Joe Satriani confirmed to have had discussions with Alex Van Halen and David Lee Roth to participate in an all-star FROM HALEN tribute project.
The 65-year-old guitarist addressed the rumor just days after the former METALLIC bass player Jason Newsted revealed to the Palm Beach Post that he was approached by the FROM HALEN drummer about six months ago about playing bass for the project. News told the Florida newspaper that he had agreed to go to California to jam with alexander and Jo and see if it felt right to him, but he eventually realized that it would be impossible to do justice to FROM HALENthe inheritance. “How can you?” Jason mentioned. “There’s no one who can top him, so how do you show him honor? I didn’t want it to be seen as a cash grab. And then it all kind of fell apart.”
Satrianipromoting his new solo album “The Elephants of March”was asked about Newsin a new interview with classic rock show “Rock Of Nations With Dave Kinchen.”
Jo said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I spoke with alexander and David for about a year about doing something – a tour, something like that – that was going to be a real tribute to [late VAN HALEN guitarist] Eddie [Van Halen] and the FROM HALEN legacy.
“For me, it was a terrifying prospect to do something like this, but I realized it would be something that would be a real labor of love for me. I was so honored to take on the challenge.
“It’s very complicated,” Satriani continued. “And all I can really say about it is if it happens I know we’ll make it the biggest thing ever for the fans and we’ll all celebrate together not just the big Eddie Van Halen but the legacy that this band has created, the incredible amount of music and the goodwill and good vibes that they’ve created as a band.”
Satriani said he was surprised to learn that Jason had revealed the existence of the project before everything was finalized and an official announcement was made.
“These things always happen in the music industry, and you’re supposed to keep quiet about it. [laughs], because sometimes it just doesn’t work,” he said. “There’s usually about ten crazy ideas going around and musicians always say, ‘Okay, I won’t say anything about that because it might not work. I don’t want to hurt that person’s feelings or disrupt other business plans. So yeah, we were all pretty shocked that Jason I wanted to make it public because we had all sworn to keep quiet. [Laughs]”
Satriani also talked about what it was like to be in regular contact with alexander while gathering all the pieces of a possible FROM HALEN to visit.
“I must say that just getting to know alexander has been truly wonderful,” Jo mentioned. “He’s a wonderful human being and obviously I can’t imagine losing a brother like this so soon. And they were really close, their relationship was really unique.” As for Roththe guitarist said, “I don’t know David so good. I think I only met him once – maybe when Steve [Vai] invited us to see the David Lee Roth to visit. I was in Australia with Mick Jagger at the time, so we all went; It was quite an experience. But, yes, I only spoke to David on the phone a number of times over the — I don’t know — 25 years or so. But he is David Lee Roth; they are FROM HALEN. It’s a big problem.
“As I said before, if this ever happens, it will be a great honor and a terrifying challenge,” Satriani mentioned. “Eddie, you can’t replicate what he did — you can’t. You can learn the notes and you can learn all the fingerings and get the equipment and everything, but there was only one Eddie and he was the embodiment of an original genius. But if it happens, I know that alexander will make sure it’s the right way to do it.”
Satriani then compared the experience of playing the classic FROM HALEN challenge songs to play in the band CHICKEN FOOT in which he is joined by former FROM HALEN singer Samy Hagarex-FROM HALEN bass player Michael Anthony and HOT RED PEPPERS drummer Chad Smith.
“I looked at it from a musical point of view,” he said. “I’ve spent most of my life trying to memorize my own catalog – there’s a lot of notes to memorize and put on a show and stay focused on it. So whenever something like that happens, like CHICKEN FOOT, it’s like, ‘Okay, I need to make room in my brain for a whole different way to play.’ The great thing is when you get together with the guys from CHICKEN FOOT, their personalities are so huge and they bring so much talent that you don’t really have to be that big; you’re just part of something.
“But the idea of representing all the eras of FROM HALEN, it’s quite intimidating; that’s a lot,” he admitted. “And just from a guitarist’s perspective, Eddie remarkably progressed as a gamer and as an inventor, and those two things, they kind of went together ‘Van Halen I’ until the last album. And when you sit down to learn it and pull it off, you’re like, ‘Wow! Not only do I need talent, but I need [to use specific] equipment,” because some things will only work if you have this amp and it does that. So that’s also something else.”
last June, Eddie Van Halenthe son Wolfgang Van Halenwho joins his father in FROM HALEN for the band’s 2007 reunion tour with Rothsubstitute AnthonyTold SiriusXMit is “Trunk Nation with Eddie Trunk” it would be “great” to possibly organize a Eddie Van Halen tribute show. “It’s not in the immediate plans, because there are a lot of moving parts to corral for that to happen. But I really think it should happen. Absolutely,” he said.
When asked how he envisions the tribute concert in terms of which musicians should be involved, Wolfgang said: “I have no idea. All I know is that the focus should be one hundred percent on pop. Even though it might be a celebration of FROM HALEN and the history of the band, I think more than anything should be centered around him… That’s a big question and a big thing to understand. But I think it should happen at some point.”
In November 2020, Wolfgang Told entertainment tonight that proceeds from any tribute show honoring his father will go towards Eddiefavorite charity Mr. Holland’s Opus, which helps disadvantaged students gain access to musical instruments. Recipes from the first solo single from Wolfgangthe solo group of MAMMOTH WVH, “Distance”also benefit Mr. Holland’s Opus.
In February 2021, Agar Told Kyle Meredith that he will make every effort to participate in the Eddie Van Halen tribute concert.
“I have nothing to do with the [Eddie Van Halen] legacy,” he said. “It’s their business – it’s wolfie, Alex Van Halen; they are family members. Anyone who wants to call me and say, “Here’s the date,” I’ll be there. I don’t care where I am. I will cancel one [solo] Pin up [if I need to]. [Laughs] [That’s] Something FROM HALEN would like to never To do. I always make this joke – canceling a show was [out of the question with] FROM HALEN. I went out sick without being able to sing, Eddie out with a crutch, alexander walked out with a fucking neck brace – we wouldn’t cancel the shows. But I will cancel my performance in tribute to Eddie any daytime.”
Eddie died in October 2020 at the age of 65. The legendary FROM HALEN guitarist died at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California.
Eddie was diagnosed with oral cancer in 2000 and underwent tongue surgery. He later battled lung cancer and received radiation therapy in Germany. Things got worse in early 2019 when Eddie had a motorcycle accident. He was later diagnosed with a brain tumor and underwent gamma knife radiosurgery to treat the disease.
Joe Satriani Photo credit: Eduardo Pena Dolhun