Sammy Hagar Suggests He Wouldn’t Do Van Halen Tribute Without Michael Anthony
Former Van Halen singer and current The Circle bandleader Sammy Hagar recently spoke to the potential official Van Halen tribute first mentioned by ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted. However, Hagar suggested his involvement would only come with both drummer Alex Van Halen and bassist Michael Anthony on board.
Newsted had indicated the tribute was to feature him and guitarist Joe Satriani along with Alex, Van Halen's surviving drummer and the brother of their late bandleader, Eddie Van Halen.
But in an interview this week, Hagar seemed content to continue performing with his own band, which also includes Anthony, another former Van Halen member. Still, the lead singer intimated that Alex and Anthony's participation could be a deciding factor.
Responding to the News-Herald on Sunday (Aug. 21), Hagar said, "I'm so happy with everything I'm doing now, I don't think I'd go back there. Maybe if Alex was interested, it might be something to talk about, with him and Mikey and a superstar guitar player. But it's really not Van Halen without Eddie, so…I just don't know.”
In April, Newsted told The Palm Beach Post that Alex had personally selected him and Satriani. The bassist said he agreed to travel to California to jam with them and see how it felt. But he admitted he sensed it would be impossible to do justice to Van Halen's legacy.
"How could you [do it justice]?" Newsted posited. "There's nobody that can top it, so how do you show it honor? I didn't want it to be viewed as a money grab. And then it kind of just all fizzled."
Fellow former Van Halen singer David Lee Roth later gave his two cents in a statement, referencing the pop star Pink and the pandemic. The vocalist wrote, "IN MY MIND 'VAN HALEN 4K,' IN THE AGE OF COVID IS GOING TO REQUIRE TWO OF US FOR EVERY POSITION. SATRIANI AND LUKATHER, ANTHONY AND NEWSTED, AL OR TOMMY LEE. PROBABLY THE ONLY ONE WHO COULD DO MY JOB TODAY WOULD BE PINK."
Around the same time, Satriani confirmed Newsted's story of the tribute band on the podcast Rock of Nations With Dave Kinchen. "I've been talking with Alex and Dave for about a year about doing something – a tour, something like that – that was gonna be a true tribute to Eddie and the Van Halen legacy," the guitarist said.
"It was a terrifying prospect of doing something like that," Satch continued, "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. … And 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."
Not mentioned was Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie's son. After replacing Anthony in Van Halen in 2006, he played in the band until Eddie's 2020 death. Wolf emerged with his own band, Mammoth WVH, the next year. Last month, radio host Eddie Trunk suggested Roth was holding up the tribute.