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Michael Anthony was a lucky bass player

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by DrumsAndBass, Sep 28, 2011.

  1. DrumsAndBass

    DrumsAndBass Supporting Member

    Apr 7, 2011
    San Diego, CA
    I was really devoted to the sound of Van Halen in high school. And then I developed an appreciation for Michael Anthony in the band. His backup vocals were crucial to the band's sound but also his bass playing. He held down the songs with Alex while Eddie and Dave did their bits. Now, I'm not commenting on his live bass solos I'm referring to his ability to not only keep up with Ed and sing at the same time but make the songs cooler sounding. For example, in the early days of their live shows around 1981-1982 Mike's playing was quite melodic throughout the songs. Mike had a formulated role for his bass lines on the albums because it was meat and potatoes bass playing. Yet, that must have required quite a bit of discipline on his part. Well, there is so much to say about that band. I admire their music as a whole. It would have been extremely fun to be the bass player under Eddie Van Halen.
  2. tangentmusic

    tangentmusic A figment of our exaggeration

    Aug 17, 2007
    There were lots of bass players playing the LA club circuit back in the '70's that could have been in VH. Although he was a solid player, Mike's backing vocals really cemented the gig for him.
  3. TinIndian

    TinIndian Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2011
    Micco Florida
    Agreed. His bass playing is not spectacular, his background vocals are exemplary and his range is what really makes him.
    Spidey2112 likes this.
  4. He is good enough for what they needed. He is no better or no worse than most other rock bassists. I saw him play live and he was pretty good. I never liked his tone though. The thing I always found strange about VH is why didn't they just have Michael sing lead vocals and have to deal with Dave's drama? He certainly sings well enough to carry the songs.

    I have a bootleg copy of VH playing at Pasadena High School in 1976. They were aweful. It's hard to believe that just two years later, their first album was released.
  5. Dave the Bass

    Dave the Bass

    Sep 11, 2011
    Michael Anthony was a huge influence on me as far as singing well while still playing solid bass lines.

    I agree that he could have taken lead vocal duties if he wanted to.
    seang15 likes this.
  6. Ric5

    Ric5 SUSPENDED Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    I always felt sorry for Mike ... in many Van Halen recordings the bass is buried. I remember years ago when a band I was in was learning an EVH song. I was trying to learn the bass part but I couldn't hear it. So I had to make up my own and go with it.

    I remember trying out for a band in the late 70s or eraly 80s and the guitar player was a former bass player for EVH. The band wasn't very good. Sorry I don't remember any names.
  7. rockstarbassist

    rockstarbassist Banned

    Apr 30, 2002
    The Woodlands, TX
    Endorsing Artist: HCAF
    I'd have switched spots with him.
    Sans the "old man" bit right now, anyway! :D
  8. Under is the key word here!
    Having your bass part kept simple and somewhat hidden in the mix so the star guitar player can shine. Not my idea of extremely fun! Still, he did get a part in a major rock band that most of us will only dream of.
  9. gard0300

    gard0300 Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Vandalia, Ohio
    Michael is a lot better anyone is giving him credit for. Go listen to Chickenfoot and see. The
    problem with his playings in Van Halen was Eddie. Period. I would have hate playing bass with Eddie. Fun band as a musician, horrible band for a creative bass player.
    seang15 likes this.
  10. svtb15

    svtb15 Commercial User

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig
    Also big part of it is the hang.. How you get along with the other players..... lots of people dont think about that... they can play circles around anyone have great gear, good time,, but they are morons and always picking arguments.... no one want to hang with that..

    Mike obviously had the goods and the hang factor..

  11. Audiophage


    Jan 9, 2005
    If anything Van Halen was lucky to have a bass player like Mike.
    alack, mindwell, waveman and 11 others like this.
  12. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
  13. Mike in Chicago

    Mike in Chicago Supporting Member

    Apr 3, 2011
    You guys are too nice. He sucked.

    MOTORHEADBANGER Spud-boy looking for a real tomato Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2008
    Sidney, Indiana
    How so?
    Jakedog likes this.
  15. Eublet


    Jul 28, 2006
    The funny thing is that when Eddie played bass on Sammy's album he was all over the place, playing it like a gui****. Apparently his requirement for the bass to stay out of the way didn't apply to him.
    seang15 likes this.
  16. My understanding is that Mike was the lead singer for VH when they were still called Mammoth. Back then a hard rock band pretty much HAD to have a lead vocalist/front man, hence the preening idiot that was Roth.
    I also think Mike is under-rated, btw.
    seang15 and rickwebb like this.
  17. JB36

    JB36 Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2010
    Albany, NY

    Sammy was on the last epsiode of That Metal show and he flat out stated Eddie always asked him to play less. I haven't heard the new Chickenfoot, but Sammy says he kills on it. I think he's underated.
    seang15 likes this.
  18. dwm74


    Nov 8, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    Michael Anthony lucky? Most of us will never know for sure how good he really is/was, but I'll say one thing...

    I'd rather be lucky than good, as long as I had his bank account.
  19. odin70


    Dec 26, 2007
    He was very very very lucky! Im not saying he is no good, but thousands could easily fill his shoes. Eddie Van Halen on the other side.. will go down in history as one of the greatest guitar players of all time.
  20. Muzoid


    Feb 12, 2011
    Didn't several of the 80's VH albums just have a keyboard bass? (most likely played by Eddie).

    To me that's kind of an insult to your bassist.