Sammy Hagar issues fresh call for Eddie Van Halen tribute show

Sammy Hagar and Eddie Van Halen
(Image credit: Harmony Gerber / Daniel Knighton/Getty Images)

Talk of the now-shelved, much-discussed Eddie Van Halen tribute show – news of which first broke to the surprise of everyone in April thanks to a loose-lipped Jason Newsted – has been around for sometime now.

Alas, despite the numerous updates, teases, hints and suggestions over the ensuing months – coming from the likes of David Lee Roth, Joe Satriani and more – one thing has become abundantly clear: it isn’t going to happen.

Though that may be the case, that hasn’t stopped Sammy Hagar issuing a fresh call to stage a tribute for the late electric guitar legend, having been inspired by the powerful blockbuster double-event that was recently hosted for the late Foo Fighters drummer, Taylor Hawkins.

Speaking to Rolling Stone (opens in new tab), Hagar commended Dave Grohl and Foo Fighters for the emotive spectacle they put on for their close friend and bandmate, rightly describing it as “one of the greatest events in rock history."

To this end, Hagar suggested a similar event could be held for his own former bandmate Van Halen, who passed away in October 2020.

Sammy Hagar (left) and Eddie Van Halen perform at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan

(Image credit: Ross Marino/Getty Images)

He even went as far as to say he’d happily share the bill with David Lee Roth – another Van Halen vocalist with whom he has a famously acrimonious relationship.

“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,” Hagar proposed. “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],” he went on to observe. “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 continued, “The only way to do it is to put both eras together and do it for a cause, for a purpose, not for a money grab, not like the whole tour, where we’re going to make 10 million bucks apiece. None of that shit. It could be a residency, it could be two or three nights.”

The vocalist also reaffirmed his stance that any future link-up between the surviving members of Van Halen would be strictly for tribute purposes only, and that he’d never entertain the idea of touring under the Van Halen moniker without Eddie.

“I’m not in love with the idea of being Van Halen without Eddie Van Halen,” he admitted. “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.”

Hagar also took aim at the fact that Newsted was in the early running for the bass role with Michael Anthony, remarking that an early lineup suggested by former manager Irving Azoff – which comprised Hagar, Anthony, Alex Van Halen and Satriani – was merely “Chickenfoot with Alex Van Halen instead of Chad Smith."

“That would be the biggest failure Van Halen ever had if they call themselves 'Van Halen' if they didn’t have Mikey,” Hagar said. “Also, I’d prefer that nobody attempts to replace Eddie Van Halen. I think that’s blasphemy and should be illegal."

Elsewhere in the interview, Hagar did discuss potential six-string personnel that could be involved in a Van Halen tribute lineup, saying that while Joe Satriani “would be the best” person for the job, Steve Vai and John 5 should also be strong contenders.

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Matt is a Staff 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.