By Mike Faloon
When I was in junior high my friends and I loved Van Halen. They were big and brash and over the top. Completely unlike us. Van Halen had Eddie, the flashy guitar player, and David Lee Roth, the loudmouth frontman. They also had Alex Van Halen who drum sound was inescapable, especially the cymbals which were way too high in the mix. And then there was Michael Anthony. Solid, no mistakes that we could pinpoint but none of the shock and guffaws that Eddie and David served up. Michael Anthony was an order of regular in an otherwise supersize setting. We made fun of him. Later, talking to other Van Halen fans, active or recovering, I found that mocking him was common.
Mike Anthony is like the scrappy second baseman who fields really well but barely hits .270. He's like Marvin on the Superfriends. The regular dude cavorting with the elite. The one we could be. And maybe that was the problem. When it comes to rock music we don't want to see ourselves. The illusion is spoiled. Gets in the way of thinking that, even for three minutes, we're in that Camaro or shredding that Ibanez Destroyer.