WOLFGANG VAN HALEN Says He Is 'Stoked' About SAMMY HAGAR's 2024 Tour Focusing On Music Of VAN HALEN
December 8, 2023
In a new interview with Q104.3's "Out Of The Box With Jonathan Clarke", former VAN HALEN bassist Wolfgang Van Halen was asked to weigh in on the upcoming summer 2024 tour featuring vocalist Sammy Hagar, bassist Michael Anthony, guitarist Joe Satriani and drummer Jason Bonham that will focus largely on the music of VAN HALEN. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Yeah, that's super cool, man. I'm stoked for it. I'm actually, I'm gonna be seeing Mike in Vegas, so I'm stoked to give him a hug."
Two months ago, Wolfgang, who joined VAN HALEN at just 15 years old, told 97.9 GRD's Tommy Carroll, about what it was like performing with the legendary rock act for the first time at such a young age: "It was really… I don't know. It was sure nerve-racking, but we had rehearsed so much, for years at that point, that it felt right; it felt like something we'd been working towards for a long time."
Asked if reproducing the backing vocals originally recorded by Anthony helped him develop his own vocal style, Wolfgang said: "Yeah, I'm sure. Doing that for a long time was certainly quite the workout. So I'm definitely sure about that."
In September, Wolfgang, who shared the stage with his father, legendary VAN HALEN guitarist Eddie Van Halen, together from 2006 until 2015, five years before Eddie's death, told Australia's "Everblack" podcast that "there were a lot of positives and a lot of negatives" to him playing with VAN HALEN at such an early point in his life. "I think it really forced me to mature very quickly at a young age," he said. "I think at 15, I couldn't be a regular 15-year-old. So in a certain way, I couldn't be a regular teenager anymore once that happens, and I experienced a lot of stuff, I think, that most kids that age wouldn't really normally experience. But that's my story and I wouldn't take it back for anything. It's what has led me to where I've gone my entire life. It was a really important thing to be there and to support my dad, and that's all that was really on my mind. And being able to play with my family for that long is something I'll never forget."
In recent months, Wolfgang has repeatedly said that "drama" in the VAN HALEN camp has prevented a proposed all-star VAN HALEN tribute project from materializing.
Wolfgang played three VAN HALEN songs over the course of two Taylor Hawkins tribute concerts in September 2022 alongside FOO FIGHTERS members Dave Grohl on bass, Josh Freese on drums and THE DARKNESS's Justin Hawkins on vocals.
Wolfgang, who played "On Fire", "Hot For Teacher" and "Panama" at the Hawkins tribute concerts, told Classic Rock magazine that he was no longer actively interested in pursuing the idea of a standalone Eddie Van Halen tribute event. "I think I already did it with the Taylor Hawkins tributes," he explained. "I feel a lot of closure because my part of the show was a tribute to my father."
"When it comes to VAN HALEN and entities surrounding the band it's unfortunate, certainly compared to FOO FIGHTERS who have their shit together with interpersonal relationships," Wolfgang added.
"I don't know what it is with some bands but certain personalities just can't get over themselves to work collectively for one purpose. That's been the curse of VAN HALEN for its entire career. So my playing at the Taylor shows delivered that catharsis without the stresses of dealing with the VAN HALEN camp, and the players involved. Their camp is very dysfunctional — everyone! Hell, it was difficult to make plans even when the band was active."
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.
Hagar and Anthony previously worked with Satriani in the supergroup CHICKENFOOT. They recorded two albums between 2009 and 2011 and toured across America but never performed any VAN HALEN material. More recently, Hagar and Anthony have played some of the VAN HALEN catalog with guitarist Vic Johnson and Bonham in SAMMY HAGAR AND THE CIRCLE.
Hagar mended his relationship with Eddie Van Halen months prior to the legendary VAN HALEN guitarist's passing.
Sammy, Eddie, Alex Van Halen and Michael last teamed up in 2004 for a U.S. summer tour. In exchange for taking part in the tour, Anthony reportedly had to agree to take a pay cut and sign away his rights to the band name and logo.
Produced by Live Nation, the 28-date "The Best Of All Worlds" tour will commence on July 13 in West Palm Beach, Florida and will conclude on August 31 in St. Louis, Missouri.
"We're gonna go deep into the VAN HALEN catalog," Hagar told "The Howard Stern Show". "If you're gonna go deep into the VAN HALEN catalog, you need Joe Satriani."
Although Hagar and Anthony normally play five or six VAN HALEN songs" on the road with THE CIRCLE, Sammy told Stern they are planning to only play "five or six of my songs" alongside VAN HALEN classics and deep cuts.
"When we go out next year in July, it will be almost exactly 20 years since Mike and I did a reunion with Ed and Al in '04," Hagar said. "Mike and I just said, 'We can't wait another 20 years. How long can I even sing these songs? How long can I do this stuff? I just thought it's time to serve the fans."
"There's stuff we're going to do on this next tour that we haven't played since that tour in 2004," Anthony added.
Regarding the challenge of learning legendary VAN HALEN guitarist Eddie Van Halen's parts, Satriani said: "There are things that are so iconic, you have to nail it. But if you go deep with what he did live, he never played the same thing twice. He kept evolving; he kept pushing. He'd do the recorded version a little bit, but then he moved on.
"It's a daunting task when you do the deep dive into what he did," he continued. "But it's good to start at the beginning, and then you just learn all his little improvs and you get the idea of what he was trying to do. It's thrilling; it's fun."
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