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  1. #1
    Eruption
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    I know that Mike's backup vocals are a signature part of Van Halen's sound, so he's quite important to the band in that sense, but it seems like in all other respects his role in the band is minimal.

    For example, he allegedly played little to none of the bass parts on the ill-fated III album. And according to Sammy, Mike has no vote in band affairs and doesn't have a real ownership stake in the band in terms of compensation. And he is perceived by many to be an employee of Van Halen and a yes-man to the brothers. (Please don't jump on me and try to argue that his recent carryings-on with and about Sam show that he's not a yes-man; I'm speaking generally and looking at this from a long-term perspective, not the past few months.)

    My question is this: does anyone know if Mike's apparent standing in the band was different back in the day? In other words, in the Club Days or during the VH1 and VHII era, did Mike have a "vote" in the band that he no longer does? Way back when, did Mike get a full 25% share in what the band earned? Or was he always something more like an employee?

    I could imagine Mike having been a "full" member of Van Halen in terms of say-so and compensation, back in the day, but then once the band got signed and starting churning out platinum albums the fact that he doesn't write the music (I know the whole band has/had gotten equal credit, but from what I understand Mike doesn't really write any music), doesn't handle business stuff, isn't a world-class bassist (which is not to say that he's not a *good* or even *great* bassist), and doesn't contribute to the "public image" of the band made the rest of the band (perhaps at the suggestion of lawyers, accountants and management) reduce his status in order to given themselves more power and/or money at his expense.

    Can anyone shed any light?

    [ January 30, 2003, 10:45 AM: Message edited by: Sweet William ]

  2. #2
    Hot For Teacher Pat's Avatar
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    09.29.16 @ 12:38 AM
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    As much as I hate to admit it, in all probability Mike doesn't have that much influence in terms of the overall direction of the band. Eddie and Alex, being the caliber of musicians they are, may somehow feel it's a privilege for Mike to be included at all - this is not my feeling, although Mike isn't on the level of a Stanley Clark in terms of bass playing, I do agree his background vocals and just the WAY he plays within the band have been an extremely important aspect of the overall sound. Regarding the bass on III, I have to admit that a lot of it may not be Mike - speaking as a bass player myself.
    Salt shaker, little lick a lime...

  3. #3
    Romeo Delight
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    01.06.12 @ 08:15 AM
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    Maybe Mike likes it that way... He may not be the bad ass, fun-loving guy he is now if he felt he had an obligation to worry about all that other crap.

    [ January 30, 2003, 11:17 AM: Message edited by: SteveDS90 ]

  4. #4
    Atomic Punk hain23x's Avatar
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    09.29.16 @ 06:43 PM
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    nothing against Alex, but if his name had been George Smith, he would be paddlin' in that same boat that Mikey's in

  5. #5
    Sinner's Swing! Zahzoo's Avatar
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    09.03.16 @ 05:50 AM
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    In all seriousness... outside of Sam's unpublished book which there is no indication of factual accuracy... I don't think anyone but Mike knows the specifics of his contractual/financial situation with the band.

    A lot has been said in that Ed has written some of the bass work and may have recorded some of the bass work. But then again no one really can say how much of what's been laid to tape is of Ed's creation or Michael's.

    One fact is clear... Live it's all Mikey!!! Frankly he's not the most complex bassman but on the other hand he lays down a very solid bottom-end and groove. Also of note... VH uses a lot of different and non-standard time signitures in their compositions which takes some gonads to keep in sync with on the bass in order for it to work musically.

    The band may not divy things up musically or financially in a straight 25% cut on things... But Mike ain't no slouch and frankly to have survived the chaos and many a wars within the VH circle he's gotta have some cajones as well. [img]graemlins/thumb.gif[/img] [img]graemlins/thumb.gif[/img]
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  6. #6
    Good Enough
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    09.28.16 @ 01:38 PM
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    Isn't it also true that Mike actually joined the band after DAve? I think Mike was probably a hired musician from day one. I remember reading an interview where he mentions what a flake Dave was the first time he saw "Mammoth", but despite it he just "had to play with these guys" since he was so impressed with them musically. Maybe when he joined the band he came in as a junior partner. No doubt he is a intergal part of the VH sound and should get his due. However, it's not my band. [img]graemlins/brickwall.gif[/img]
    "People say Cream gave birth to Heavy Metal," says Baker. "If that's so, we should have had an abortion."

  7. #7
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    01.24.13 @ 12:44 PM
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    I do recall, a long time ago - reading that Mikey earned a 1/4 share of the money. But maybe what I read was wrong.

    It seems the first I heard of Mike being only an employee was during the Van Hagar years.

    Though if you all recall - Ed thought about replacing Mike with Billy Sheehan during the Dave era. So that indicates that Mike has always been just a hired hand.

    He's like a dude in Heart. Ed and Al are the sisters - and he's just one of those guys in the background.

    Dave, I believe, was equal in every way. That's why he has equal publishing rights over all the classic Van Halen tunes.

    I've read that Ed sometimes tells Mike what to play. My brother is working on a doctorate in music, and I once asked him if Mike was lame. He said that the most important thing is that he can play what Ed tells him to play. The problem would be if Mike said, "Uhh, sorry Ed - that's too hard."

    Daryl Hall's solo albums didn't sell well without John Oat's background vocals and bass. And look what happened to VH3 not having the same from Mike.

  8. #8
    Good Enough Hecubus's Avatar
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    06.29.15 @ 07:04 PM
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    I thought it was widely reported that MA did nothing but a few backing vocals on '3', & that he actually played minimal bass on Balance as well....that along with the fact that it's come from a lot of different directions that he's just a hired musician just makes the sitch suckier.

