Joe Satriani: Playing Van Halen Songs Is ‘Really Frightening’
Satriani will be joining Sammy Hagar for a 2024 tour focused on classic Van Halen material. Michael Anthony and Jason Bonham will round out the band, but it’s Satriani who will be tasked with handling Eddie’s complex riffs.
In a recent conversation with Forbes, the guitarist admitted he can’t be expected to fill Eddie’s shoes.
“You can't fill them. You can put them on, but you can't fill them,” Satriani noted. “You have to respect the genius of the architecture of his guitar parts and how he built the songs and you’ve got to get in there and just enjoy what he was building cause he would weave in and out of his original composition every time he played it live and bring new amazing little nuggets to each little section.”
READ MORE: Top 10 Eddie Van Halen Guitar Solos
Though he’s widely regarded as one of the greatest guitarists in the world, Satriani admitted playing Van Halen material offers a challenge unlike anything else.
“It is really frightening because I don't play like [Eddie] and I've had to learn to anticipate all his quirky accents where he likes to push things and turn things upside down,” the rocker explained. “Just when you think they're going to go left, they go right or up or down.”
The Eddie Van Halen Riff Joe Satriani Says Is 'Impossible to Play'
“Playing this much Van Halen you've got to have Joe Satriani,” Hagar declared to Forbes. “There's nobody else that I think understands Eddie the way he understands him.”
Indeed, rock fans have every reason to believe that Satriani – a guitar god in his own right – will be in excellent form during the 2024 tour. That doesn’t mean there won’t be a learning curve.
When Hagar announced the Van Halen-focused tour during an appearance on The Howard Stern Show, he and the band performed a handful of songs, later revealing it was the first time they’d played the tunes live together.
In a video that’s made the rounds on social media (and can be watched below), Stern asked which of Eddie’s riffs was the most difficult to play. Satriani responded by attempting the intro to “Mean Street.”
“It’s impossible to play,” the guitarist insisted as he tried to perform the riff.
Van Halen Albums Ranked
Gallery Credit: Ultimate Classic Rock Staff