Michael Anthony Confirms Movement on Van Halen Archive Material
Former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony confirmed there’s a plan in place to explore the band’s archive and prepare unheard material for release.
In a new interview with SiriusXM’s Eddie Trunk, he revealed that classic-era engineer Donn Landee is involved in the project, with the release of work from the Sammy Hagar years to arrive first.
“There is movement, and we’re digging back in the stuff,” Anthony said. “Obviously there’s a lot more stuff that’s at Ed’s 5150 Studio. … A lot of that stuff, Wolfie and Alex [Van Halen] will start going through there, seeing what there is. There’s a ton of stuff.”
He added that “We’re starting a bunch of the reissue stuff with the Sammy years, with all his albums, and the first one that will come out will be the Right Here, Right Now live album that we did in 1992.” He noted that he wasn’t allowed to discuss much more than the details already revealed, but hinted that “hopefully we’ll be following up, doing Roth stuff, too. Who knows?”
Anthony recalled that Van Halen “used to record every single show. That was just for the band so that we could critique ourselves after every show, and this went on for a few years. Like, the first few tours we would record almost every show.” He added that he’s amassed a collection of his recordings from various sources and that some were of “almost album quality.”
You can hear the interview below.
Asked if he was personally part of the project, Anthony replied, “Right now I’m just hearing about it as they’re announcing it, but there’s a plan of what we’re going to do, and I’m obviously going to be vocal about it. … I would like to kind of have a hand in there, even if it’s just sonically [over] what Donn’s doing.”
While he said he owns some video footage, Anthony lamented that Van Halen didn't work more with cameras in the early ‘80s, “when everybody started doing behind-the-scenes stuff.” He confirmed the material he did have was shot by house staff exclusively for the band, and it has never been seen in official or bootleg form.
Responding to Trunk’s observation that the lack of archive releases has been “amazingly frustrating” for fans, Anthony said, “To me, it is kinda sad that there hasn’t been more stuff like that. Especially the Roth days.”
In a 2020 interview, Wolfgang Van Halen noted that it will be "a while" before he began looking through his father's archives. "My dad would be pissed off at me, really," he explained. "He'd be like, 'What the fuck are you doing? Go do your shit, don't go through my old shit. Go do your new shit."
Mammoth II, the second album from Wolfgang's band, Mammoth WVH, is scheduled to be released on Aug. 4. The group will open for Metallica's 72 Seasons world tour, which kicks off Thursday in Amsterdam.