So Van Halen has “reunited” with David Lee Roth at the helm for a big fall tour, only it’s not a real reunion without Michael Anthony on board – Eddie’s son Wolfgang will be filling in on bass. I’m going to be one of those dudes who protests at a band reuniting with a vital member in the group. Maybe Michael Anthony isn’t the big draw to the band, but on those 6 amazing albums they put out, he and Roth were a crucial part of the vocal element of the band. With only Roth on vocals this time out . . . well, I just can’t imagine not hearing Anthony’s key super-high vocals backing him. I can’t really see anyone fitting that bill, and I certainly can’t see Wolfgang belting out those high notes. But maybe, as the band claims, it’s “not a reunion but a rebirth.” Well, rebirth or not, this newborn is missing a limb.
Whatever reasons drove the split between Eddie and Michael should have been set aside. Michael clearly made it obvious at the 2007 Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductions ceremony that he had no hard feelings for Eddie. Why Eddie couldn’t swallow his pride and bring Michael back into the fold is beyond me and many others. He’s a part of that history with the band and, more importantly, he’s alive, so why not bring him back? I mean, he was featured on the first album cover equally with everyone else:
Left to right, top to bottom, there’s Eddie, David, Alex, and Michael. Oh, wait, I must be incorrect:
(Enlarged and sharpened by me.)
This image was taken from the bars at left and right on the Van Halen site (you can roll over them to colorize them). Once again there’s Eddie, David, Alex, and . . . Eddie?! That’s right, Michael Anthony has been replaced on the official Van Halen site with another shot of Eddie on guitar, thus proving that Van Halen is just a bunch of really classy guys. I wonder if Michael’s bass parts on the album will be replaced by Eddie, like what happened on the first two Ozzy remasters.
(Thanks must go to Disarm the Settlers, the Guided By Voices forum, where a thread about Van Halen alerted me to this album cover discrepancy.)
UPDATE: Thanks to Mark Saleski alerting me to the fact that someone in charge of the official site removed that image and put back the original album cover. Unfortunately for them, they forgot to change out the inactive image. I've grabbed a screenshot before they make another change: