David Lee Roth is holding up Van Halen tribute project, according to Eddie Trunk

[L-R] David Lee Roth and Eddie Trunk
[L-R] David Lee Roth and Eddie Trunk (Image credit: Getty Images)

Back in April, former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted revealed that he’d been approached by Alex Van Halen and Joe Satriani to take part in a Van Halen tribute project. He said that discussions even went far enough that the trio met up in California to jam, but added that the idea eventually “fizzled”, explaining that it would be impossible to do justice to Van Halen’s legacy.

Joe Satriani subsequently confirmed that such a tribute project had been discussed, but that it had ultimately been shelved. 

The virtuoso spoke of the “terrifying” prospect of playing Eddie Van Halen’s guitar parts, adding that “any sane guitar player would just turn around and start running away as fast as possible because you can't measure up to Eddie”.

But now, SiriusXM radio personality Eddie Trunk has claimed that the project may still be on the cards, and that it is David Lee Roth – who would theoretically shoulder frontman duties – who is holding things up.

Speaking on an episode of his radio show on Friday (July 1), Trunk explained (via Blabbermouth): “I had a very reliable source tell me last night at The Black Crowes’ show that the hold up on the Van Halen [project] happening is [that] a lot of it [is] falling on David Lee Roth. That David Lee Roth – to no surprise; it shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody – is a difficult guy to wrangle, a difficult guy to get an answer on, a difficult guy to get focused on anything, a difficult guy to get to sign off on anything.”

“He is all over the map, as you would expect and have seen throughout history, and that the big hold up in anything happening with Van Halen is not Alex, who wants to do it and is trying; it’s actually Roth who needs to sign off and be involved.

Trunk continued: “The stumbling block is trying to get Alex and Dave on the same page and Dave wanting to do this and [figure out] how they’re gonna do it.”

[L-R] Alex Van Halen and David Lee Roth

(Image credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

He also touched upon the comparative speed at which the Foo Fighters organized two tribute shows for Taylor Hawkins – who passed away earlier this year.

“You’ve got two Taylor Hawkins [tribute concerts] in two different countries [announced] two months after Taylor passed or so, and here we are coming up on two years [after Eddie Van Halen’s death] and they can’t figure out anything for Eddie,” he said. “It’s crazy. Hopefully that’ll be corrected.”

Back in May, former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony confirmed that he had also been approached to take part in a Van Halen tribute project.

He said that he had spoken to both Alex Van Halen and David Lee Roth last year, adding that they had a “conference call about having a conference call to discuss it”, but that the second call never happened.

“I told them that I’d obviously be interested,” he said. “And it would be more like a celebration of the music rather than putting together something and calling it Van Halen because that just wouldn’t be right at this point.”

He added that if such a project were to ever take place, it would likely take the form of a single concert rather than a fully-fledged tour.

“You take something like this on tour and people are gonna think it’s a cash grab,” Anthony explained. “I’d rather have a memorial-type thing, done at a venue. And there were actually a couple of venues discussed. But do it that way instead of taking it on the road. And make it just a real celebration of the music…

But despite Trunk’s comments that it’s David Lee Roth holding up proceedings, Anthony said that the entire project ultimately rests on Alex Van Halen.

“He’s gotta be the person, really, that wants to do this and give his blessing to the whole thing for it to move forward,” he explained. “When we speak, we really don’t even speak about doing anything like that at this point. He’s still healing. And if it gets to that point, I’m sure Alex will be the first one that’ll wanna do something like that.”

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at GuitarWorld.com from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.