Joe Satriani addresses Van Halen tribute tour reports: “If it ever does happen, it would be a great honor and a terrifying challenge”

Joe Satriani addresses Van Halen tribute tour reports: "If it ever does happen, it would be a great honor and a terrifying challenge" thumbnail

Joe Satriani performs onstage during the Experience Hendrix concert at City National Grove of Anaheim on October 9, 2019 in Anaheim, California

(Image credit: Scott Dudelson/Getty Images)

Last week, former Metallica bass guitar player Jason Newsted made waves when – in an interview with the Palm Beach Post – he claimed that he had been approached by Alex Van Halen and Joe Satriani to take part in some kind of Van Halen tour.

Satriani – currently in the midst of promoting his new album, The Elephants of Mars – was, inevitably, asked about the rumors during one of the first interviews he’s conducted since they surfaced, on the Rock of Nations with Dave Kinchen podcast.

Satriani confirmed to Kinchen in the interview – which was released today (April 18) – that he had indeed been involved in discussions regarding “a true tribute to Eddie [Van Halen] and the Van Halen legacy” with not only Alex Van Halen, but with David Lee Roth as well.

“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,” Satriani said.

“For me, it was a terrifying prospect of doing something like that, 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.

“It’s very complicated,” Satriani explained. “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.”

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Satriani went on to bemoan the leaking of the project’s existence, saying to Kinchen, “These things are always happening in the music industry, and you’re supposed to keep very quiet about it, because sometimes they don’t work out. 

“There’s usually about ten crazy ideas that float around and musicians are always, like, ‘Okay, I won’t say anything about this ’cause it may not work out. I don’t wanna hurt this person’s feelings or disrupt any other business plans.’ So, yeah, we were all pretty shocked that Jason wanted to go public with it ’cause we were all sworn to silence,” Satriani laughed. 

“Like I said before, if it ever does happen, it would be a great honor and a terrifying challenge,” he continued. “Eddie, you can’t reproduce what he did – you can’t. You can learn the notes and you can be taught all the fingerings and get the gear and everything, but there was only one Eddie and he was the epitome of an original genius. But if it does happen, I know that Alex will make sure that it’s the right way to do it.”

Beyond what Satriani and Newsted, respectively, have revealed in an interviews, there are no further details about the theoretical tour, and who – other than Satriani, Alex Van Halen and Roth – would be involved in it.

Newsted, for his part, told the Palm Beach Post that after he traveled to California to jam with Van Halen and Satriani, the project “kind of just all fizzled.”

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Jackson Maxwell

Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.

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