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David Lee Roth weighs in on Van Halen tribute tour rumours

David Lee Roth
(Image credit: C Flanigan/WireImage)

Following Jason Newsted and Joe Satriani’s confirmation that there have been talks about an Eddie Van Halen tribute tour, David Lee Roth has broken his silence on the prospect, even offering some helpful – not to mention surprising – suggestions on who should play on it.

Indeed, the former Van Halen frontman suggested that pop superstar Pink was the only vocalist qualified to fill his shoes for such an event. Speaking to the Van Halen News Desk, Roth cautioned that the disruption from Covid would require the tribute band to have two players for each position.

“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, [Michael] Anthony and Newsted, Al [Alex Van Halen] or Tommy Lee. Probably the only one who could do my job today would be Pink.”

Where that leaves Sammy Hagar, who replaced Roth in Van Halen, who knows. But the idea of a tour celebrating the legacy of Van Halen has been rumoured for a while. Recent revelations from Satriani and former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted have lent some weight behind them. 

Newsted told the The Palm Beach Post that drummer Alex Van Halen had reached out to him six months ago about the idea for a tour. After agreeing to a jam, Newsted ultimately got cold feet, on the ground that nothing could compare to Van Halen in their pomp

“There’s nobody that can top it, so how do you show it honour?” he said. “I didn’t want it to be viewed as a money grab. And then it kind of just all fizzled.”

Joe Satriani

Does Joe Satriani have his back packed for a Van Halen tribute tour? (Image credit: Eduardo Peña Dolhun)

Joe Satriani, who whose take on the late Eddie Van Halen’s parts would be fascinating to hear, has been more expansive. Appearing on the Rock Of Nations With Dave Kinchen, he said he was taken by surprise when Newsted spoke about it in public. 

Satriani had been speaking to Roth and Van Halen about the shows for a year, and said it would be a “labour of love”. From his point of view, it looks like a case of never say never.

“If it ever does happen, it will be a great honour and a terrifying challenge,” said Satriani. “Eddie, you can’t reproduce what he did – you can’t. You can learn the notes and you can be taught all the fingerings and get the gear and everything, but there was only one Eddie and he was the epitome of an original genius. But if it does happen, I know that Alex will make sure that it's the right way to do it.”

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.