    And who can really gauge what kind of a bass player he is? EVH usually writes very simple bass lines into his songs, so you never really hear the guy's true potential unless it's live & he can go off a little. He's gotta be somewhat decent to fill in behind Eddie.

    Regardless, even if he is just a 'hired hand' now, it's a pretty good gig.....

    [ January 30, 2003, 12:45 PM: Message edited by: Hecubus ]
    Q: Recording the album took so long your Australian tour last year was cancelled. What was it like in the studio? There's a history of tension between you and Eddie Van Halen...

    DLR: It was like a stand off in a Chuck Norris movie. We each had the laser dot on everybody's forehead waiting for the other guy to blink. Except for Wolfie, he had a Super Soaker ...

  9. #9
    Romeo Delight
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    11.14.12 @ 05:17 PM
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    Chain wrote:
    Isn't it also true that Mike actually joined the band after DAve?
    Chain, you are correct. Mike joined after Dave, replacing then-bassist Mark Stone.

    During the radio interview promoting Best Of Vol I, Mike told the story of how he joined the band. In a nutshell, he said he went to audition after a call from Ed/Al, took his brother Bob with him, "Roth was not there," he, Ed and Al jammed and jammed, they put him through every kind of beat change imaginable, at the end they asked him to join, and he said "sure."

    And a thought about Mike not playing bass playing on III: Has anyone compared his known Hagar-era studio style to his sound on the Planet Us demo tracks that were floating around a few months back?

    I realize it's a different band with a different vibe, and that Mike has plenty of chops to be able to vary his style depending on the vibe. Just wondering if anyone noticed anything different about his recent studio playing because I haven't heard the Planet Us stuff.

    [ January 30, 2003, 03:23 PM: Message edited by: brownsoundjunkie ]

  10. #10
    Sinner's Swing! ED-A-HOLIC's Avatar
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    09.27.16 @ 04:24 PM
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    In my personal opinion, Mike is a very easy going person, and usually goes with the waves.

    Mike usually agrees with anything that is done by Eddie and Alex, it worked for a long time at least 20 years, so he didn't need to stand up and say anything.

    Mike's role in the band WILL BE TO BRING SAMMY HAGAR back in VAN HALEN!!!!!!
    "I could call it anything, but the only word I can think of is Brown. It's just a warm sound. Warm, big, majestic" - Eddie Van Halen on his Tone

    "Van Halen is definitely a ladies band, and Iīve got the Polaroids to prove it". - David Lee Roth

    WOLFGANG did the IMPOSSIBLE, he brought back VAN HALEN, DEAL WITH IT.

  11. #11
    Eruption
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    09.04.16 @ 11:05 PM
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    I think Mike had a bigger influence in the very early days. If you are listening to some bootlegs from the club days, Mikey even did some song introducing and shared the spotlight with Dave more then Ed did (not musically but in terms of stage presents).
    This all changed when Ed became guitar god and took over control of the band more and more.

    I think Ed thought about replacing him since 1980. Obviously Billy Sheehan would have been his first choice, and I also heard that he wanted Jeff Berlin, with whom he jammed along with Allan Holdsworth, to take the Bass part in VH.
    Anybody remember the story that Billy used to tell, when he joined Daveīs band?
    Dave called him to join the band, and since there were some talkings with Ed and the boys about him joining VH a few years before, he thought that Dave talked about VH. So he called Ed to discusse the new band and Ed didnīt know what the fuck Billy talked about and then clarified that Dave left VH.

  12. #12
    Top Of The World
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    12.31.69 @ 04:00 PM
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    From what I gather Ed has really nothing to do with the business end of Van Halen at all. It's pretty much Al with Dave and then Sammy but I'd say the buck stopped with Al. Both Dave and Sammy have made mention of Eddie trying out new bassists during the ill fated Reunion. Dave mentions it in his book and Sammy has mentioned it in interview after interview.

    Personally I don't think Mike is a bad bassist at all. Is he Billy Sheehan? No, but that's not a bad thing and personally I'm glad he's not. Some of those Mr Big tunes just had no room to fucking breath. Plus as much as Eddie claims Mike is a slouch I think Eddie actually likes it that Mike doesn't chop out and is probably the main reason why he never got Billy in the band. Mike does have chops he shows it in his live playing and as someone mentioned VH's music does some weird shit with the time signature not too mention singing....either back ups or lead and playing at the same time is no easy feat but Mike is an old pro at it.

    Mike is fucking great and I bet he actually did play on a number of the earlier albums but I'm thinking once Ed got 5150 built there is less of Mike. Ed seems like a huge control freak in the studio. Some of his arguements had merit like with Dave and Ted turning Diver Down into a cover album but it sounds like Ed has overstepped his boundaries.

    VH will never get their shit together though. I'm excited for Sammy and Mike's side deal personally. As much as I respect Eddie he's got LGD at times
    Know Ralph<br />Know Van Halen<br /><br />No Ralph<br />No Van Halen

  13. #13
    Baluchitherium dirtymovies's Avatar
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    08.25.16 @ 11:11 PM
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    Donor

    Originally posted by Zahzoo:

    One fact is clear... Live it's all Mikey!!! Frankly he's not the most complex bassman but on the other hand he lays down a very solid bottom-end and groove. Also of note... VH uses a lot of different and non-standard time signitures in their compositions which takes some gonads to keep in sync with on the bass in order for it to work musically.
    Yeah, I just read a Mike interview the other day and he was describing how he auditioned for the band after DLR had already joined. He said he met Ed and Al in a garage and they were playing all kinds of non-standard time stuff.Mike said he was blown away & very intrigued by that.

 

 

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