Recently talking with Mitch Lafon and Jeremy White, bassist Michael Anthony discussed the difference between Van Halen’s singers, Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth.
Here’s what the bassist said:
”A long time now. When he first came in as a solo artist, played on a few shows that Van Halen had done. There were some outdoor shows that we did where he was an opening act or whatever. And I never knew him, though. I mean, I knew his music like everybody does.
”All the bands, they know each other. I know Eddie had met him, also, but I never actually met him until he walked into ‘5150.’ After he and Eddie jammed, and he decided to come in and see what this Van Halen thing was all about. I don’t even think Sammy had any intention of joining the band at that point. I think he just wanted to come to the studio, see if the party, drugs and drinking rumors were true. [laughs]
He added:[…] ”When ”Jump”, which was our only big single from the early days of Van Halen, Roth didn’t even want that song on the album, because he’s all, ‘Eddie, you’re a guitar god, man, you’re not supposed to be playing keyboards.’ And Eddie, he grew up classically trained. Piano, in addition to picking up guitar.
”When Sammy joined the band, I think it was just a natural progression of the band. We just continued writing and Sammy brought in this whole knowledge of being a guitar player himself, he understood structure of music and stuff like that. From that standpoint, where David would always write the lyrics and go, ‘Yeah, man, play that hard or whatever,’ Sammy’s like, ‘Hey, you got this chord here, what if we play this chord or whatever, make this change.
”He brought a whole new element, and it just kind of changed the dynamic of the band. We weren’t going to continue doing what we didn’t want to continue doing, what we were doing with Dave. Because that was with Dave. It’s the natural evolution within the way the band was evolving.”