Back in April, former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted leaked news of the planned tribute concert to the public, saying he had been approached to take part, along with acclaimed guitarist Joe Satriani.
In July, the late Eddie Van Halen‘s son Wolfgang Van Halen – who played bass in the final formation of Van Halen – confirmed that early plans for the tribute had fallen through. According to him, intentions were in place, but were in “such an early stage that it never even got off the ground”.
“What I can say is that there was an attempt at doing something,” Wolfgang said at the time. “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.” He added: “We made an attempt, and some people can be hard to work with, and made it not happen.”
Wolfgang was pressed as to how he would respond to fans speculating that a “certain singer with three initials” – alluding to frontman David Lee Roth – being “the main problem”. Van Halen responded: “I would say, ‘Do your research on the history of Van Halen, and come to your [own] conclusions.'”
Now, Hagar – who replaced original Van Halen vocalist David Lee Roth in 1985 and continued to front the band until 1996, returning between 2003 and 2005 – has discussed the possibility of the tribute taking place in a new interview with SiriusXM’s Eddie Trunk. During the interview, Hagar was asked if there had been any new development about a potential tribute concert or tour for Eddie Van Halen.
As Blabbermouth reports, Hagar responded in the negative, saying: “As far as I know, [there has been] nothing.” He continued: “There was that talk everybody heard about Jason being the bass player and Joe Satriani playing guitar and Alex [Van Halen] and all that. Then I got the call from the management, I got the call from Irving Azoff, [who] said, ‘Hey, you wanna do you and Mike [Anthony] and Al with a superstar guitar player?'”
Hagar said that he responded he would be willing to play music with Anthony and Alex Van Halen, but not under the banner of Van Halen. “There is no Van Halen. I don’t care what anyone says.” He did, however, say he would be open to performing with Anthony and Van Halen under the right circumstances, such as a one-off event like the concerts Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl organised to honour the late Taylor Hawkins earlier this year.
As it stands, though, Hagar said his relationship with Alex Van Halen is essentially non-existent, revealing that the pair “don’t talk”. Hagar continued: “I reached out to Alex. I’m gonna tell you right now – I reached out to Alex again recently. Mikey had a sad thing happen in his family, and I reached out to Al, and he wouldn’t return my call or my e-mail.
“And so I said, ‘You know what? Fuck it.’ It’s not on the top of my list, my agenda. I think Eddie deserves, definitely, a tribute… And the whole world would show up and the whole world would do it.
“But Alex has got a stick up his ass about something with me still, and he’s gonna take it to his grave, I guess.” Hagar added that while he made peace with Eddie Van Halen before the guitarist’s death in 2020, he was unsure he would reconcile with Alex.
“I’ve done it about five times now. I’m not trying to start a feud between the two of us. I love the guy, and I love Van Halen, what we did together.” Hagar was also quizzed about Wolfgang’s recent indication that Roth may have impeded a Van Halen tribute. “I don’t talk to Dave,” he responded. “And if he did it, he’d wanna do it without me. I’m sure that’s part of the dysfunction that Wolfie’s talking about.”
Wolfgang Van Halen recently said he felt “a lot of closure” following his father’s passing by performing Van Halen songs at the Taylor Hawkins tribute concerts. WVH performed ‘On Fire’, ‘Hot For Teacher’ and ‘Panama’ alongside The Darkness‘ Justin Hawkins, Grohl and Josh Freese at both concerts, in London and Los Angeles.
“I feel a lot of closure because my part of the show was a tribute to my father,” Wolfgang explained during an interview with Classic Rock magazine.