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Sammy Hagar and the Circle: Michael Anthony juggles several interests - musical and otherwise

Bassist Michael Anthony is a man of many interests.

In his online store at madanthonycafe.com, next to T-shirts, dog tags and mini replicas of the many bass guitars he plays, Anthony sells his own brand of hot and barbecue sauces.

For $7.99, sauce aficionados can buy a bottle of Mad Anthony’s Hot Sauce, Fiery Mustard Sauce, XXXTra Hot Private Reserve Hot Sauce or barbecue sauce, which comes in original and extra hot.

For $22.95, you can buy a hot sauce three-pack, and $33.95 will get you an autographed bottle of Fiery Mustard Sauce (for display purposes only).

After years of eating, and loving, hot food, fans caught on and began to send Anthony homemade hot sauces.

“Every time we get to a show, someone goes ‘Here, some fan dropped this off’ and it’d be some kind of sauce,” Anthony said. “Then people started going ‘You ought to just make your own hot sauce.’ ”

After making connections at a music trade show called the National Association of Music Merchants, Anthony did just that.

“It’s great because I was able to develop the hot sauce with these people and not just be a celebrity that put his name on something and has nothing really to do with it except for the name that’s on there,” he said. “That makes it a little more gratifying that way.”

Also displayed prominently on his website is Anthony’s collection of hot rods.

There’s a 1933 Hillboy Roadster, a 1940 Ford Convertible, the stereo system of which features Anthony’s custom built power amps, a 1957 Chevy Nomad Wagon, a 1969 Shelby GT500 Mustang, which belongs to Anthony’s wife Sue, and a 2005 Ford GT.

“I can thank Mr. Hagar for all that,” Anthony said, referring to Sammy Hagar. “I owned one car until I met that guy… That’s one of the reasons Sammy and I get along so well. We’re always talking cars.”

Anthony and Hagar also get along so well because the pair has performed together for decades in Van Halen, Los Tres Gusanos, Sammy Hagar and the Waboritas, Chickenfoot, a supergroup that also features Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Joe Satriani, and now the Circle.

Sammy Hagar and the Circle, rounded out by guitarist Vic Johnson (The BusBoys, Sammy Hagar and the Waboritas) and drummer Jason Bonham (son of legendary Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham), will perform at Northern Quest Resort and Casino on Friday.

The Circle performs songs from Anthony and Hagar’s time with Van Halen, Hagar’s solo material, and, because Bonham is in the band, Led Zeppelin.

With so much material to choose from, crafting a set list can be a challenge.

“Partly we put together a set list based on how long we want to play and what Sammy feels comfortable singing,” Anthony said. “Obviously you don’t want to put a set list together that’s going to involve songs where he’s singing at the top of his range every song because that might make for a shorter tour than we would like.”

Though they focus on the hits, Anthony said the Circle isn’t opposed to the idea of one day releasing new material.

Before they perform, the band gets together and jams. If an idea arises out of those jam sessions, someone will record it on their phone.

“Even if it’s just a few songs here and there, that very well could happen,” Anthony said.

After this tour, Sammy Hagar and the Circle will take a short break before hitting the road with alt-rockers Collective Soul in the fall.

After that, they’ll head down to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for Sammy’s Birthday Bash, an annual, multi-day party featuring the who’s-who of rock.

Anthony also has hot sauce deals in the works, and he doesn’t shoot down the idea that Chickenfoot, which has been dormant in recent years save for the release of a compilation album called “Best + Live” earlier this year, could start making music again.

In the end, that’s what it all comes back to for Anthony.

“We’re just having a great time doing it,” Anthony said of the Circle’s current tour. “It’s like being on a vacation with your friends. And we get to go out and play music for a couple hours on top of it.”


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