Was Eddie Van Halen Right to Replace Michael Anthony With His Son? Van Halen Engineer Weighs in

Known for his work on Van Halen’s final album “A Different Kind of Truth, mixing engineer Ross Hogarth reflected on the band’s decision to tap Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang Van Halen to replace bassist Michael Anthony.

Now, being the original member of Van Halen, it’s impossible not to address Anthony’s absence from the band’s final album and tour. In fact, it wouldn’t be that far off to refer to this as a “controversy” to a certain degree. Additionally, Van Halen fans are no strangers to sharing their opinions on the matter, and many voiced their opinions on how this wasn’t the right thing to do.

However, as Hogarth said in a recent interview with musician and producer Anthony Marinelli, there’s really nothing wrong with Eddie wanting to play music with his son. And fans shouldn’t hold their grudges against Ed, Wolfgang, or the band.

Unlocking Eddie Van Halen’s Guitar Tone with his Engineer Ross Hogarth

“There was all this animosity”

“I will say something direct and honest,” the engineer said when addressing the matter (transcript via Ultimate Guitar). “First off, everybody who knows Michael Anthony also knows he’s just an awesome guy, a beautiful cat.”

“Somehow, there was all this animosity, but anyone who’s a father, and their kid plays music — one of Eddie’s greatest joys was to play music with his son. One of Wolf’s greatest joys was to play music with his dad, and now that his dad is gone, those moments would never have happened if Ed had just stayed with [the classic lineup].”

And although Hogarth is aware that people wanted to witness the original lineup wrapping things up, he pointed out how that there were other advantages of seeing this final formation with three Van Halen family members in there.

“Everyone wants Michael Anthony with David Lee Roth, the original Van Halen,” Ross said. “But there was nothing more than, ‘I want to play music with my kid.’ Plain and simple.”

“I’m not gonna get any further into the dynamics, but I will say that to be around that beautiful joy — Uncle Al, playing music with his nephew, and Ed getting music to play with his son.”

Family Harmonies

He concluded by adding:

“What happens [is] family harmonies; you can’t get that sound [otherwise]. When those guys played together, there was a certain glue that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.”

“A Different King of Truth” was released in 2012 and marks Van Halen’s final studio album. The new lineup went in tour of support of this record, wrapping it up in the summer of 2013.

The band did one more run, getting on the road in 2015, with an impressive long setlist and Kenny Wayne Shepherd as the supporting act. The last show of this tour took place on October 4, 2015, over at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, California. Unbeknownst to them at the time, this would also be the final-ever concert for Van Halen since Eddie passed away five years later, in 2020.

Wolfgang himself has been dealing with some criticism for being a son of a guitar legend, with people claiming that this is the main reason he’s made it in the world of music with his own band, Mammoth WVH.

What Did Wolfgang Van Halen Have to Say About That?

“I won’t lie — I don’t think my emotional and mental well-being have been any lower,” Wolfgang said in an interview in 2022. “It’s a thing that is incredibly tough to fight. In the absence of Dad and everything that has happened, it’s very difficult.”

VAN HALEN,,LIVE 2012 DETROIT, FULL COMPLETE SHOW, MULTI CAM CONCERT

“The lucky thing is I have a wonderful support system surrounding me. I have my mother, my uncle Patrick, my fiancée Andraia, so many wonderful people I can lean toward because I certainly don’t have the emotional strength. There’s many times when I don’t have the strength to do anything, and more than not, that seems to be the case.”

“But you’ve got to find the things that give you life. For me, that’s music and being able to wake up every day and think about how I’m going to create this second album. It’s stressful, but it’s also very exciting, and it’s what I put all my thinking into.”

Addressing internet trolls, Wolf said:

“That’s always there. Everyone deals with it. Sure, it hurts a lot when it’s directed toward you, but you’ve got to realize the place it’s coming from.”

VAN HALEN'S LAST SHOW - HOLLYWOOD BOWL 10/4/15 - HD FULL SHOW

“It says so much more about them”

“I like to pick my battles. I like to find the right time to chirp and say something funny, but sometimes you do feel that need to be like, ‘F*** off.’ And you can do that every now and then.”

“But all in all, it says so much more about them than it does about you that they go out of their way. You can point them out, too, because you’ll see their profile and you can almost always predict what’s going to be filling their timeline.”

Photos: Joe Bielawa (VH.DSC 0342.5 19 12 (7235715612)), ArtBrom (Joe Satriani & Michael Anthony)

Author

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.