Michael Anthony Says Eddie Van Halen’s Broad Tonal Range Made It Difficult To ‘Get The Bass Tucked In’
Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony opened up about the band’s eighth studio album ‘OU812’ during an appearance on the Jeremy White Podcast and revealed that the lack of bass in the album was due to guitarist Eddie Van Halen’s broad tonal range and drummer Alex Van Halen’s loud drums.
As many of you might know, ‘OU812′ is the eighth studio album Van Halen which was released in 1988 and is the second to feature lead vocalist Sammy Hagar. Despite the fact that reviews for the album were initially mixed, it managed to peak at number one at the US Billboard 200.
However, a great deal of criticism towards ‘OU812’ was because of the fact the bass guitar parts fall flat in the tracks compared to the vocals and other instruments. Over the years, there have been allegations that the lack of bass guitar may be related to the Van Halen brothers’ allegedly growing dislike towards bassist Michael Anthony, however, he revealed the real reason behind it during a recent interview.
Apparently, the reason behind the thin bass parts in ‘OU812’ was Eddie Van Halen’s broad tonal range and Alex Van Halen’s dominant drums according to Michael Anthony. He also revealed that between those elements, it was quite difficult to get the bass sound tucked in the songs.
Here is what Anthony said:
“I really don’t know. One thing that’s tough is that Eddie’s tonal range is so broad and Alex’s drums are so big that a lot of times – and this would carry on to the live show too – a lot of times, it’s kind of difficult to get the bass tucked in where it sounds great and works with everything.
In the early days, with Ted Templeman for example, Donn Landee, who was his engineer, I listened to a lot of the stuff that he had done – like Linda Ronstadt, Doobie Brothers, bands like that, where the bass is there but it’s not there.
You can feel it, you can tell the notes are moving or whatever, but it’s not really a prominent thing. I know on the early records that there was a big focus on Ed and what he was doing, so I just kind of did my thing. And it wasn’t really until Andy Johns that he said, ‘Hey, I want a real meaty, beefy, big bass sound.’ And I just went like, ‘Alright, my man!’
There’s a lot of songs that we did in the studio where the demos that we did I thought had a little more of an edge to them than how it ended up on the record. And whether that’s just the producer’s influence on that part of it, or what, I don’t know.”
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