AKA Michael Anthony Sobolewski
Birthplace: Chicago, IL
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Bassist for Van Halen
The second of five children born to a Chicago family, Michael Anthony Sobolewski began his study of music during the second grade, performing on the trumpet as part of the school band. In the mid-1960s he was relocated to Arcadia, California, where he continued his musical training by participating in marching band, while also pursuing athletics such as track and baseball. While in his teens, Michael was intoduced by his older sister to the music of rock bands such as Blue Cheer; by his first year at college he had traded in his trumpet for the electric bass. Two years towards a psychology major had been completed when he decided to switch his major to music, but ultimately his determination to find a career in music motivated him to drop out of college altogether.
By this time, Anthony had already worked his way through a series of local bands: Poverty's Children, Black Opal, Balls, and, finally, Snake. It was while performing with Snake that he found himself opening for another local act, Mammoth, fronted by young guitarist Eddie Van Halen and featuring his brother Alex Van Halen on drums. A year later he found himself drafted into the ranks of Mammoth (now also including vocalist David Lee Roth) after the previous bassist was given the sack; almost immediately the band changed their name to Van Halen, and their climb to becoming arena-rock headliners was underway. The reputation of the four players spread quickly; after a couple of years spent on the local club circuit, the life-devouring entity of Warner Brothers had cast its unnatural eye in their direction and a record deal was in place. In 1978 the band released its self-titled debut, establishing an influential new paradigm in the heavy rock music scene.
Throughout the decades of the band's existence that followed, Anthony remained the quiet one -- at least in terms of media attention and internal strife -- leaving the public feuds to bandleader Eddie and vocalist Roth (and, later, to his 1985 replacement Sammy Hagar). He appears instead to have preferred to expend his non-performing energies on various collections (hod rods, hot sauce, and Mickey Mouse watches), or in spending time with his wife and two daughters. In addition to his long-standing role in Van Halen, for a couple of years in the mid-1990s Anthony participated in the band project Los Tres Gusanos ("The Three Worms"), which also featured then-bandmate Hagar on guitar and vocals. Following a brief term with vocalist Gary Cherone, Van Halen entered a period of dormancy in the early 2000s, primarily due to guitarist Edward's struggles with various heath problems. Rumors of the band's permanent dissolution seemed increasingly likely, but in 2004 Anthony and his bandmates hit the road once again with Sammy Hagar at the microphone stand.
Father: Walter Sobolewski
Wife: Sue (who proposed to him in a McDonald's drive-thru, m. 1981)
High School: Arcadia High School, Arcadia, CA (1972)
University: Pasadena City College
Van Halen Bassist/Vocalist (1974-present)
Los Tres Gusanos Bassist (1994-96)
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