Sammy Hagar thinks it was “f**kin’ really good” when Wolf Van Halen played Eddie Van Halen’s “stuff”
Former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar was recently interviewed by Andy Greene for RollingStone. Hagar touched upon the possibilities of some sort of Van Halen reformation and/or tribute shows with drummer Alex Van Halen, bassist Michael Anthony and even singer David Lee Roth to honour Eddie Van Halen who passed away almost two years ago.
Back in April 2022, ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted revealed that Alex Van Halen had asked him to consider joining Van Halen along with Hagar‘s Chickenfoot bandmate Joe Satriani on guitar. On whether Satriani told him about it before it occurred, Hagar revealed: “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 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.””
Eddie Van Halen‘s now 31 year old son Wolf Van Halen played guitar on a couple of Van Halen songs during the two Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert that occurred in the UK and the US earlier this month. Sleaze Roxx even wrote an article after the first Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert which suggested that Van Halen reform with Wolf Van Halen playing his deceased father’s guitar parts. Wolf Van Halen was quick to respond with a “no” as his answer to that suggestion.
Hagar was asked whether he had spoken much to Wolf Van Halen since 2004 (when Hagar last toured with Van Halen) to which he replied: “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 “The 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.”
On whether he last spoke to Alex Van Halen on the 2004 tour, Hagar indicated: “Yes. At the end of the tour. We finished in Albuquerque, and Ed went completely off the rails. Irving Azoff grabbed me at the end of the show and said, “Get in the car and get the fuck out here.” We were supposed to go on the same plane together. We had a plane and we were going to fly home, and he saw what was going on earlier and he chartered me another plane by myself with my wife and my tour manager.
I was walking off the stage, somebody goes and grabs me and said, “Keep on going. Get the fuck out of here, right now. Go.” Well, he just knew a fight would have broken out because Ed was so belligerent on that last show that I wanted to beat his ass.
So Alex came up to me right there at the same time and gave me a big hug and said, “I love you, man. Thank you. Be careful. Safe flight.” And that was the last time. And I think we talked on the phone a little bit, but I don’t know what happened with Al. He kind of drank the Kool-Aid or something.”
Hagar was asked what he would say if he spoke to Alex Van Halen today to which he replied: “I’m going to say what he always said to me. I’m going to say, “Alex. We ain’t getting no younger.” Every time he came to me for a reunion or to get back in the studio after taking a break he’d say, “Sam, we ain’t getting no younger.” So I would tell him that. Then we’d have a big laugh and catch up. I wouldn’t start with business things since they wouldn’t be first on my agenda. I’d want to see how he’s really doing. Hopefully he’s doing well, and then we’d be able to reconnect instantly, like we did for the reunion.
Alex is a really sweet guy. He’s just tough. He’s really hard, man. He’s Dutch, man. You know what I mean, he’s like some old 1700s kind of guy. He’s really a tough, old-school kind of person. He’s closed up, but he has a big, big heart. That’s probably why he’s so closed up.”
You can read the rest of the interview with Sammy Hagar at RollingStone‘s website.