Michael Anthony on Chickenfoot, Hot Sauce, Black Sabbath and of course…Van Halen

Michael AnthonyThe American Rock Scene got a chance to talk via phone today with the hot-sauce makin’, hot-rod buildin’, hot-bass playin’ Michael Anthony from Chickenfoot and once upon a time, Van Halen.

We pressed him a little bit for his opinions on the latest controversy surrounding VH and we even asked him what he thought about the latest episode of “As The Sabbath Turns”.

We mostly talked about Chickenfoot and some of his passions away from the music. This is part 1 of 2 but if you just can’t wait for part 2 you can listen to the audio of the entire interview now by clicking the link at the bottom of this page.

How was the Beacon Theater show?
Great show, they’ve all been great, we just got a great review sent to us by our manager Mick. We are having a great time on this tour. You know, the one thing about this band is that we do it for fun. We got nothing that we are trying to prove to anyone and we aren’t putting pressure on ourselves. That was the reason for starting this band in the first place. I guess if you at the band, you can call it a super group but we’re really just friends. It’s more like a garage band.

After watching all the backstage antics on video the chemistry seems great:

Oh yeah, none of that stuff is staged, we just try to capture stuff the way it is. That’s what it’s all about.

How’s Sammy to work with?
He’s a very positive and up-lifting type of person. That’s the kind of people I like to hang out with. Lot’s of positive energy in this band.

Favorite song to jam on the new CD?
Lately one of my favorites to play live is “The Last temptation” We started out not playing it but lately we added it and started playing it and getting a great response from the fans. They’re all fun, even the ones of the first album. We switch up the set list quite a bit. We jam every song and you don’t get the same thing two nights in a row.

Compare playing with Joe vs. playing with Eddie:
They’re both amazing guitar players in their own right but the styles are different so I wouldn’t do a direct comparison. There’s a big difference between the two. Joe doesn’t do the hammer-ons that Eddie does for the most part. I guess if I had to compare them; Ed’s more of a fly by the seat of your pants type of guitar player. Ed’s had some formal training but a lot how he feels whereas Joe explains the whole theory behind it, the chord structure, everything you know. They are both amazing guitar players though.

What was the crowd like in Boston when Chad(Smith) came out and played?
It was great. We are always hammering on him, that if he gets a little break….but of course his wife doesn’t see it that way. You’re not gonna go out and play with other friends there.
He did get the chance to fly out and meet us in Boston and yeah it was great. The band talked about letting him play the whole show but we have a great show down with Kenny now so we didn’t want to upset that. Chad came out for a 4-song encore and the fans went nuts!

Note: Chad was behind the kit prior to the encore and people thought it was a drum tech.

Explain the song “Different Devil” and the pop flavor that it has?
It does have a pop flavor to it. When we did that song, we did the demo for it Sammy wasn’t really getting any inspiration for it, so we just kind of shelved it for a while. Then we were taking a break and Sam calls me one day….God Mikey I got the best lyrics for that song now. It’s a little different for us but we don’t consciously write something a certain way, we were just doing what we love to do.

The Chickenfoot songwriting process?
We all work together. Joe will come up with the bulk of the riffs and MP3 them to the rest of us. We’re not a full-time band. A lot of times we’ll wait to see if Sammy is getting inspired to write something. We go after those ones first but everybody does their homework on their own. We talk to each other on the phone and the internet so that by the time we get to the studio everybody knows what they want to do. For the most part everybody just does their own thing. The first hour in the studio is a lot of joking and bullshitting around, just having a good time. You’d need to be a fly on the wall to see how we actually get it done. Next thing you know we’re going, wow that sounds great.

Stay tuned for part two of the interview as we’ll be talking more about Chickenfoot, his inspiration for playing the bass and how many basses he currently owns. He’ll also tell us about his favorite hotrod, the first concert he went to, the first album he bought and his plans for Mad Anthony’s Hot Sauce.

A few more words from Michael:

On Black Sabbath:

Michael said he’s read three different versions of the story now.

“Even the drama when I was in Van Halen wasn’t as much drama as this”

We talked a bit about similarities to his and Bill Ward’s current situation he said, “The reason I gave up what I did in 2004 was I didn’t need the money and that was to be the last Van Halen tour, which for me it was”. He continued “I wanted to go out for the fans one more time”.

Next I asked him if he had a chance to view DLR’s video explaining the VH tour postponement. He said “I look at it and say yeah, that’s Dave, he hasn’t changed a bit”.
Michael says “Who Knows? Only the band really knows what is going on.” Anthony is pretty hesitant but he shares, “I have my own theories on it, to me it sounds kinda interesting that if you are tired and need to re-charge your batteries, you don’t go put 30 shows on sale”. “If I were a fan, I would think that a little odd, to pull the plug on it. It could be the sales, you just don’t know”.

Would you ever share the stage with Van Halen again?
Michael answers, “I really couldn’t say, Ed’s got his son up there with him now. The circumstances would really have to be right.”

Check back for part two of the interview.


You can listen to the audio below:

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