Wolfgang Van Halen Was Ready for Michael Anthony’s Return

Wolfgang Van Halen said he’d been ready for Michael Anthony’s return to Van Halen, even though it would have meant giving up his position in the band.

Bassist Anthony was fired in 2006 and replaced by Eddie’s son, who was 15 at the time. Despite rumors of bad blood as a result of the lineup change, Anthony was all set to take part in a reunion – until it was canceled amid the health issues that finally ended Eddie’s life last month.

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Wolfgang was asked if he’s ever had a “personal conversation” with Anthony about taking his place.

“Never had too much of an opportunity,” he said. “That’s kind of what that whole tour was supposed to be. And then it never panned out. I was really looking forward to speaking with him, and that hasn’t happened yet. I’m looking forward to the opportunity that I have in the future to speak to him.”

Asked if there were maybe “hard feelings” about the lineup change, Wolfgang said: “I don’t think there are. I’ve seen things he’s said. He’s always been an amazing guy.”

Van Halen agreed with the assessment that he was ready to “sort of retire” to make way for Anthony, “other than maybe jumping onstage for a song or two.” “Dad would be like, ‘You got to be onstage at least a couple of times,'” Wolfgang said. “He kept trying to pull me back in. Not that I didn’t want to be there. Playing with my father was the best thing I ever did. It was my favorite thing to do.”

Elsewhere in the interview, he was asked about his relationship with singer David Lee Roth. “We’re cordial,” he explained. “But it was very business-related. You know, we were always cool, but we really only ever saw each other onstage.”

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25 Massive Rock + Metal Bands Ranked by Spotify Monthly Listeners

Streaming continues to be a growing trend in music listenership and Spotify continues its reign as a streaming giant. Loudwire contributor Ryan J. Downey has compiled a list of over 550 rock, metal, punk and hardcore artists and their monthly streaming numbers via his Stream N’ Destroy newsletter. Below we count down the Top 25 and share their monthly streaming listenership on Spotify.

There are certain bands you expect to be there. It should come as no surprise that AC/DC rank near the top, especially given the recent anticipation for their Power Up. Likewise, the 20th anniversary of Linkin Park‘s Hybrid Theory rallied a rush of nostalgia for the hugely influential band over the course of 2020.

Meanwhile acts like Queen and Guns N’ Roses both made the Top 10 for Spotify monthly listeners, showing that fans have followed them to streaming and continued to embrace their music there even without major 2020 plans. As intriguing as that may be, there are a few acts you might expect to be in the Top 25 overall who just missed the cut.

To see the full list of over 550 acts and their monthly Spotify streaming listenership, you can subscribe to Downey’s Stream N’ Destroy newsletter here. It’s full of hard rock and metal industry news. And also be sure to check out Downey’s Speak N’ Destroy podcast at this location.

Top 25 Rock + Metal Bands Based on Spotify Monthly Listeners 

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Van Halen Had Considered ‘Kitchen Sink’ Tour With Roth + Hagar

Van Halen‘s history with their frontmen has been well documented, but despite past disputes there had been an idea to construct what Wolfgang Van Halen described as “a kitchen sink tour” with longtime frontmen David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar.

During an appearance on SiriusXM’s Howard Stern Show, Wolfgang revealed to the host that his father Eddie Van Halen had considered an all-encompassing tour that would have included both singers, had the return of bassist Michael Anthony and there was even talk of bringing back the band’s third lead singer, Gary Cherone.

“If only things had been better, it would have been amazing,” said the Van Halen bassist. But, Eddie’s health setbacks kept the tour from ever taking place.

Shortly after Eddie Van Halen’s death, band manager Irving Azoff confirmed that the oft-rumored Van Halen tour of 2019 was expected to include the return of Anthony to the band. Sammy Hagar also revealed that he had reconnected with Eddie Van Halen before his death.

Eddie’s son also revealed to Stern that the guitarist had “a shit-ton of tapes” of unreleased material, but that it would take some time to sort through to see if there is any material worth releasing. He added, “That’s not the priority right now. I can’t put a timeline on it. There will be a time we go through it. Not for the foreseeable future.”

Wolfgang Van Halen appeared on Stern’s program to reveal the new song “Distance” from his upcoming Mammoth WVH solo project. The song came with a video that is sure to elicit more than a few tears as it serves as a tribute to the relationship between father and son. Proceeds from the song will go to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, which helps fund music programs in schools.

