As Joe Satriani prepares to perform a Van Halen-heavy setlist for the upcoming Best Of All Worlds tour with Sammy Hagar, he’s still left wondering why his role in a planned Eddie Van Halen tribute with Alex Van Halen and David Lee Roth never came to fruition.
In April of 2022, Satriani confirmed that he had been in regular contact with Alex and David Lee Roth about a potential Van Halen tribute event. That idea, as we now know, never got off the ground with no definitive answer given as to why. During a recent appearance on The Hooks Rocks podcast, Satriani shed some light on the situation. He says Alex wanted to do it but he’s still unsure about Roth.
“That’s tough. I didn’t know Eddie and I don’t know the family and I don’t think I’ll ever really understand David Lee Roth,” said Satriani. “I thought I really understood Alex, and I think I do. I really think I understand his point of view or where he’s coming from. I tend to think that the real difference here is that Sammy has a real sort of inclusive way of looking at life and he notices when there’s conflict that is getting in the way of doing something good and he’ll try to fix it. So as a result, it’s just like he says, ‘Yeah, we’re gonna do ‘Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love’. I know it’s not my song, but that’s cool.’ Now you ask David Lee Roth, ‘Hey, are you gonna do ‘5150’?’ Of course he’s never gonna do it. So there’s a big difference there, is that you have one guy who is very flexible because he’s thinking about the fans, and then you have another guy who, I don’t know why Dave is so inflexible on a couple of subjects — I really don’t, because I don’t know him. I should ask Steve [Vai] about it; I mean, Steve knows [David well]. I can’t say that I really know him.”
While Satriani isn’t sure how committed Roth was to the tribute, he feels Alex had every intention of making it happen and for all the right reasons.
“I felt that Alex really wanted to do it and his heart was pure in its intention,” said Satriani. “But I don’t know about Dave. I know that Sammy and Mike, their intentions are pure. They really do wanna celebrate the music and they’re willing to mend any fence to make it happen on stage. They’re the original guys. It’s more than just a tour. And you feel that when you’re standing next to Sammy and Mike. There’s just an immense amount of power and love with the two of them and playing those songs. And people, they want to experience it and they should be able to experience it.”