Despite initially being tapped by Alex Van Halen to handle guitar duties for a loosely proposed Eddie Van Halen tribute show — Joe Satriani now maintains he’s not the man for the job.
During a chat with Ultimate Classic Rock, Satriani said, “When I saw Wolfgang (Van Halen) playing at the Taylor Hawkins benefit, I thought it was the most natural, beautiful thing I’d seen in a long time. It was such a wonderful thing to see him play his dad’s music like that, and he’s such an incredible musician. I thought, ‘Well, if the thing is ever gonna happen, he should do it.’ It just seemed more natural than reaching out to somebody like me.”
He went on to say, “The world should just wait for him to make up his mind how he wants to do it, and we should leave him alone, let him figure out the best time and place for it. Whatever he comes up with will be the best way to do it, I think.”
Regarding his original agreement to step into Van Halen’s shoes for the tribute show, Satriani admitted: “I heard myself saying ‘yes’ before my better judgment kicked in, because I am such a fan of Eddie and his work, and I thought, ‘Wow, it would be such a great labor of love to dive into that and try to understand the essence what he was doing for each song.'”
Satriani, whose six-string prowess remains amazing, revealed that part of the allure of performing Van Halen songs would be the chance to really analyze what Eddie Van Halen was actually playing: “I can kind of figure out the fingers, but there’s some things that are too quirky that he does that I can’t figure out how to do. Getting inside the music is really what you need to do when you go to play it, to capture the spirit of it and learn what not to play when you’re playing each song. I would really enjoy that.”
As far as any sort of chance in getting both David Lee Roth and his Chickenfoot bandmate Sammy Hagar on the same bill playing Van Halen music, Satriani said, “I mean, once you really sit down and you start talking about it, there are just so many roadblocks; you can’t imagine just how it’s going to happen. I think they need to make some important decisions. I think it’s really up to Wolfgang and his Uncle Alex to figure out what to do.”