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Michael Anthony Says ‘Van Halen III’ ‘Could Have Been a Lot Better’

Michael Anthony
Rich Polk, Getty Images

Michael Anthony said Van Halen III – the last album he recorded with the band – was a “sad” experience.

Released in 1998, it was Van Halen’s only album to feature Extreme singer Gary Cherone and is commonly regarded as the worst of their 12 LPs.

Anthony discussed the disappointing project in a new interview on the Mitch Lafon & Jeremy White Show, admitting: “I don’t even like to talk about it. … I don’t even go into the recording process on that album because that album just took us frickin’ everywhere. Alex Van Halen was going through a divorce at that time, and Ed played drums on some of this. I mean, it was just the craziest thing that the band had ever done.”

He noted that “there were only a couple of songs on that whole album that we, as an actual band, played together in the studio. … It’s sad because it could have been a lot better.” On a more positive note, he added, “Going on that tour was a breath of fresh air. Gary wanted to play the new Van Halen, the old Van Halen, all of it. And we were playing some of the earlier Van Halen stuff that we hadn’t played in years.”

You can watch the interview below.

Addressing criticism of Van Halen’s later output, Anthony argued that they never consciously chased commercial success. “It wasn’t until the later albums when we really took the reins,” he said, saying the reason they changed producers was to involve other peoples’ viewpoints. “Nothing more than that, nothing like, ‘Well, we gotta bring in Mick [Jones] so we can get some hits.’ It was never like that. It was always just because we wanted to try something new.

“It’s kind of like … you gotta please yourself before you please everybody else. We never had that, ‘Let’s sellout.’ Now, people thought we were a little bit more commercial sounding, or a lot more, or whatever – but it was a natural evolution of the band.”

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Next: Van Halen Albums Ranked

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