When high-profile rock musicians die, their friends, bandmates and colleagues often pay tribute to them in a logical way: by staging a concert. The surviving members of Foo Fighters and Taylor Hawkins’s family held two concerts to honor Hawkins’s memory last year; the events featured Hawkins’s bandmates joined by a host of rock legends. It was far from the only event of its kind; readers of a certain age may remember the 1992 Concert for Freddy Mercury, in which the surviving members of Queen and a host of guests honored the life of the late Queen vocalist and raised money for AIDS awareness in the process.
It might come as a surprise, then, that no similar event has taken place for Eddie Van Halen, whose death in 2020 led to a number of shorter tributes at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame ceremony, but nothing on the scale of the concerts memorializing Mercury or Hawkins. And while the timing of Van Halen’s death could explain an initial delay in holding a large-scale event, it seems odd that nothing has happened since then.
Someone else who’s of that opinion is a former bandmate of Van Halen’s — one Sammy Hagar. As Corey Irwin reports at Ultimate Classic Rock, Hagar was candid about his frustrations in a recent interview on the podcast Rock of Nations.
“For them not to have done something for Eddie Van Halen, the greatest guitar player in the world, on the planet,” Hagar said in the interview. “Greatest rock musician, I’m telling ya. It’s ugly, but it’s not my job.”
Hagar was also candid about issues within the band, which he considered responsible for the lack of a Van Halen tribute event. “[W]hen I was in the band the first 9 years, we got along like freaking brothers and sisters. And we were happy together. One big family,” he said. “Things went wrong. Drugs and alcohol are a bad thing when it turns ugly. It’s just never been the same.”
It’s not hard to imagine that there wouldn’t still be a large audience for a high-profile Eddie Van Halen tribute concert — but if Hagar’s remarks are any indication, there’s no telling when (or if) we might see it actually happen.
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