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Watch HAGAR, ANTHONY, SATRIANI And BONHAM Rehearse VAN HALEN’s ‘Poundcake’ For Upcoming Tour

todayJuly 4, 2024 3

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Video of Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony, Joe Satriani and Jason Bonham rehearsing the VAN HALEN song “Poundcake” for their upcoming summer 2024 tour can be seen below.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.This past January, Satriani spoke to Australian Musician about how he plans to play Eddie Van Halen’s parts on the tour that will focus largely on the music of VAN HALEN. Asked about how he plans to approach the concerts from a “tonal” standpoint, Joe said: “Yeah, there’s a couple of things that you can zero in on. This is one of the guitars I used during ‘The Howard Stern Show’ [when Joe, Sammy, Michael and Jason first announced the tour and performed on the early-morning program]. It’s tuned to a D standard, which is really low, and the strings were 11. That was my first two big mistakes. [Laughs] ‘Cause I can’t play 11s. And tuned down to D, I just wasn’t used to it. Sammy and the guys, they’ve been doing it for years, but it was foreign to me. So a lot of things don’t happen.”Eddie played at 440 and then E flat, and he played light strings. He played nines and even sometimes the lower strings were lighter,” Joe explained. “Every time I talk about Eddie, I finish it by saying ‘besides the fact that he was a genius.’ You always have to add that in, ’cause he was just amazing — period. ‘Cause every time he picked up a guitar, no matter what it was, it was amazing. He had the hands and the heart, everything. I’m just catching up.”What I learned from ‘The Howard Stern Show’, besides it’s still important to rehearse and you can’t do gigs without rehearsals… But what, what it confirmed was a couple of things I was thinking about, which was that Eddie had specific gear — he really did,” Satriani continued. “He didn’t play with the gear I used or Steve Vai or Slash or Tom Morello or any of his contemporaries. He actually had a very specific setup. And you ask yourself, ‘Well, why?’ Well, it’s because, besides he was a genius, as we know, he knew that in order for him to play those parts, he had to have his gear tweaked a certain way; otherwise it wouldn’t work. So, like when you go to play the beginning of ‘Mean Street’, if your setup is not allowing those harmonics to jump out, it’s gonna sound like you’re not hitting them. You’ve gotta get the setup right.”If you refer to the first… Let’s say, if you go to [VAN HALEN’s 1986 concert video] ‘Live Without A Net’ or any of those things, even the early period, ‘5150’ period, from [David Lee] Roth to the early Hagar period where he’s still using Marshalls, when he goes to do things like that, it’s a success. Every time he goes to hit a harmonic, boom, there it is. And it’s low noise, big round fidelity, still sounds organic. You fast forward to live at the Tokyo Dome [2015’s ‘Tokyo Dome Live in Concert’], it’s a totally different thing. He’s playing an entirely different amp. When he goes to do those things, he’s getting an overt amount of harmonic information, but he’s also getting a ton of noise and none of the body that was part of the earlier sound.”Now I learned that because of those two [EVH] amps right there. I got those back when Alex [Van Halen] and Dave called and asked me to do the [seemingly abandoned] Eddie tribute tour, and I thought, ‘Well, I’ve gotta figure this out.’ So the first thing I did was I got a couple of those and I thought, ‘Well, this is great. You get all the harmonics, but, man, this is really small sounding. This is like for modern…’ If I was 20 years old and I was playing modern rock, those would be the best amps ever. But I’m not, and I still wanna hear sort of the body of the guitar and I wanna hear a more dynamic mix. So I started to think, ‘Well, what’s my favorite VAN HALEN section?’ And I did find that period in ’86. I talked to Sam quite a bit about it and he said, yeah, that first 5150, he was still using Marshalls. In Sammy’s view, his favorite sound that Eddie ever made. It wasn’t small and then stereoized. So I reached out to Dylana Scott at 3rd Power amplifiers, and she is building me what we believe is going to be the amp that does it…”Joe added: “This goes back to what I said earlier about how the gear is so important for the performer. I know that when we step out on stage and whether I’m playing ‘Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love’ or ‘5150’, I’m gonna need to feel and hear that sound to convince myself to keep going. And if it’s not working, then I’m just gonna say, ‘Well, let me just have my solo rig.’ But my solo rig is designed — it probably has a little too much gain, and is designed to make the high strings really fat sounding, because I play all the melodies. I play very little rhythm guitar all night long. It’s just solo melody, solo melody. And I can’t play the Hagar set like that. It’s just the wrong sound. CHICKENFOOT, it kind of worked. But for the for the VAN HALEN stuff to really pop, and then we’re doing MONTROSE, we’re doing Sammy Hagar solo stuff, we’re doing my stuff, we’re doing CHICKENFOOT. It’s a really fun setlist. Great setlist. But I know, in my heart, that I wanna hear that sound in my head, that mythical Eddie Van Halen sound that we all sort of hear in our mind, and I wanna be able to feel it. And so I’ve been getting these clips from Dylana every week, and the stuff that she’s building is really amazing.”Last December, Satriani spoke to Ultimate Guitar’s Justin Beckner about how he plans to play Eddie Van Halen’s parts on the upcoming tour. Asked if there are some VAN HALEN songs that he found most challenging to perform, Joe replied: “The main thing is that for the last five decades I’ve tried so hard to be myself and to be me and not copy anybody. I’ve been lucky, since the late ’80s, to have a solo career, so I really had a job that forced me to be myself as much as possible. So I made a point not to play like anybody. But it happens eventually when you’re having fun, you’re at a party and someone says, ‘Oh, can you play this song?’ and you realize, ‘I have no idea how to play that song. I love that song. I’ve listened to it a million times. I don’t know what the guy’s doing.’ And then you go to learn it and you go, ‘Wow, that’s really weird. It feels so awkward for me to be like this.’ And it’s not the parts, ’cause I can hear the chords and I know what everything is when I hear it. It’s just the sensibility of timing, vibrato, picking. If you’re so deep into your own thing, it’s really hard to get out of it and try to properly emulate somebody else’s playing. It would almost be like if you gave a guitar to Eddie and you said, ‘Okay, Eddie, we want you to play ‘Summer Song’ note for note.’ He’d be, like, ‘What? I don’t play like that. I don’t do that. I just kind of do this, this and this.’ Of course we’d love it no matter how he did it — it would be fun — but it wouldn’t be exactly the same.”Joe continued: “When I was young and I was in cover bands, I knew what it was like to try to get as close as possible when you were playing — for me, it was [LED] ZEPPELIN and [BLACK] SABBATH and THE [ROLLING] STONES and stuff like that; that’s what we played. But eventually, you’d have to go, ‘I don’t play like that. That’s not my vibrato.’ If I go to play AC/DC, there’s no way I can do Angus’s [Young] vibrato. He just has his own vibrato. If you’re gonna try to play like Jeff Beck — he’s so personal. You can play the notes and remind people of this part he did and that part, but it’s not gonna sound quite the same.”If we heard Eric Clapton trying to play ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’ by LED ZEPPELIN, there’s no way it would sound the same. It would be great, but it wouldn’t sound the same. So, what I noticed right away, when I realized, ‘I really have to figure out these songs,’ [I asked myself] what is Eddie — what’s he operating on?”So here are a couple of things I’ve noticed,” Satriani added. “Number one, he plays so on the beat and makes it feel like he’s pushing the beat, but he’s actually not. It’s really amazing how he does it. And I realized, when I went back and I listened to my stuff back to back, I thought, ‘Oh, that’s me, sitting on the backbeat as much as I can,’ because I’m playing the melody. When you play the melody, you don’t wanna be on top. Actually, you want the band to be pushing, and you’re sitting back here, like a singer, playing. I like the way Robert Plant sings in ‘Since I’ve Been Loving You’. He’s so behind. Or listen to any hip-hop song — the vocals are way in the pocket; they’re just late on purpose. So that’s something I’ve worked on my whole life is ‘sit back, sit back, sot back,’ and all of a sudden you go to play a song like ‘I’m The One’, and it’s like, ‘No, you have to be the guy way in front.’ And Alex [Van Halen] is gonna be going, ‘No, no. Sit back here.’ And that’s a difficult sensibility when every nerve ending in your body is saying, ‘Sit back.’ But to make the song work, you’ve gotta sit forward. That’s the first thing I noticed, like the difference between Eddie’s sensibility in timing and mine in terms of timing.”Our vibratos aren’t that different,” Joe said. “He holds hick pick [with his thumb and middle finger], so he’s always got [his index] finger for tapping, and I don’t. So I always have to do something. And what I started to do early on was to use my pick for a lot of hammer-ons because I just wanted to be different, and I thought I’d get a better sound, I’d be able to do some different things that other players weren’t doing. And I saw guys using their fingers back in the early ’70s, when Eddie was my age, just a young teenager. There were other guys doing tapping for decades before, but as my generation started to figure out how to do tapping, I saw the thing was a split. There’s tapping for effect, tapping for riff, and then there’s tapping to create an entire musical piece. And Eddie did all of it. The way that he would do the tapping, when he would use it, [was] totally opposite of the way that I had forced myself to go with it.”The third thing is… Again, we’re talking about someone who was just an incredible virtuoso in several areas. One of the things that Eddie had was this super-tight swing that was ultrafast with his right hand. And that is something, again, that once… I remember hearing for the first time and thinking, ‘Well, I’m gonna have to work on that.’ That’s gonna take me, I thought, I bet, three months of 45 minutes a day just working with a metronome to work that into my bag of tricks.’ ‘Cause that’s kind of like what it is.”Satriani went on to say: “I think when you’re getting ready for a tour and you’re gonna play a song that you haven’t played in 20 years, you remember it but you go, ‘Ah, I don’t do that anymore,’ and it physically feels odd. So you say, ‘Okay, I’ve got six weeks before the tour. I’m gonna play this thing ten times a day and I’m just gonna keep working, and start slow and figure out all the different ways of doing it so that when I hit the stage, I can relax and play it the way it should be played.'”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.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.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.”Eddie died in October 2020 at St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California. The iconic VAN HALEN axeman passed away from complications due to cancer, his son confirmed.

Written by: The Dam Rock Station

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