Satriani plays Van Halen

Let me start by saying I think Joe did a stellar job with what appears to be very short notice.

This has been reported:

This is a video discussing it:

Some questions I would be keen on the CTC community’s views on:

If Joe hits every note with the best experts faithfully recreating the modelling for EVH’s tones, will he still get criticised? (my feeling is yes)

Would it have been better to get someone on youtube to do it? (my feeling is no)

If not Joe, then who?

Keen on your thoughts!

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Nuno. Without question.

Absolutely not.

Probably, but he has the same spirit as EVH had. Both just did their things and that was that and here we are now.

There are plenty of tribute bands whose guitarists can play every EVH song note for note, tone for tone, but it just wouldn’t feel right. Joe feels right doing this.

It’s similar to Zakk with Pantera now. I don’t know if there are too many good Pantera tribute bands (if there is one, they better be called Fantera) but even if you can play all of Dime’s stuff note for note, you don’t belong up there. Hell, back in the day, I could do that. But I wouldn’t have belonged up there either. Zakk’s got the spirit of Dime (I think… don’t know for sure) regardless of how well he plays the songs.


I’d say Pete Thorn over Nuno, as great as Nuno is.

Exactly! You have summed up in 1 sentence what I was trying to say in my waffle!

This is a hard gig I feel - and not just because of the music. In my opinion you have to have the right pedigree, be respectful of who EVH was, be experienced playing live on the scale this could grow to, be able to share the stage with musicians of the calibre of Sammy, Michael and Jason and on and on and on. You have to “belong” there as you say.

In my view it is not just who is the right player - but who is the right person to do this.

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Bingo. Joe’s always going to sound like himself, just as Eddie will always sound like himself, so if you want a flawless replica of Eddie’s playing, some tribute band was probably the place to start.

But, IMO, trying to seamlessly replace a player as game-changing as EVH was kind of feels more disrespectful to his legacy than instead bringing in a like mindedf peer who ma not sound the same,b ut is coming from the same sort of place. Both guys always look like they’re having a blast on stage and despite all the wild stuff they may layer on top, they’re playing amped-up rock and roll. It feels right.

Besides, as a huge Satch fan… when he’s playing this sort of pure groove rock and roll with Chickenfoot or with this tour, it seems like he tends to do less of that in his own music and gets a little more adventurous, and I LIKE that. :rofl: I think his solo music improved when he had Chickenfoot as an outlet and stopped trying to write instrumental Led Zep tunes with one or two “color” notes in the melody.


This is one of my favorite Satriani moments. Doesn’t hurt having Grace Potter along for the ride arguably the best rock singer frontwomam of her generation.

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I really like Grace Potter, but I also get why Satch wears dark glasses :wink: :laughing:

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Yeah poor stach has a big deer in the headlights thing going on here. Grace is great, saw her live in about 2016ish and she puts on an amazing show. She’s awesome on the B3.

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I actually thought the Mean Street thing was fine - well within the tolerances for being asked to do a thing on the spot that is obviously not your usual thing. I was actually surprised he even knew it. That’s not an intro you can stumble through without having specifically looked into how it’s done. e.g. If you ask me to play a Tom Petty song on the spot, I can probably do it on the fly just by trying to imagine how it “goes”. Mean Street, no way. Prior to the mid-2000s or so I didn’t even know that was done with tapping.

In terms of “regular” people on YouTube, this is honestly one of the best Van Halen tones / vibes I’ve seen:

The video series is more about the guitar tone and how to get it, and Jim even makes a disclaimer about the playing not being note-for-note accurate. Given that disclaimer, this is actually really good Van Halen playing from someone who isn’t trying too hard to get everything exactly right. The tones and overall vibe especially are really good:

As best I can tell it’s just a plexi with two power tubes pulled, the knobs on 10, and a Variac at 70 or something. That’s pretty much it.


In 1979 Van Halen shook the guitar world! But that was over 40 years ago, and now there are countless musicians that have built on top of him and others to reach an even higher technical level.

For a show like that, I don’t think a clone is desirable; someone popular of a similar age (to appeal to the fans) with great chops who can put a little “spin” on the music to keep it a little bit “fresh” would be great. I’m sure that Joe will do a wonderful job, and he will surely learn the material to a very high standard.

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It more than likely comes down to marketing. If they are taking it on the road selling tickets,having a pro name lineup is more marketable than “Sammy and some tribute act guy…”

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I mean, the Venn diagram of people who would come out to see Joe Satriani, and people who would come out to see Sammy Hagar playing Van Halen classics, isn’t QUITE a circle, but it’s pretty close.

I wouldn’t understate the importance of the simple fact that they’re friends.


I cannot believe what I am reading online about this! So many people wanting an EVH impersonator to do the tour. Joe getting treated unfairly in the comments in my view.

Even if Joe nails an impersonation of EVH, I can see some still saying “yes, but this impersonator is better!”. Yikes.

I agree! But the comments I’m reading online from many are demanding a note for note, tone for tone, feel for feel replica.

Glad it’s not me doing it - and not just because I’m not a good enough guitarist to technically do it - but just imagine the load of taking on this responsibility!

Jim G. Definitely has the gear, tone is great. I think this kid nails the vibe. Haven’t heard many better.

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You’re no slouch at this stuff yourself!

Thanks Tom! Ed was my first guitar love

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Another story on this story:

He should just post himself playing it perfectly on Twitter, I’m sure he can by now. But does he care enough to do so? Probably not!

Here’s another name that might actually be the best overall choice….

Dweezil Zappa

I think when he was coming up Frank brought EVH to the house to show Dweezil a thing or 2. And he seems like the kind of player who wanted to learn everything he could find. He damn sure has the chops and experience.

I bet that in a few years, maybe 10-15, there will be the EVH equivalent of “Experience Hendrix” for him. That’ll be a hell of a thing.

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:grinning: I think… Satriani is just fine for this gig. He’s a wonderful and expressive player who exudes taste and melody and will play the music with reverence. My opinion on anyone who judges Joe by a small false start on a riff that is absolutely godawfully difficult to play at the best of times is that they should first go listen to Joe’s entire catalogue for a week straight and then go have a shower to wash off the shame followed by 100 apology pushups.

Just my opinion. We as the guitar community need to stand together more…