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Van Halen Discussed Anthony, Hagar and Roth ‘Kitchen Sink’ Tour

Wolfgang Van Halen said a Van Halen tour proposed for summer 2019 was to include not only Michael Anthony – which had been reported – but also former singers Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone.

During an interview on The Howard Stern Show, Wolfgang revealed discussions started in 2015, when he began work on his solo album. He approached his father, Eddie Van Halen, with an idea he had: “I would be like, ‘Hey, Dad, you know what would be cool … is if I opened for you guys, and we had Mike come back.'”

Eddie initially insisted his son remain in the band, with Wolfgang eventually thinking he could sit in on one or two songs from A Different Kind of Truth. “But as time went on, he warmed up to the idea,” Wolfgang explained. “I got him excited about it. And at a certain point it turned into what we joked as the Kitchen Sink tour. ‘Cause after he was okay with that arrangement, it was like, ‘Fuck, let’s get Dave [Lee Roth] and Hagar and even Cherone, and let’s just do a giant fucking awesome thing.'”

They ran it past manager Irving Azoff, who began to get the ball rolling. Shortly before Christmas 2018, Roth revealed that a tour featuring what he called “the original thing” was being planned for the next summer. A few weeks later, Anthony denied he’d been in contact with anybody; by February, he admitted he had spoken to the band the previous October but “something broke down on their end.”

Before the news could be announced, Eddie’s health began to decline. It started with the discovery of a brain tumor following a motorcycle accident in early 2019. A procedure called Gamma Knife radiosurgery seemed to have taken, but then “shit just kept on stacking up and stacking up,” Wolfgang said. “It just never let up,” and the Stage 4 lung cancer Eddie was diagnosed with at the end of 2017 began to get worse, and the tour was canceled.

Wolfgang wanted to let fans that the tour “was real, and we were so excited about it. All of us. It just didn’t pan out, unfortunately. It would have been insane.”

The multi-instrumentalist, who debuted his new single “Distance” on Stern’s show, addressed rumors regarding a new version of Van Halen, featuring himself on guitar and Anthony on bass. He said the talk was the work of “desperate fans. … That’s fucking stupid. You can’t have Van Halen without Eddie Van Halen, because I’m not Dad. I’m not going to replace him, you know? I’ve spent my life making sure I’m not like him. I’m my own person. And my dad, again, he’d be pissed off. He’d be, like, ‘What the fuck are you doing? Go do your shit.'”

Wolfgang did understand that fans just “want to see the music continue. But some things just suck, and this is one of those things. … So, my opinion [is that] outside of maybe a tribute show at some point down the line and archival releases further down the line, it’s done.

“I don’t have a dad anymore,” he added. “And I’m coming to terms with that, and I’m trying to deal with that, so I think the fans are gonna have to try and come to terms with [it] and figure out how to deal with the fact that we’re not gonna have Van Halen anymore. The music is gonna live on forever, but you can’t continue without Eddie Van Halen.”

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Angus Young: Eddie Van Halen Had a ‘Very Tight Bond’ With Malcolm

Angus Young remembered the friendship his brother Malcolm had with Eddie Van Halen.

The guitarist tells us that they bonded when AC/DC and Van Halen played some Monsters of Rock concerts across Europe. Although Angus and Eddie spent some time together on the trek, Malcolm was the one who became closer to Eddie.

“He liked hanging out, especially with Mal, because they could go out afterwards, to a bar or somewhere,” Angus says. “Or he’d go out with Brian and play a dart game. To me he was just full of life.”

Because of their busy schedules, for years AC/DC and Van Halen kept missing each other out when they were out on the road, even when they shard a shared a bill.

“In the ’70s even, I remember doing a Bill Graham show and they were on that with us, but we never met then because we were in and out and they were in and out,” Young recalls. “At that time, we were crisscrossing across the globe and the U.S. When you finished one gig, you were wrapped up and off to the next.”

It wasn’t until both bands co-headlined the Monsters of Rock event at Donington Park in England on Aug. 18, 1984 that they finally got to meet. Van Halen finished its set and, as Young sat backstage tuning his guitar, Eddie burst in Young’s trailer thrilled to meet the band.

“He was just happy to see me,” Young remembers. “He gave me a big hug, all excited, and the one thing I remember is that he had this big smile from ear to ear, this big grin.”

