The prospect of a tour honoring late guitarist Eddie Van Halen made headlines last month when former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted said he’d been approached by Alex about participating, with Joe Satriani handling guitar duties. “How could you?” Newsted said at the time. “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.”
In a new interview with The Mitch Lafon and Jeremy White Show — where he also discussed his Mad Anthony hot sauce and first time meeting Sammy Hagar — Anthony said he was surprised to learn of Newsted’s involvement because he’d also been discussing a tour with his former bandmates and longtime Van Halen manager Irving Azoff. “The only thing that was kind of a surprise to me was the Jason Newsted thing when he came out and said that Alex had talked to him last year or something like that,” Anthony said. “Which is kind of interesting, because I actually had been talking on a conference call with Irving Azoff, Alex and Dave last year, so I don’t know what the Jason thing was all about.”
Anthony also confirmed that Satriani was involved in these talks, but any potential plans were still in the primitive stage. “I spoke to Joe about it, and it was more, you know, just something kicking around,” the bassist said, adding that Alex Van Halen was still “mourning” the loss of his brother.
“I hope something happens in the future here,” Anthony continued. “I think Joe was mentioning in some of the interviews that it’s more a celebration of the band and of the music than calling it ‘Van Halen.’ Obviously, Eddie being probably the most integral part of the whole band, you can’t really call it Van Halen after that.”
Anthony’s comments support previous statements by Satriani and Roth regarding a potential tribute tour. “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,” Satriani said last month. “I was just so honored to take on the challenge.”
Roth, meanwhile, told Van Halen News Desk in a statement, “In my mind, ‘Van Halen 4k,’ in the age of COVID, is going to require two of us for every position. Satriani and [Steve] Lukather, Anthony and Newsted, Al or Tommy Lee. Probably the only one who could do my job today would be Pink.”
One name that has been notably absent from the Van Halen tribute talks is the late guitarist’s son, Wolfgang, who is busy recording and touring with his band, Mammoth WVH. Anthony said he understands Wolfgang’s reluctance to attach himself to the rumored project. “He went out and played with the band or whatever, but I think he’s into his own music now, and I’m sure at some point he’ll play some of the Van Halen stuff, but right now I think he’s more focused on his thing,” Anthony said. “He doesn’t want to be known as Eddie Van Halen’s kid his whole life. He wants to go out there and make a name for himself, which I totally understand.”
Van Halen Lineup Changes
Three different singers and two different bassists joined the Van Halen brothers over the years.