VAN HALEN manager Irving Azoff has confirmed to Pollstar that a reunion of the band’s classic lineup — featuring bassist Michael Anthony — very nearly happened for a 2019 stadium tour. Special guests like FOO FIGHTERS and METALLICA were tentatively scheduled to join VAN HALEN in select cities. Unfortunately, due to Eddie Van Halen‘s cancer-related health complications, the trek never materialized.
“We had lots of stops and starts, but there was every intention of doing a summer stadium tour [in 2019], and as the cancer moved around, [Van Halen] was physically unable to do it,” Azoff said.
Irving also addressed the possibility of previously unreleased recordings from Eddie seeing the light of day, saying: “Wolf [Eddie‘s son] and Alex [Eddie‘s brother] will go up to 5150, the studio in Ed‘s house, but there’s been a lot of recording over the years. I can’t predict that for sure there will be anything new, but for sure they’re going to look at it.”
In early 2019, a rumor surfaced that the classic VAN HALEN lineup would reunite that summer for a run of stadium shows. This would have been the first time that the four founding members of the band, including Michael, Eddie, Alex and singer David Lee Roth, performed together since 1984.
The rumors originally started with Roth, who hinted to Vulture that VAN HALEN would be playing stadiums with Anthony back in the lineup.
VAN HALEN and Anthony had not been on good terms for more than a decade, with Anthony not invited to join the reunion with Roth that began in 2007. The subsequent two tours and studio album, “A Different Kind Of Truth”, featured Wolfgang on bass.
Anthony‘s THE CIRCLE bandmate Hagar — himself a former VH member — was the first to publicly confirm that Michael was contacted in 2018 by VAN HALEN‘s management about reuniting with the group for a tour.
Anthony took a pay cut and signed away all of his rights to the band name and logo in order to participate in VAN HALEN‘s 2004 tour, which featured Hagar.
During a June 2019 appearance on SiriusXM‘s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk”, the former VAN HALEN bassist — who spent much of the last few years on the road with SAMMY HAGAR & THE CIRCLE — confirmed that he was approached by VAN HALEN‘s management two years ago about re-teaming with the group.
“I spoke with Irving Azoff [in] October  — that’s when I first heard from him — and he asked if I would be interested in any kind of a reunion, and I told him, I said, ‘Yeah.’ I was finishing up a couple of shows with Sammy and I said, ‘Yeah, I’d be interested to hear what you guys have going on,” Michael recalled. “I’ve got these few dates left, and give me a call.’ And I never heard a call back. And then, right after the first of the year, I got… David Lee Roth‘s, Dave‘s business manager or lawyer, or something, got ahold of me about a meeting or something. And so at that point, I gave it over to our manager, because I didn’t wanna start getting in this whole thing — I wanted to do it the correct way, especially after the way things went for me in 2004.
“From what I’ve heard, and I haven’t spoken to any of the guys, they were gonna try to plan a thing for [that] summer,” Anthony added. “And for whatever reason… I was never… My people were never… They never got in touch with us about any kind of a contract or any kind of a meeting to discuss or whatever. And the next thing I knew, the plug got pulled on it.”