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Michael Anthony‘s longstanding friendship with Sammy Hagar might suggest a preference for the Van Halen era fronted by Hagar over the David Lee Roth years. Considering Anthony and Hagar are set to tour together with Joe Satriani and Jason Bonham under the banner “The Best of All Worlds,” featuring a Van Halen-heavy set, one might assume a clear favoritism. However, in a recent interview with Ultimate Guitar, Anthony revealed a more balanced view, recognizing the strengths both David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar brought to the band.

When asked about the differences between working with Roth and Hagar, Anthony highlighted their distinct approaches to music creation: “Well, Dave, he read books, magazines, everything under the sun. So, as far as lyrics and stuff like that, Dave, that’s all he was really about.”

He contrasted this with Hagar‘s contribution, noting: “When Sammy joined the band, Sammy being a guitar player, his knowledge of chord structure and stuff like that brought a different element to Van Halen. Because where Dave focused mainly on his lyrics and trying to do a melody for that, Sammy would be like, ‘Well, what if we try this chord or try this progression?’ So, it was a different experience between the two.”

Anthony also appreciated Hagar‘s musical influence, saying: “As far as singing goes, Sammy sings how he sings, Dave sings how he sings. But I really enjoyed how Sammy brought that other musical element to the band.”

Reflecting on David Lee Roth‘s solo project “Eat ‘Em and Smile,” Anthony acknowledged its quality despite not recalling if he’d ever listened to the entire album. “Yeah. I mean, I haven’t heard it in a long time. And I actually don’t even know if I’ve heard the whole album ever in its entirety. That’s a great album. I mean, I’m friends with Billy Sheehan. And Steve Vai. Obviously, they’re both great frickin’ players. It was great.”

Anthony initially suspected Roth‘s intent with his solo band, saying, “At first, my thoughts were, ‘Is Dave just trying to put together a band to try to kick our ass? To try to put together the best players that he could get?’ Because, between Greg Bissonette and Steve and Billy, shit right there, you got some great musicianship.”

In the end, Anthony praised the effort: “But I thought it was good. The playing was great on that album. Those guys are all great. And on top of that, it was just Dave being Dave.”


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