Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony Say Eddie Van Halen Tribute 'Will Happen'
By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta
January 13, 2021
Hagar, Michael Anthony, Vic Johnson and Jason Bonham planned for 2020 to be a busy year, but the COVID-19 pandemic began shutting down the world just as they were about to get started.
With a whole lot of unexpected time at home, the four-piece began work on a series of quarantine jam sessions that were mixed, mastered and released this month as the Lockdown 2020 live album. The track list includes songs by The Who, AC/DC, Bob Marley & the Wailers, David Bowie and, of course, The Circle and Van Halen, among others.
Celebrating Van Halen's music has never been more of a priority than right now.
Hagar and Anthony confirmed Wednesday morning in an interview with Q104.3 New York's Jim Kerr and Shelli Sonstein that there are plans for a concert tribute to Eddie Van Halen as soon as the pandemic allows.
"It's gotta happen. Of course it's gonna happen," Hagar said. "No one's really connected all the dots with everyone involved, but I have been told and I have read in interviews with various people involved — with Wolfie [Van Halen] and Valerie [Bertinelli] and Eddie's wife [Janie Liszewski] — they all said as soon as this is over, we're gonna get everybody together and do a...tribute, a thank you, a goodbye, a sendoff. That's an absolute must. I don't care if it takes 10 years, that will happen."
"We've got to celebrate the music," Anthony added. "So much great music."
News of Eddie's passing came just days before Hagar's annual birthday concert in October, which this year was filmed for pay-per-view from Catalina Island in Los Angeles due to COVID restrictions. While the singer endured some hollow criticism for going through with the show, he and Anthony agreed that they were fortunate to have live music to look forward to after such devastating news.
Following a moment of silence for Eddie during rehearsal, Hagar says he had a realization.
"When that piano part came in to 'Right Now,' Mike and I looked at each other and said, 'Oh, this is what we're supposed to do!' We are gonna carry on that music. We're gonna play that music to the best we can every play it every night, and that was the connection that made us go, 'Oh, we know what to do.' ...That music has got to be carried on, and who else to carry it on than the people who did it, the people that were involved in it."
Photo: Getty Images