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SAMMY HAGAR: ‘We Reached Out To ALEX VAN HALEN A Dozen Times’ About Taking Part In ‘The Best Of All Worlds’ Tour

todayJuly 9, 2024 3

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In a new interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, Sammy Hagar once again discussed his upcoming summer 2024 tour with bassist Michael Anthony, guitarist Joe Satriani and drummer Jason Bonham that will focus largely on the music of VAN HALEN. The 2024 tour will come more than two years after Satriani revealed that he was approached about participating in a VAN HALEN tribute show with David Lee Roth and Alex Van Halen. That project never got off the ground, reportedly because Roth was “holding up” getting everything approved.Regarding if there was any attempt made to see if Alex would be interested in taking part in “The Best Of All Worlds” prior to getting Bonham involved, Hagar said: “Mike and I reached out to Alex before we did this. We reached out to him a dozen times before this tour, in every way. E-mail, text message, phone call, message on the machine, okay? No response. No response. I mean, we made every offer to get together or to just talk or to have breakfast, lunch or dinner. Go to the studio and play. Come to my house or I’ll come to your house. Go ride horses, go sit on the beach. What do you want to do? Let’s just do something. Let’s get together. And nothing.”Explaining that he and Alex Van Halen “don’t have a relationship,” Hagar added: “When the tour came, the first person we called and left all of the messages, sent all of emails, it was Alex Van Halen. Mike and I said, ‘We’re wanting to do this thing.’ Alex’s famous line to me [was], ‘Sammy, we ain’t getting any younger.’ Mike and I said, ‘Alex, we ain’t getting any younger. We’re going out and playing for the people. We’re going to go honor the VAN HALEN catalog. Let’s just get together and let’s talk about it. Mike and I, we’re going out, we’re going to do this, Alex. Please join us. Let’s be friends, let’s bury the hatchet, whatever.’ There was no response. I was saying, ‘He’ll come to a show, he’s got to — in L.A. or something. I’m sure he’ll come.’ But no, no, he sold all of his equipment. That was his statement. That was like, ‘ah, I ain’t coming nowhere.'”Hagar previously discussed the possibility of Alex taking part in “The Best Of All Worlds” last November during an appearance on SiriusXM’s “Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk”. At the time, he said: “Jason insisted upon, ‘I will not say yes to do this thing until at least you get… Alex says yes or no.’ Alex hasn’t returned my call for five years. I’ve called, I’ve left messages, I’ve left texts, I’ve left e-mails.”I don’t think Al really wants to go out and play; otherwise they would have did it with Joe when they were thinking about it [back in 2021],” he continued. “And [VAN HALEN’s manager] Irving Azoff called me [around that time in 2021] and said, ‘Hey, would you do it? Somebody’s out of their mind. You and Alex, I’ve gotta get you guys together.’ I said, ‘Fine.’ He said, ‘Reach out one more time.’ I reached out one more time. No response.”Alex never played with anybody ever except his brother,” Hagar added. “He never jammed with anybody. The whole time we were in VAN HALEN, Mike and I would be out playing clubs with Eddie [Van Halen], jumping on stage on nights off. And Alex [would be] standing on the side of the stage [and looking on].”Sammy also talked about the upcoming tour during an appearance on “The Howard Stern Show”. “It’s time. Nobody else is gonna do it,” Sammy stated about performing songs from different eras of VAN HALEN. “If Dave [Lee Roth] goes out, he can’t sing my stuff. [But] we can do a few of the early VAN HALEN songs. I have no problem with that; I did it when I was in VAN HALEN. This is really a celebration of all that, and we are the only ones who can do it.”Sammy continued: “We’re gonna invite every musician in every town. First of all, whenever you play, if there’s a guitar player in town, no matter what city it is, they come out to see Joe, just like they used to for Eddie [Van Halen]. So if we’ve got other guitar players, we’ll get them involved, other singers, get them involved. If Alex Van Halen wants to jump up, if David Lee Roth wants to come out and join us, come on, motherfucker. You are welcome. This is about VAN HALEN.”Asked by Howard Stern what the odds are that Alex Van Halen would show up on the tour and “maybe join the celebration of his brother”, Hagar said: “I would hope so. I reach out to Al about once a month for about five years now, and he doesn’t get back to me… I call, I leave a voice message, I send a text and I send an e-mail. All three things. ‘Al, give me a call.’ Al’s favorite line to me was always, every time he wanted to get back together, he would say, ‘You know, Sam, we ain’t getting any younger.’ So I’d say, ‘Hey, Al, we ain’t getting any younger. Give me a call. Let me know. What do you wanna do? Come on over. Let’s get together. Mike and I’ll meet you somewhere.'”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 October 2020 passing.Hagar replaced Roth in VAN HALEN in 1985 and recorded four studio albums with the band — “5150”, “OU812”, “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge” and “Balance” — all of which topped the U.S. chart.Sammy, Eddie, Alex 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.”Photo credit: Timothy Norris (courtesy of Valeska Thomas at Live Nation PR)

Written by: The Dam Rock Station

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