David Lee Roth Is Holding Up Van Halen Tribute Show, Eddie Trunk Explains
Is former Van Halen singer David Lee Roth holding up the potential Van Halen tribute tour or concert first mentioned by ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted in an interview this year? According to rock radio personality Eddie Trunk, that is indeed the case.
In April, Newsted suggested the trek was to feature him and guitarist Joe Satriani (a member of Chickenfoot with Sammy Hagar, another former Van Halen singer) with Alex Van Halen, Van Halen's surviving drummer and the brother of their late bandleader, Eddie Van Halen.
But such a Van Halen tribute may not come together at all — as its launch, as Trunk told Sirius XM listeners last Friday (July 1), hinges on Roth's agreement.
On his rock show Trunk Nation, per Blabbermouth, Trunk said a "very reliable source" told him "the hold-up on the Van Halen-anything happening is a lot of it falling on David Lee Roth. That David Lee Roth — to no surprise, it shouldn't be a surprise to anybody — is a difficult guy to wrangle, a difficult guy to get an answer on, a difficult guy to get focused on anything, a difficult guy to get to sign off on anything."
Trunk continued, "He is all over the map, as you would expect and have seen throughout history, and that the big hold up in anything happening with Van Halen is not Alex, who wants to do it and is trying. It's actually Roth who needs to sign off and be involved. … The stumbling block is trying to get Alex and Dave on the same page and Dave wanting to do this and [figure out] how they're gonna do it."
In April, Newsted told The Palm Beach Post that Alex had personally selected him and Satch. The bassist said he agreed to travel to California to jam with them and see how it felt. But he admitted he sensed it would be impossible to do justice to Van Halen's legacy.
"How could you [do it justice]?" Newsted posited. "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."
Later that month, Roth chimed in with his two cents in a statement, referencing the pop star Pink and the pandemic. The singer wrote, "IN MY MIND 'VAN HALEN 4K,' IN THE AGE OF COVID IS GOING TO REQUIRE TWO OF US FOR EVERY POSITION. SATRIANI AND LUKATHER, ANTHONY AND NEWSTED, AL OR TOMMY LEE. PROBABLY THE ONLY ONE WHO COULD DO MY JOB TODAY WOULD BE PINK."
At the same time, Satriani confirmed Newsted's story of the tribute band on the podcast Rock of Nations With Dave Kinchen.
"I've been talking with Alex and Dave for about a year about doing something – a tour, something like that – that was gonna be a true tribute to Eddie and the Van Halen legacy," Satriani said. (via Guitar World)
The guitarist continued, “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. I was just so honored to take on the challenge. … And all I can really say about it is that if it does happen, I know we'll make it the greatest thing ever for the fans and we'll all celebrate together not only the great Eddie Van Halen but the legacy that that band created, the amazing amount of music and the goodwill and good vibes they created as a band."
Not mentioned was Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie's son. After replacing bassist Michael Anthony in 2006, he played in Van Halen until Eddie's death in 2020. Wolf emerged with his own band, Mammoth WVH, the following year.