Over the last few years, there’s been rumblings about staging some sort of tribute to the late Eddie Van Halen, but as of yet nothing has come to fruition where the guitarist’s Van Halen bandmates are concerned. During a recent appearance on the THAT Rocks! podcast with Eddie Trunk, Jim Florentine and Don Jamieson, the topic came up once again with guest Sammy Hagar.
Hagar, who fronted Van Halen between 1985 and 1996 and returned for a 2004 reunion tour, has shared his openness to take part in any such tribute to the late guitarist, but told the hosts that at this point, it’s likely not going to happen.
“It’s the same old story. It’s the same old fucking story. Alex [Van Halen] won’t respond to me. I reach out to him. I haven’t done it in a long time now, ’cause it’s, like, ‘Hey, you wanna talk to me? Call me.’ But there’s not going to be a Van Halen reunion,” stated Hagar (as transcribed by Blabbermouth).
He then ran down a list of reasons why it’s not happening. “First of all, it’s too late. I’ve already said it a million times — Wolfie [Van Halen] is doing such a great job with what he’s doing, and he would be the perfect guy [to play with us at a tribute concert], so that’s out. Dave [Lee Roth] and I are still alive, but there’s no way he would cooperate with me,” added Hagar.
The singer then explained, “So if [Dave] goes out by himself, that’s not a Van Halen reunion; that’s half a Van Halen reunion. If I go out by myself without him, it’s a half a Van Halen reunion. Only good news about that is that I could sing his songs just fine. But Mike [Anthony] and I are like this [crosses fingers], and if Al wanted to come and play with us… I would love to play with Al. I said it recently, that I would love to play music with Al. I would like to write a song with Al. I would like to go in the studio and jam with Al. But the thought of a Van Halen reunion without Eddie, no, there’s no such thing.”
Last year (July 2022), Wolfgang Van Halen alluded to some dysfunction when it came to the idea of putting something together musically to honor his late father that featured prominent members of the band, telling Rolling Stone that “some people” are making it “very difficult” to move ahead with plans of any sort.
He elaborated, “What I can say is that there was an attempt at doing something. But, you know, I don’t like to speak negatively about people, but there are some people that make it very difficult to do anything when it comes to Van Halen. After being in Van Halen for a long time, I really have strived to have an environment where there is no walking on eggshells and there is no personality that you have to deal with. It’s just guys having fun making music and just having a good time. But, you know, from my time in Van Halen, there was always some stuff that gets in the way from just making music and having a good time. And, I think, that’s what happened.”
Meanwhile, Hagar has maintained his close friendship and musical partnership with former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony. They’ve continued to tour with Jason Bonham and Vic Johnson under the moniker The Circle, and have a pair of Nevada shows scheduled for Friday and Saturday (July 14 and 15) in Stateline and Las Vegas.
Sammy Hagar Joins the THAT Rocks! Podcast
66 Best Rock Songs of the ’90s
You won’t want to miss a thing.