During an interview with Rolling Stone, Sammy Hagar further discussed the possibility of a Van Halen tribute concert. The singer says he “would definitely love to play with Alex [Van Halen] and Mike [Anthony] with a great guitar player that doesn’t try to just mimic Eddie [Van Halen] perfectly.”
Hagar said the following when asked if Joe Satriani told him when he was approached about a hypothetical tribute:
“No, because the Van Halen camp is 100% secrecy. I bet when he 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. But Joe told me about it later, after it happened. I knew there was talk of it because 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.’ I said, ‘It just sounds like Chickenfoot with Alex Van Halen instead of Chad Smith.’ 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.
Why would he want anyone but Mike? It’s probably because he knows that Mike and I are so close. I would imagine if they would’ve called Mike, Mike would’ve said, ‘Yes, I’ll do it with Sam.’ Because without Ed, there is no Van Halen to start with. So now, you’re going to go out and just play the early songs, and not play the second era? That 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.
Anyway, I think that Irving boohooed it, and Dave went around him and did it anyway. I’m surprised that Alex went that far, but Alex might have just been his methodical self and said, ‘Well, let’s see what this is like. Let’s see how it feels.'”
He continued when asked if he would do a Las Vegas residency or some kind of tour with Alex and Mike:
“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. And I think that’s probably what they were thinking when they tried to get a different bass player, but that’s stupid, too.
I would definitely love to play with Alex and Mike with a great guitar player that doesn’t try to just mimic Eddie perfectly. There’s so many great guitar players. There’s Steve Vai. There’s frigging John 5, who is a great guitar player.”
He went on to say that he would consider a one-off event:
“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 songs 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 ‘Rock Candy’ or ‘Bad Motor Scooter’.
But I just think it’s crazy to do anything that’s called Van Halen without Eddie. I would love it if Dave wanted to do a tribute where he’d sing ten of his songs, and then I’d come out and do ten of mine. That would be great with Alex and Mike and maybe a bunch of different guitar players. Look at what Dave [Grohl] just did for Taylor [Hawkins]. That’s one of the greatest events in rock history. That’s right up there with the early Farm Aids, and right up there with Live Aid. That was a great event, and that could be done for Ed with everybody playing.”
Hagar also added the following when asked if he has spoken to Eddie’s son Wolfgang:
“Yes, but not a ton. I really gave him a lot of love when he made his first record, and he gave me some back. It was very cordial, not like, ‘Hey, let’s get together’ and stuff like that. I mean, Wolfie blows my mind. Look what he did over in London for that Taylor thing. When he played Eddie’s stuff, man, that was fuckin’ really good. He just keeps impressing me with his talent. That song ‘Distance’ is so soulful. I had no idea he could sing like that. He’s really got his pop’s talent. It’s kind of like Jason and John Bonham. I mean, Jason’s just like his dad, man. He plays fuckin’ that good. And I think Wolfie, maybe not as innovative because nobody is, but yes, he’s definitely doing it right. I praise him for not trying to be Eddie.
But now, I’ll make a statement. If there was ever a situation where there was a Van Halen tribute in some kind of way with Alex, Mike, myself, Dave, if he would cooperate, and Wolfie playing Eddie’s parts, now that would be worthy of calling ‘Van Halen,’ for a moment. Wolfie would be crazy to drop his life and his creativity and his career to be his dad’s mimic. But for a moment, it could be great.”