Former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony wishes he had a chance to reconcile with Eddie Van Halen before the guitarist’s death. The musician shared his regrets in an interview on podcast Talkin’ Rock With Meltdown posted Jan. 8.
Anthony shared his feelings when host Meltdown asked what his relationship with the late Van Halen guitarist was like a few years before the artist’s death.
“We actually hadn’t spoken, and unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to. It kind of bothers me because we had some issues that were never resolved,” he admitted. “But what can you do? It was on the track of a reunion, which I’m really sad that it never happened. But life … the show goes on.”
The bassist, who joined the rock band in 1974 and was replaced by Van Halen’s son Wolfgang in 2006, said that the rocker hadn’t shared how sick he was. “Eddie was very private about how ill he was,” Anthony said. “We all knew he was ill, but it was a real shock to all of us.”
Van Halen died on Oct. 6, 2020, after a battle with cancer. He was 65.
While Anthony didn’t get a chance to repair his relationship with EVH, Sammy Hagar, the band’s second lead singer, revealed to Howard Stern in a statement that he and the guitarist had reconciled months before EVH’s death. “Eddie and I had been texting and it’s been a love fest since we started communicating earlier this year,” said Hagar, who joined the band in 1985. “We both agreed not to tell anyone because of all the rumors it would stir up about a reunion, etc., and we both knew that wasn’t going to happen. He also didn’t want anyone to know about his health.”
Then in December, Hagar revealed to Variety that getting in touch with EVH wasn’t an easy task, but finally managed through mutual friend George Lopez. “I was calling his brother, I was calling his manager, I was calling his friends, and I’d say, ‘Hey, tell Ed, give him my phone number. Tell him if he ever wants to talk to me, I really, really want to talk it out, help him and see what I can do,” he said. “I [told them], ‘I want to be his friend, I want to bury the hatchet,’ but they never got it done.”
When the two finally connected, Hagar said he told EVH he loved him: “And it was like, boom, we were good. It was a beautiful thing.”
Listen to Anthony’s full interview below.