AKA, Michael Anthony,
born June 20,
1954 in Chicago, IL, the second of five children. Mike and his family
moved to Arcadia from Chicago in 1966. Mike attended Dana Junior High
School and Arcadia High School, graduating in 1972. Mike was interested
in music quite early. His father played trumpet, as Mike did later in
school, developing an interest in not only rock and roll, but jazz,
as well. Mike also was a member of the Track Team at AHS, specializing
in the Long Jump.
initially played guitar and drums. Because many of his friends were
playing guitar, Mike started playing the bass guitar.
band was called Poverty’s Children and featured Mike on bass and lead
vocals, his brother Steve on drums and a friend Mike Hershey (class
of 72) on lead guitar. “The first bass player I ever got excited about
was Dick Peterson of Blue Cheer. He used to wear his bass down around
his knees and play through huge stacks of Marshall's – he looked incredible.
John Paul Jones is my primary influence. He’s a perfect example of someone
who plays with taste. I also like Jack Bruce’s work with Cream. Tim
Bogert’s playing on “Beck, Bogert and Appice” album, and the late Felix
Pappalrdi – Mountain’s Nantucket Sleighride is one of my all-time favorite
records. I listen to some jazz, but when I play, I’m a rock and roller.”
Other early bands were Black Opal, Balls and Snake. They played the
same Arcadia/Pasadena area parties as another local band called Mammoth,
whose leader was a young man named Eddie Van Halen.
Click for larger
image of a 1976
Van Halen Flyer.
While attending P. C.
C., Mike ran into Alex Van Halen. The two became friends and at the
same time Mark Stone (bass player for Mammoth) was kicked out of the
band. A mutual friend suggested to Eddie and Alex that Mike join the
band. After jamming in a small Pasadena garage, he was invited to join
them to which Mike replied, “Uh, yeah!” Shortly after, Mike dropped
out of P. C. C. and dropped his plans to attend U. C. Santa Barbara
to devote all his time to Van Halen. Mike left P. C. C. just a few credits
shy of earning his AA degree in Music to work with Van Halen full time.
His father’s reaction was what you might expect; “He kicked me out of
the house! But the band was getting huge, locally and it was either
now or never. I would’ve shot myself if the band had made it without
me. After we played our first tour, I bought my parents a car and they
became my biggest fans.” During the time before Van Halen hit it big,
they were known to have played numerous backyard parties, local clubs
and in the mid 70’s, they performed in the Rally Court at AHS. In 1977,
Gene Simmons of KISS discovered them and helped get them their first
record deal. In 1978 they released their first album and went on to
become one of the most popular hard rock bands in the world. Van
Halen’s self-titled album opened with the signature guitar
styles of Eddie Van Halen on guitar, and Michael Anthony on
bass. Their first album included the rock classics “You Really
Got Me”, “Running with the Devil” and “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘bout
Love". After 30 years and 11 studio releases (four of which
reached Number One) their first album "Van Halen"
remains the band’s top seller, with U.S. sales of more than 10
million. The band’s other blockbuster release, "1984"
has also surpassed the 10 million mark. To date, Van Halen
places them among the top 20 best-selling artists of all time,
having sold more than 56 million records in the U.S.
Initially, the band
lineup consisted of Mike, Eddie and Alex Van Halen, with David Lee
Roth on lead vocals. Roth left the group in 1985, to be replaced by the "Red Rocker"
Sammy Haggar in 1995. Haggar recorded several albums with the group
and left in 1995. Roth resurfaced at that time, recording two songs
for a greatest hits album and then was replaced by Gary Cherone,
former lead singer of Extreme. Cherone recorded but one album
with Van Halen and subsequently, left the band.
In March of 2007, Van Halen was officially inducted into the Rock
and Roll Hall Of Fame. Only Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony
turned up for their induction. Guitarist Eddie Van Halen was in
rehab, and Dave Roth stayed away in a tiff over what he would
perform. In the summer of 2007, Van Halen announced their world
reunion tour without Mike. Eddie Van Halen's 16 year old son
Wolfgang, was Mike's replacement. When asked in an interview
with Rolling Stone magazine, about being replaced, Mike stated "No,
nobody ever contacted me about anything. I just kind of found
out with everyone else. I found out on the Internet and through
word of mouth."
In the summer of 2007 Mike announced that he will tour
with Sammy Haggar, in what will be billed as "The Mad Anthony
Express." They will be opening up the show with some early Van
Halen songs, and Mike will be doing the lead singing. In a final
note to all of his fans, regarding his ouster from Van Halen,
Mike stated on his website "Wolfgang is a great kid, so don't
judge him too harshly. I'm sure he'll do just fine!!....See you
all soon, Mike"
As for Mike’s
personal life, as many of you may well know, Mike married Sue
Hendry (AHS class of 74) in 1981 after she proposed to him at
a McDonald’s drive-thru. They have two daughters, Elisha and Taylor.
In addition to his family, Mike is heavily into hot rods and race
cars. Included in his collection, are 1932, 1933 and 1940 Fords.
Mike also collects hot sauce and watches and has more than 80
watches in his collection. Mike resides in Glendora, and is
spotted frequently at his favorite local nightclubs
more about Mike, visit his website