Sammy Hagar Opens Up on Van Halen ’Reunion’ with Joe Satriani, Explains ’Biggest Failure’ About the Idea

Earlier this year, the entire rock world was shocked and weirded out by alleged plans to “reunite” Van Halen. Of course, this wouldn’t exactly be a “reunion” since Eddie Van Halen is no longer with us. And, additionally, it wouldn’t include Michael Anthony on bass but rather ex-Metallica’s Jason Newsted who leaked the news in the first place, revealing that it was supposed to feature Joe Satriani on guitar as well.

Not long after that, Satriani confirmed that the whole thing was something that was discussed and that he wasn’t exactly sure why Jason decided to act that way. Nonetheless, the thing got out and everyone was wondering what would happen next. After all the media chaos surrounding this, we can’t say what actually happened. But things seem to silently point towards David Lee Roth shutting down the whole thing.

And now, even Sammy Hagar has spoken up on the whole thing. And how wouldn’t he? After all, Sammy is an important part of the band’s history, despite not being the original singer.

During his chat with Rolling Stone, Hagar was asked whether Joe Satriani, who’s his Chickenfoot bandmate, told him anything about it at the very beginning of this project. He answered:

“No, because the Van Halen camp is 100% secrecy. I bet when he walked through the door, they made him sign something, and I’m dead serious. Alex is a very, very secretive guy. I don’t know how he can keep his lips so sealed.

“I could probably say something horrible about him right now and he wouldn’t even respond. Don’t take that the wrong way. I have nothing bad to say about him. I’m just talking about how stubborn he is. He does not budge.”

However, he adds:

“But Joe told me about it later, after it happened. I knew there was talk of it because Irving Azoff [entertainment executive] had called me. He said, ‘I want to do a residency in Vegas with you and Mike and Al and a superstar guitar player.’ And I said ‘Like who?’ And he said, ‘Like Joe Satriani.’

Sammy Hagar & Eddie Van Halen - Rock and Roll (Live at Farm Aid 1985)

“I said, ‘It just sounds like Chickenfoot with Alex Van Halen instead of Chad Smith.’ I wasn’t much for that, as much as I love Joe. He could do that job best, without a doubt, because he’s so friggin’ anal about the way he plays, and every single note. I said to Irving, ‘I’m going to call Joe.”

Regarding the Michael Anthony issue and Jason Newsted replacing him, Sammy said:

“When I did [call Joe], he told me what happened. And I said, ‘Jason Newsted? What the fuck is going on here, man? Whose idea is this? This must be a Dave idea.’ And Irving said it was a Dave idea.”

“Why would he want anyone but Mike? It’s probably because he knows that Mike and I are so close. I would imagine if they would’ve called Mike, Mike would’ve said, ‘Yes, I’ll do it with Sam.’ Because without Ed, there is no Van Halen to start with. So now, you’re going to go out and just play the early songs, and not play the second era?

“That would be the biggest failure Van Halen ever had if they call themselves ‘Van Halen’ if they didn’t have Mikey. If it’s just Alex with other guys, that’s like what Jason Bonham does with Led Zeppelin. There’s a million bands out there doing that. It would be totally nuts. Also, I’d prefer that nobody attempts to replace Eddie Van Halen. I think that’s blasphemy and should be illegal.

Van Halen 9-5-91 1st live TV performance with Sammy Hagar

“Anyway, I think that Irving boohooed it, and Dave went around him and did it anyway. I’m surprised that Alex went that far, but Alex might have just been his methodical self and said, ‘Well, let’s see what this is like. Let’s see how it feels.”

Elsewhere in the chat, he concluded:

“I just think it’s crazy to do anything that’s called Van Halen without Eddie. I would love it if Dave wanted to do a tribute where he’d sing ten of his songs, and then I’d come out and do ten of mine. That would be great with Alex and Mike and maybe a bunch of different guitar players. Look at what Dave [Grohl] just did for Taylor [Hawkins]. That’s one of the greatest events in rock history. That’s right up there with the early Farm Aids, and right up there with Live Aid. That was a great event, and that could be done for Ed with everybody playing.”

Photo: Simon Davison (Sammy Hagar), Alterna2 (Joe Satriani en Apolo 5187855836 – Alterna2)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.