“We recorded every idea we had. I’m sure there’s stuff that Eddie did on his own”: Michael Anthony says there’s an archive of unreleased Van Halen material – but we’ll “probably” never get to hear it

Michael Anthony, David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen of Van Halen perform on stage at Pinkpop Festival, Sportpark, Geleen, 26th May 1980.
(Image credit: Rob Verhorst/Redferns)

When Van Halen announced they were making one final album with David Lee Roth, there was huge excitement for that band getting back together. However, bassist Michael Anthony – who had featured on all their previous records – wasn’t invited back. Instead, the band employed Eddie’s son, Wolfgang Van Halen, to play bass

But despite his absence, Anthony says the band had “miles” of recorded ideas dating from before their first album in 1978, which they poured over during the A Different Kind of Truth sessions in the early 2010s. As such, his presence was very much still felt.  

And, while discussing such elusive material, Anthony confirmed there was a huge catalog of unreleased Van Halen songs that have yet to see the light of day. Sadly, it sounds like they never will.

“There were quite a few songs that I was a part of and worked on, even a couple of things before the first Van Halen record and the early part of Van Halen that they actually restructured and used on the A Different Kind of Truth,” Anthony tells Ultimate Guitar. “Songs like She's the Woman, that's the only thing that comes to mind.” 

“There were songs that were basically written way back in the early days when Dave, Eddie, Alex, and myself were together that they ended up using on that,” he expands. “But, God, I can't recall. There's probably miles of stuff. I mean, you've probably seen pictures of all the boxes of the tapes and everything [in Eddie's studio]. Which is miles of stuff.” 

As he goes on to say, the band were trigger happy in the studio, eager to document every half idea they had. That means there is an absolute goldmine of unheard Van Halen songs, which Anthony hopes gets explored by Wolfgang Van Halen.

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“Every time that we went into the studio, whether it was Donn Landee or whoever was engineering for us, we had him press record. We recorded everything, every idea that we had,” Anthony continues. 

“I hope Wolfgang goes through some of it because I'm sure there's a lot of stuff that Eddie did on his own, too, that might be kind of interesting to listen to also. But there's tons of stuff that we'll probably never see. Or hear.”

Asked for his opinions on the band’s Michael Anthony-lite swan song, the bassist says he only “listened to a little bit of it”, but he liked what he heard. 

Michael Anthony

(Image credit: Future)

“It was different,” he says. “Dave was singing differently. And adding Wolfgang into the mix; it was different than what we were obviously doing when I was in the band. There's a lot of good stuff on there. I thought it was a good album.” 

Although it's not quite unheard demos, the band recently released previously unseen footage of their 1991 concert in a packed-out West End Marketplace in Dallas


Phil Weller

A freelance writer with a penchant for music that gets weird, Phil is a regular contributor to ProgGuitar World, and Total Guitar magazines and is especially keen on shining a light on unknown artists. Outside of the journalism realm, you can find him writing angular riffs in progressive metal band, Prognosis, in which he slings an 8-string Strandberg Boden Original, churning that low string through a variety of tunings. He's also a published author and is currently penning his debut novel which chucks fantasy, mythology and humanity into a great big melting pot.