Michael Anthony wishes he still had the chance to work things out with Eddie Van Halen.
The 66-year-old musician, who was the bassist and backing vocalist for Van Halen from 1974 to 2006, was recently a guest on the “Talkin’ Rock with Meltdown” podcast. During the Jan. 8 interview, Anthony admitted that he and his former bandmate still had issues to resolve when the rocker died last October after a long battle with cancer. Van Halen was 65.
“We actually hadn’t spoken and unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to,” revealed Anthony, who was replaced in the band by Van Halen’s son, Wolfgang, in 2006. “It bothers me because we had some issues that were never resolved.”
“But, I mean, what can you do?” he added. “It was on the track of a reunion, which I’m really sad that it never happened. But life… the show goes on.”
Later in the podcast, Anthony also opened up about how Van Halen didn’t publicly reveal the severity of his illness. “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.”
Anthony previously paid tribute to Van Halen on Instagram shortly after news broke last year that the legendary guitarist had died. “No words… Heartbroken,” he wrote. “My love to the family.”
At the time, the band’s former lead singer, Sammy Hagar, also shared in a message to Howard Stern that he fortunately was able to reconnect with Van Halen in early 2020. Hagar replaced original Van Halen lead singer David Lee Roth in 1985, and performed with the band until his 1996 departure.
“I would love you to share that Eddie and I had been texting, and it’s been a love fest since we started communicating earlier this year,” Hagar said in a letter that Stern read on air for his SiriusXM radio show. “We both agreed not to tell anyone because of all the rumours it would stir up about a reunion, et cetera, and we both knew that wasn’t going to happen. But he also didn’t want anyone to know about his health.”
“He stopped responding to me a month ago, and I figured it wasn’t good,” Hagar’s note continued. “I reached out one more time last week and when he didn’t respond, I figured it was a matter of time, but it came way too soon.”
Back in 2016, Hagar told Classic Rock Report that he didn’t have “any regrets or bad vibes” with Van Halen, despite last reuniting with the band in 2004 for the Best of Both Worlds tour.
“When you stop and think that, you know, with my relationship with Eddie Van Halen and stuff that’s always been in the toilet, it makes you say, ‘I don’t want to be buried with any regrets or bad vibes like that,'” Hagar said. “It makes you want to be just friends with everybody and say, ‘Hey, look, forget it.’ Even if you don’t want to be in a band together, just let’s be friends. No more enemies for me.”
“You don’t want to go to your grave with enemies. So that’s what it’s done for me,” he continued. “It woke me up and said, ‘No more enemies.’ And before I die, I won’t have any, if I have my way.”
Watch the video below for more on Van Halen’s life and legacy, including what fellow rockers Gene Simmons and Ozzy Osbourne will remember most fondly about the music icon.
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