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David Lee Roth weighs in on Van Halen tribute tour rumors: “In my mind it will require two of us for every position”

David Lee Roth
(Image credit: Jamie McCarthy/MTV VMAs 2021/Getty Images for MTV/ViacomCBS)

David Lee Roth has addressed the rumors surrounding a recently leaked, hotly discussed Van Halen tribute tour – news of which broke last week when Jason Newsted revealed he had been approached by Joe Satriani and Alex Van Halen to take part in the proposed event.

After the former Metallica bass guitar player announced he had been sounded out by Satriani and Alex Van Halen for some kind of Van Halen tour, Satch later confirmed the validity of the tribute plans by saying he’d been in talks with both Van Halen and David Lee Roth for “about a year”.

Responding to his role in proceedings, Lee Roth has further fanned the flames of speculation surrounding the prospective project, voicing his support for having two musicians for each position and name dropping who he thinks should partner Satch in the electric guitar department.

And, without a prompt, Lee Roth seemingly suggested that Steve Lukather would also be involved in the project, should it ever go ahead.

Steve Lukather

(Image credit: Per Ole Hagen/Redferns via Getty)

In a statement issued to the Van Halen News Desk (opens in new tab), Lee Roth said, “In my mind… the age of Covid is going to require two of us for every position. [Joe] Satriani and [Steve] Lukather, [Michael] Anthony and [Jason] Newsted, Al[ex Van Halen] or Tommy Lee.”

Now, it’s unclear whether Lukather was merely a speculative suggestion from Lee Roth or another hint of  who else was in the running for whatever was being planned. It’s the first time Lukather’s name has cropped up, so it's possible Lee Roth was simply tapping a potential suitor for the role.

Whatever the case, it's possible we may never find out if Lukather was actually involved, with Newsted originally reporting to Palm Beach Post that plans for a Van Halen tour have “fizzled”.

Satriani also seemingly confirmed that the project had been shelved, though left the door partially open by saying, “If it ever does happen, it would be a great honor and a terrifying challenge.”

In a recent interview with Rock of Nations with Dave Kinchen, Satch offered telling insight into the behind-closed-doors discussions, revealing he’d been involved with Alex Van Halen and David Lee Roth in planning a “true tribute to Eddie [Van Halen] and the Van Halen legacy”.

David Lee Roth

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"For me, it was a terrifying prospect of doing something like that,” Satch added, “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. 

“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.”

As for Lee Roth, any potential Van Halen tribute tour would ultimately bring the band’s former vocalist out of retirement, after he announced back in October last year that he was retiring from music.

In January, Lee Roth went on to cancel his entire Las Vegas residency – comprising seven shows that were set to be his last-ever live performances – citing “unforeseen circumstances relating to Covid”.

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Matt is a News Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.