Sammy Hagar told the world this year how Edward and his brother Alex did their “family thing” while in Van Halen which caused division and separation from Eddie. Wow – shocker! And the entire world thought music band members are thicker than thieves. As a result Hagar and Alex developed a tight bond – so tight, that Hagar tells Guitar World in an interview that Eddie was jealous of the relationship. In the early 2000’s, the two began to sporadically collaborating on other projects during Hagar’s time away, and did so even more following Anthony’s departure from Van Halen in 2006.
Since then, Michael Anthony has appeared in most of Hagar’s projects, including Sammy Hagar & the Waboritas, Chickenfoot, and Sammy Hagar and the Circle.
This year, The Circle released “Crazy Times”, the band’s third studio album. Hagar is pleased about the record for a number of reasons, but it’s Michael Anthony’s bass playing and famous vocals that The Red Rocker can’t stop singing praises to. Explaining why Anthony’s bass sounds better now than it did in Van Halen, Hagar said to Guitar World:
“Because in Van Halen, Eddie was so busy with the way he played guitar that there wasn’t much room for Mikey to do anything. Eddie played lead, rhythm, melody, and in some ways, the bass line all at once because he was just a master.
“So, Mikey rarely got to stretch out, but the truth is that he’s up there with John Paul Jones, John Entwistle, Geddy Lee, and Jack Bruce, but he never got to show it with Van Halen. But now, we’ve got Mikey off the leash, so we get more from him than we ever got when he was in Van Halen.”
As for the bassist’s backing vocals, Hagar said that The Circle received advice from producer Ted Templeman of Van Halen fame on how to get Anthony’s singing to take center stage.
“Mikey is like my brother from another mother. So much so that back in the early Van Halen days, Eddie would get all jealous. Because Mike and I would get into these soulful conversations for hours, and Eddie would be on the outside looking in.
“And this was when we were all getting along great, not towards the end when our marriage fell apart. But even in the early days, Eddie would say, ‘Hey, I wanna hang out like you and Mike do.’ And I was like, ‘Cool, man. Let’s do it. So, what’s the problem?’
“The way it was in Van Halen was Eddie and Alex would get together and do their family thing. And Mike and I would always be the ones that would get tacos and margaritas and talk about life when we were on the road.
“And in the end, when we were arguing, and Van Halen was falling apart, me and Mike had our own plane because they were trying to keep Eddie and me apart.
“I guess Mike and I are cut from the same cloth. Eddie hated it, would get mad on stage, and called it stupid, but we had our inside lingo and were always very close.
“And that’s accented by the magical sound of his background vocals layered over my lead vocals. It’s a unique sound that can’t be described and that I’ve never had with anyone else.”