Ex-Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar compared in an interview with Paulo Baron the late guitarist Eddie Van Halen with virtuoso guitarist Joe Satriani. Hagar that sang with both of them explained the difference between the two.
Sammy Hagar compares Joe Satriani and Eddie Van Halen:
“When I left Van Halen, I said, ‘I don’t care if I ever do anything better than that because I probably won’t.’ Van Halen was so fucking good, everything about it. We had a genius guitar player and he and his brother were so connected that they played so well together that Alex [Van Halen, drums] couldn’t play that well with any other guitar player.
“And Eddie could play as good with another drummer but he couldn’t write a song and make it work the way he and Alex went like this. That was special. And then, of course, [bassist] Michael Anthony because he didn’t even care – he never said nothing, he never argued, he just showed up, he’s fast too like me. He could learn a song and he’d go, ‘Here’s the riff. Off you go.’
“Mike was off to the races, and Alex and Ed would spend 24 hours on one song before Mike and I walked in the room. They were really particular. So it worked, they ironed out every little thing. They didn’t have to, they just chose to. I said, ‘I never want to do that again.’
He continued, saying:
“With Chickenfoot, it was different. Joe Satriani is a complete anal perfectionist. When he shreds, he takes a solo where he’s going his stuff, and then he slows it down and takes every note. He goes, ‘Oh, there was a bad note in there…’ I’m going, ‘There was no fucking bad note! No one would ever hear that!’ No, no – he fixes it.
“He’s another nut, I love him to death, he’s probably the best guitar player in the world, and he’s definitely one of the greatest songwriters because Joe can write a song a minute, to where Eddie struggled.
“Eddie would take forever for whatever reason. If I say, ‘Joe, hey let’s write a song like ‘Whole Lotta Love,’ Joe will come to me that night with a complete song with a riff, and I’d say, ‘Wow, that’s kind of like it but yeah, that’s really cool.’
“He can just write out of the ether. Look at how many solo records he’s made with instrumentals, so he doesn’t even have lyrics to write, he just writes the melody on guitar. He’s really a genius, he a really, really gifted guy and a perfectionist.
Sammy Hagar continued:
“So, Chickenfoot was different but Joe made us perfectionists, we made perfect records. But, now with The Circle, they’re a half-between. I got guys that are so good. Mikey’s [Anthony, bass] so fast, he’s like me, you have to show him something once, he learns it, he memories it.
“[Drummer] Jason Bonham can play drums to anything. He could play drums to a freaking parrot screaming in the jungle and he’d put a fucking badass beat to it. So Chickenfoot was a little bit more like a Van Halen kind of thing but The Circle, man, we blow it out. We’ve rehearsed three times, went on tour the first time years ago, and made a record on the first tour, we made a live record.
“Three times we rehearsed, we made a setlist, we can play this, we get on stage… I tell Jason the night before, ‘Let’s add ‘Humans Being,’ the song Van Halen wrote for the ‘Twister’ movie.’ He goes, ‘OK, I’ll listen to it tonight.’
“And we get on stage, soundcheck, play, ‘OK, what about the ending?’ ‘OK, done.’ We go on play it that night and it’s fucking great. This band is unbelievable, they’re my dream band because we don’t have to rehearse. I hate to fucking rehearse.”