Sammy Hagar said Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang effectively held the band’s legacy on his own, and accepted that “dysfunction” meant a previously-discussed tribute event for the late guitarist might never happen.
Reports circulated after former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted said he’d been asked to take part, along with Joe Satriani, but further comments from those potentially involved suggested the plan was going nowhere. Wolfgang recently said “everyone” in the Van Halen organization was “very dysfunctional,” suggesting a tribute would never take place.
In a new interview with Eddie Trunk on SiriusXM’s Trunk Nation show, Hagar said he’d been asked by the band’s manager, Irving Azoff, if he’d like to take part in an event featuring bassist Michael Anthony and drummer Alex Van Halen along with an unnamed celebrity guitarist.
“I said, ‘I’ll do anything with Al and Mike and play music with people, but it’s not gonna be Van Halen,” the singer reported. “There is no Van Halen… Wolfie is Van Halen, okay? And he doesn’t wanna be the Van Halen copy band. I don’t blame him; he’s doing a great job on his own stuff, and it’s very cool when he jams a little bit here and there. He’s Van Halen, and if he wanted to play guitar with Al and Mikey and myself, I would love to do that.”
Turning to the problems surrounding a potential reunion, Hagar said: “Alex Van Halen and I don’t talk. I reached out to Alex… and he wouldn’t return my call or my email. 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.”
He also confirmed he wasn’t on speaking terms with original singer David Lee Roth. “He’d wanna do [the tribute show] without me,” Hagar asserted. “I’m sure that’s part of the dysfunction that Wolfie’s talking about. … What do you wanna bet that [Roth] goes, ‘I will only do it if Hagar’s not there.’ And if that were the case, that’s typical Roth, and that’s part of the dysfunction. It’s not like he controls it – it’s just he doesn’t play well with others.”
“If Alex came to me and wanted to do it, I’m in,” Hagar repeated. “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. I don’t think I made peace with Al. And I don’t think I’m going to unless he reaches back out to me. I’ve done it about five times now.”
Hagar insisted he didn’t know what he did to anger the drummer. “Alex and I actually got along better than Ed and I at times. Through the hard times, Alex and I still got along. But I don’t know what happened. Somebody poisoned him. Somebody told him something. Maybe he still doesn’t like my book, which was the most honest thing I’ve ever done in my life. Some people just don’t think that that should have been done.”
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