all of a sudden, I see this John Travolta outfit -- these big lapels and a crazy jacket. He’s like, 'This is my stage outfit.' That’s when I realized it wasn’t going to work. But I don’t dislike Gary at all."



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But his harshest criticisms were reserved for former bassist Michael Anthony. "I had to show him how to play," Van Halen said. Of Anthony's voice, he says, "He’s not a singer. He just has a range from hell."

"I have more soul as a singer than he does," he adds. "And you know, people always talk about Mike’s voice on Van Halen songs, but that’s a blend of Mike’s voice and my voice. It’s not just him." 

Read Eddie Van Halen's full Billboard cover story.