Sammy Hagar has brushed aside talk of an alleged Van Halen tribute tour that churned up the rumor mill earlier this year. He seemed especially bemused by the prospect of former Metallica bassist Jason Newsted taking part in the trek over Michael Anthony.
“What’s that about Jason Newsted playing bass for Van Halen?” Hagar asked the News-Herald. “Great guy, great musician – but in Van Halen? No, not when Mikey’s still here and alive to do it.”
Newsted turned heads back in April when he said Alex Van Halen had approached him about a possible Van Halen tribute tour, with Joe Satriani filling in for the late Eddie Van Halen. “How could you?” Newsted 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.”
Those comments ignited a firestorm of speculation, criticism, denial and cryptic replies from fans, musicians and Van Halen alumni. For instance, Anthony confirmed he’d been in touch with Alex Van Halen, David Lee Roth and Satriani about a potential tribute tour, but the talks didn’t get far.
“In my mind, ‘Van Halen 4k’ in the age of COVID is going to require two of us for every position: Satriani and [Steve] Lukather, Anthony and Newsted, Al or Tommy Lee,” Roth told the Van Halen News Desk. As for his position: “Probably the only one who could do my job is Pink.”
Hagar’s new Circle album Crazy Times arrives on Sept. 30. In the meantime, he said he passed when Van Halen management approached him about taking part in any tribute.
“I’m so happy with everything I’m doing now, I don’t think I’d go back there,” Hagar added. “Maybe if Alex was interested, it might be something to talk about, with him and Mikey and a superstar guitar player. But it’s really not Van Halen without Eddie, so … I just don’t know.”
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