Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony knew he was serious about music when he kept playing after his friends quit to pursue other jobs or college.

"We all got together and played," Anthony said during a telephone interview from Concord, Calif. "But I wanted more. And when they moved on to other things, I stuck with music."Van Halen - Anthony, new singer Gary Cherone, guitarist Edward Van Halen and drummer Alex Van Halen - will play the Canyons on Tuesday, July 14. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m. with 19-year-old blues guitarist Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

Van Halen (the band) has been a staple member of the hard-rock scene since 1978. That was the year the band's debut - "Van Halen I" - was released.

That album sold more than 6 million copies. In fact, all the Van Halen albums, with the exception of the latest outing - "Van Halen 3" - have gone multi-platinum (sold more than 1 million copies apiece).

"Van Halen 3" hasn't even broken gold status (500,000 copies sold), according to Billboard Magazine's July 4 issue. That was the week the album, which debuted at No. 4, fell off the Top 200 Album chart.

Those statistics don't bother Anthony, who has been the only non-Van Halen family member to remain with the band.

"We're not so much worried about topping the last album we make," he said. "And we're not ones to second-guess ourselves and our fans. We haven't changed our style to fit any trend. It's all been done on our own terms."

Those terms involved three lead singers. David Lee Roth left . . . or was fired . . . in 1985, and was replaced by Sammy Hagar. That union lasted until 1996, when Hagar was replaced by former Extreme singer Cherone.

"When a band and its lead singer part ways, there are two things you can do," Anthony explained. "You can hang it up or go on. We've decided to go on."