Former METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted has told The Palm Beach Post in a new interview that he almost joined an all-star VAN HALEN tribute project six months ago. VAN HALEN drummer Alex Van Halen had already tapped Joe Satriani to play guitar, Newsted said, and the two were searching for a bass player for a possible VAN HALEN tour.
Newsted said he agreed to go to California to jam with the guys and see if it felt right, but he eventually realized that it would be impossible to do justice to VAN HALEN's legacy.
"How could you?" he said. "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."
Last June, Eddie Van Halen's son Wolfgang Van Halen, who joined his father in VAN HALEN for the band's 2007 reunion tour with singer David Lee Roth, replacing Michael Anthony, told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" it would be "great" to eventually organize an Eddie Van Halen tribute show. "It's not in the immediate plans, 'cause that's a lot of moving parts that you've gotta corral to get that to happen. But I definitely think it should happen. Absolutely," he said.
Asked how he envisions the tribute concert taking place in terms of which musicians should be involved, Wolfgang said: "I have no idea. All I know is that the focus should a hundred percent be on Pop. While it could be a celebration of VAN HALEN and the band's history, I think more than anything, it should be focused on him… It's a tall ask and a big thing to figure out. But I do think it should happen at some point."
In November 2020, Wolfgang told Entertainment Tonight that proceeds from any tribute show in honor of his father will go toward Eddie's favorite charity, Mr. Holland's Opus, which helps underprivileged students access musical instruments. Proceeds from the debut solo single from Wolfgang's solo band MAMMOTH WVH, "Distance", are also benefiting Mr. Holland's Opus.
In February 2021, former VAN HALEN frontman Sammy Hagar told Kyle Meredith that he will make every effort to take part in the Eddie Van Halen tribute concert.
"I have nothing to do with the [Eddie Van Halen] legacy," he said. "That's their business — that's Wolfie, Alex Van Halen [Eddie's brother]; they're family members. Whoever wants to call me up and say, 'Here's the date,' I will be there. I don't care where I am. I'll cancel a [solo] show [if I need to]. [Laughs] [That's] something VAN HALEN would never do. I always make that joke — canceling a show was [out of the question with] VAN HALEN. I went out sick without being able to sing, Eddie went out with a crutch, Alex went out with a fucking neck brace — we wouldn't cancel shows. But I will cancel my show for a tribute to Eddieany day."
Eddie died in October 2020 at the age of 65. The legendary VAN HALEN guitarist passed away at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California.
Eddie was diagnosed with mouth cancer in 2000 and had tongue surgery. He later battled lung cancer and had been receiving radiation treatment in Germany. Things took a turn for the worse in early 2019 when Eddie got in a motorcycle accident. He was subsequently diagnosed with a brain tumor, and received gamma knife radiosurgery to treat the illness.
Joe Satriani photo credit: Eduardo Peña Dolhun