Chickenfoot's Michael Anthony Credits His Sister for Introducing Him to the Rock Scene
Next week Chickenfoot will be releasing 'Chickenfoot III,' their sophomore album (Yes, they skipped #2). Featuring Michael Anthony (Van Halen), Joe Satriani, Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Sammy Hagar (Van Halen, Montrose), the group's 2009 debut full length went Gold on the strength of their hook-heavy brand of hard rock. There's little doubt 'III' will follow in its predecessor's commercially successful footsteps.
Noisecreep had a chance to sit down with Anthony and discuss his Southern Calif. musical upbringing in the late '60s and early '70s.
"I was born in Chicago and by the time I was 12-years-old I lived in Southern Calif. My father played trumpet professionally and that started my understanding of music. I picked up the trumpet in junior high school and played right into college. So yeah, my dad got me started on that path. But my older sister was my biggest influence," says Anthony.
Noisecreep asked the bassist to elaborate.
"My sister was really involved with the music scene in Southern Calif. when I was growing up. I guess you can call it the hippie movement or whatever. My sister hung out with the guys from Blue Cheer, Arthur Lee and Love, and bands like that. She would bring albums home and I would check them all out. I have to really credit her for getting me into that whole rock culture."
Anthony then told Noisecreep why he first picked up the bass guitar. "In junior high everyone around me started playing in bands. But like now, everyone wanted to be either the lead singer or the guitarist and those that aren't them are the drummers [laughs]. There were never any bass players. The bass player was Bill Wyman from the Rolling Stones – you know, in the back [laughs]. He's actually a great bassist, but yeah, most bands needed a bassist back then so I started doing it. I didn't even own a bass at first. I would play the two top strings of a guitar my friend owned."
Spending his formative teen years in Southern Calif,, Anthony says that it was also a vital component to his musical success. "My family lived in a city called Arcadia and they would have these concerts in a park there. My sister would sneak out of the house to go see the shows and hang with the bands. She would tell me these stories about the guys in the bands and the shows. It made me really curious. It's crazy, but my sister even knew David Lee Roth from the rock scene in our area," laughs Anthony.
When Anthony became rock royalty in the late '70s as a member of Van Halen, there wasn't anyone prouder of him than his sister. "She would be the one standing towards the front telling people to sit down because she couldn't see her little brother. It was so embarrassing [laughs]. I would turn redder than a tomato!"
'Chickenfoot III' will be out on September 27th via eOne Music.