“He talked a lot,” Young adds with a chuckle. “Faster than how I talk. He was just excited we were on the same shows.”

The last time the two saw each other was when AC/DC played San Bernardino, Calif., on Sept. 16, 2000, as part of the tour in support of Stiff Upper Lip. Eddie came to the show with that grin Young remembered so well.

“He was the exact same as when I’d last seen him,” he says. “Big smile, big hug, very happy to see me, super happy to see Mal, he loved Mal, had a very tight bond with Mal. The saddest part was hearing when his throat cancer had come back. You still hope that he would have gotten through that. So it was a big loss for everyone. In the musical world, yes, and obviously for his family and anyone that was close to him.”

Despite their contrasting styles, Angus considered Eddie to be a top-notch talent.

“The guy was a wizard on the guitar,” Young says. “He had his own unique style. You can see why he influenced so many people that came along.”

But it was his personality that Young will never be able to forget.

“I’ll always remember him with that big smile. He always brightened up the room.”

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Van Halen 1975 High School Show Surfaces + It’s a Must Listen

Soundboard audio of an April, 1975 Van Halen performance at Pasadena High School has surfaced. The 30-minute set, comprised of eight songs, is mostly cover songs alongside an early version of “Fools,” then titled “I Live With Fools.”

Before Van Halen signed a record deal and later hit the world’s stages opening for Black Sabbath upon the release of their self-titled 1978 debut, the group were slugging it out anywhere and everywhere, no different than any rock band trying to make a name for themselves.

The group — Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth — operated under a number of different names in their early days together, cycling through Mammoth and Genesis, to name two. At the time of the recording, Eddie, the youngest member of the group, had turned 20 just a couple months prior.

In the set, they run through premiere selections from ZZ Top, Deep Purple, The Rolling Stones and more, all of which can be heard in the video toward the bottom of the page, beneath the setlist.

Die-hard fans will be especially appreciative of “I Live With Fools,” which was later reworked as “Fools,” a song that was included on Van Halen’s third record, 1980’s Women and Children First.

Van Halen, Live at Pasadena High School (April, 1975) — Set List

1. “Chevrolet” (ZZ Top)
2. “Maybe I’m a Leo” (Deep Purple)
3. “Brown Sugar” (The Rolling Stones)
4. “And We All Had a Real Good Time” (Edgar Winter)
5. “Walk Away” (James Gang)
6. “Rock And Roll Hoochie Koo” (Johnny Winter)
7. “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You” (Sugarloaf)
8. “I Live With Fools” (early version of Van Halen original “Fools”)

Van Halen, Live at Pasadena High School in April of 1975

See Van Halen in 57 Bands Who Changed Their Name Before Getting Famous

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Sammy Hagar Won’t Start Van Halen Reunion Talk

Sammy Hagar said he’d accept an invitation to perform at an official Eddie Van Halen tribute show if it was arranged but that it wasn’t his place to start any such conversation.

The singer settled his differences with the guitarist before his death last month, although both agreed to keep it a secret in case it started reunion rumors. After Van Halen’s death from cancer at age 65, speculation began to circulate that Hagar was going to join forces with surviving band members Alex and Wolfgang Van Halen – a suggestion Wolfgang firmly shot down.

“There’s no talk of reunion or a tribute with me, that’s for damn sure,” Hagar told ABC News in a recent interview. “When they want to do something, when they think it’s time, if they get together and said, ‘Hey, would you come out and sing some songs?,’ you’re damn [right] I would. … But [for me] to talk about that? Hell, no.”

The singer confirmed he’d continue to perform Van Halen songs with his band the Circle, which includes former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony. Calling Eddie “one of the greatest,” he added, “It was such an honor to play with him. And now that we’ll never do it again, when we play those songs, I will play ’em with all my heart. But I’m not going to try to become a Van Halen tribute band.”

Hagar recalled the experience of dedicating some songs to his late friend at his birthday party, which took place two days after Van Halen’s death. “It was heartbreaking at rehearsal,” he said. “But for the show itself, it actually gave us a boost.”

In the days following his death, manager Irving Azoff revealed that the long-rumored reunion tour with Anthony was under discussion for 2019, until the extent of the guitarist’s illness became clear. “We had lots of stops and starts, but there was every intention of doing a summer stadium tour,” Azoff noted. “And as the cancer moved around, he was physically unable to do it.”

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