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Michael
Sobolweski

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.

Mike, initially played guitar and drums. Because many of his friends were playing guitar, Mike started playing the bass guitar. Mike’s first 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 and restaurants.

 For more about Mike, visit his website http://madanthonyblog.blogspot.com

 


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