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Could there be a Van Halen tribute tour or Las Vegas residency? Sammy Hagar chimes in

The singer opens up about the logistics behind getting the band back together to honor Eddie Van Halen

There have been plenty of rumors in the press recently  about a proposed Van Halen tribute-style performance to honor Eddie Van Halen, much of it fueled by the revelation that Joe Satriani had jammed with Alex Van Halen and former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted last year.

Now, in a new interview with Rolling Stone, former Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar was asked about these rumors, including whether Satriani, his band mate in Chiceknfoot, had informed him that he was playing with Alex Van Halen.

“No,” replied Hagar, “because the Van Halen camp is 100% secrecy. I bet when [Joe] walked through the door, they made him sign something, and I’m dead serious. Alex is a very, very secretive guy. I don’t know how he can keep his lips so sealed. I could probably say something horrible about him right now and he wouldn’t even respond. Don’t take that the wrong way. I have nothing bad to say about him. I’m just talking about how stubborn he is. He does not budge."

Hagar did say that Satriani told him about it later, after it happened. “I knew there was talk of it because [manager] Irving Azoff had called me. He said, ‘I want to do a residency in Vegas with you and Mike and Al and a superstar guitar player.’ And I said ‘Like who?’ And he said, “ ‘Like Joe Satriani.’ ”

Given that Satriani and former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony both play in Chickenfoot with Hagar, the singer responded to Azoff that, “It just sounds like Chickenfoot with Alex Van Halen instead of [drummer] Chad Smith.” Hagar continued, “I wasn’t much for that, as much as I love Joe. He could do that job best, without a doubt, because he’s so friggin’ anal about the way he plays, and every single note. I said to Irving, ‘I’m going to call Joe.’ When I did, he told me what happened. And I said, “Jason Newsted? What the fuck is going on here, man? Whose idea is this? This must be a Dave [Lee Roth] idea.’ And Irving said it was a Dave idea.”

According to Hagar, doing a Van Halen show with Jason Newsted instead of Michael Anthony “would be the biggest failure Van Halen ever had if they call themselves ‘Van Halen’ if they didn’t have Mikey. If it’s just Alex with other guys, that’s like what Jason Bonham does with Led Zeppelin. There’s a million bands out there doing that. It would be totally nuts. Also, I’d prefer that nobody attempts to replace Eddie Van Halen. I think that’s blasphemy and should be illegal.”

Regarding whether Hagar would up for taking part in Van Halen tribute show, either as a Las Vegas residency or a tour, he said, ‘Not a tour, no. I wouldn’t leave what I’m doing for that. I would make myself available to have a rehearsal, and see which guitar player would work the best. I’m telling you, Joe would be the best. But like I said, then it’s just kind of Chickenfoot with Alex, which there’s a problem there.”

He continued, “I’m thinking of one-off weekend or something where we give the money away to some cause. It can’t just be, ‘Hey, we’re going to grab some money.’ I got plenty of money. There’s nothing that I would do for money that I just wasn’t in love with the idea of doing. And I’m not in love with the idea of being Van Halen without Eddie Van Halen. Matter of fact, I’m dead against it. 

"But I would love to play music with Alex and Mike again. I would love to play those song again. And if we did a residency or a tribute, I would sing 50/50. I would sing half the Dave songs too for the Van Halen fans. And those songs are great. I don’t mind singing some of them. The lyrics don’t fit in my life today, but neither does [Montrose’s] ‘Rock Candy’ or ‘Bad Motor Scooter.’ ”