During a recent appearance on “Rock Of Nations With Dave Kinchen,” Joe Satriani confirmed that he was in talks about doing a Van Halen tribute tour with Alex Van Halen and David Lee Roth. This news comes after Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica) previously revealed that he was approached about taking part in the project.
Satriani said the following:
“I’ve been talking with Alex and Dave for about a year about doing something — a tour, something like that — that was gonna be a true tribute to Eddie [Van Halen] and the VAN HALEN legacy.
For me, it was a terrifying prospect of doing something like that, but I realized that it was something that would be a real labor of love for me. I was just so honored to take on the challenge.
It’s very complicated. And all I can really say about it is that if it does happen, I know we’ll make it the greatest thing ever for the fans and we’ll all celebrate together not only the great Eddie Van Halen but the legacy that that band created, the amazing amount of music and the goodwill and good vibes they created as a band.”
The guitarist went on to say that he was surprised Newsted broke the news about the project:
“These things are always happening in the music industry, and you’re supposed to keep very quiet about it [laughs], because sometimes they don’t work out. There’s usually about 10 crazy ideas that float around and musicians are always, like, ‘Okay, I won’t say anything about this ’cause it may not work out. I don’t wanna hurt this person’s feelings or disrupt any other business plans.’ So, yeah, we were all pretty shocked that Jason wanted to go public with it ’cause we were all sworn to silence. [Laughs]”
He also added:
“I have to say that just getting to know Alex has been really wonderful. He’s a great human being, and, obviously, I can’t imagine losing a brother that way, so soon. And they were really close; their relationship was really quite unique.
I don’t know Dave that well. I think I’ve only met him once — maybe when Steve [Vai] invited us to see the David Lee Roth tour. I was in Australia with Mick Jagger at the time, so we all went; it was quite an experience. But, yeah, I’ve only spoken to Dave on the phone a number of times over the last — I don’t know — 25 years or so. But he’s David Lee Roth; they’re VAN HALEN. It’s a big deal.
Like I said before, if it ever does happen, it will be a great honor and a terrifying challenge. Eddie, you can’t reproduce what he did — you can’t. You can learn the notes and you can be taught all the fingerings and get the gear and everything, but there was only one Eddie and he was the epitome of an original genius. But if it does happen, I know that Alex will make sure that it’s the right way to do it.”
Satriani also compared the project to Chickenfoot, which finds him joined by ex-Van Halen members Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony:
“I looked at it from a musical point of view. I spent most of my life trying to memorize my own catalog — there are a lot of notes to memorize and to pull off a show and to stay focused on it. So every time something like this comes up, like CHICKENFOOT, it’s, like, ‘Okay, I’ve gotta make space in my brain for a whole other way of playing.’ The great thing is when you get together with the guys in CHICKENFOOT, their personalities are so huge and they bring so much talent that you don’t really have to be so big; you just be a part of something.
But the thought of representing all the eras of VAN HALEN, that’s pretty daunting; that’s a lot of stuff. And just from a guitar player’s point of view, Eddie progressed remarkably as a player and as an inventor, and those two things, they kind of went together from ‘Van Halen I’ all the way to the last album. And when you sit down to actually learn it and pull it off, you go, ‘Wow! Not only do I need talent but I need [to use specific] gear,’ ’cause certain things won’t work unless you’ve got this amp and it’s doing that. So that’s also another thing.”