Michael Anthony admitted to suspecting that David Lee Roth had revenge motives in forming his solo band after leaving Van Halen.

The bassist said he’d been impressed when he heard tracks from Roth’s 1986 release Eat ‘Em And Smile, which arrived around the same time as Van Halen’s 5150 – their first with new singer Sammy Hagar.

“That’s a great album,” Anthony told Ultimate Guitar in a recent interview. “I’m friends with Billy [Sheehan]. And Steve [Vai]. Obviously, they’re both great frickin’ players.”

READ MORE: Van Halen’s ‘5150’ vs. David Lee Roth’s ‘Eat ‘Em and Smile’

He continued: “At first my thoughts were, ‘Is Dave just trying to put together a band to try to kick our ass? To try to put together the best players that he could get?’ Because obviously, between Greg [Bissonette] and Steve and Billy… you got some great musicianship.”

He reflected: “The playing was great on that album. Those guys are all great. And on top of that, it was just Dave being Dave.”

In the same interview, Anthony was asked to compare the qualities of Roth and Hagar. “Dave… read books, magazines, everything under the sun,” he replied. “[L]yrics and stuff like that… that’s all he was really about.

Michael Anthony on What Sammy Hagar Brought to Van Halen

“When Sammy joined the band… being a guitar player, his knowledge of chord structure and stuff like that brought a different element to Van Halen. Because where Dave focused mainly on his lyrics and trying to do a melody for that, Sammy would be like, ‘Well, what if we try this chord or try this progression?’”

Anthony noted: “Sammy sings how he sings, Dave sings how he sings. But I really enjoyed how Sammy brought that other musical element to the band.”

Van Halen Albums Ranked

A ranking of every Van Halen album.

Gallery Credit: Ultimate Classic Rock Staff

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