What could've been. Earlier this week, Van Halen's manager, Irving Azoff, confirmed all the rumors were true! Van Halen were planning a 2019 reunion tour with original bassist Michael Anthony, to hit stadiums across North America, and have major openers like Foo Fighters and Metallica. A new tribute to Eddie from Extreme guitarist Nuno Bettencourt reveals Eddie was really looking forward to the whole affair.
In a post to social media, Bettencourt paid tribute to the late Van Halen guitairst, who died last week, after a long battle with cancer. Bettencourt shared the last time he saw Eddie, right before the pandemic, and said Eddie was “in great spirits.” Bettencourt noted Eddie was “ super excited about reaching out to Michael Anthony to finally put the original VH lineup back together.”
Here's the full message:
As a kid who’s life was forever altered when the needle dropped on the fade in of Running With The Devil.
I dreamed that one day I could earn my own stripes.
But those stripes are only and forever Edward’s.
Today, 40 years later, I can only mourn those Stripes.
Once upon a time in Hollywood, recently, while recording the latest Extreme album in my home studio I got a call to come down to the front of my house, that someone is asking for me.
I was like, damn that’s annoying as I was in the zone cutting a guitar solo to a new song called RISE.
I dropped my guitar and headed down.
I walk out and… I was being summoned by the one and only… Edward.
As usual I got a warm hug and kiss from Eddie.
Even as a God, he always made you feel important.
He was in great spirits.
A proud dad, bragging about how Wolfie’s new solo album is gonna blow minds, etc…
What’s cool though, was the last thing Eddie talked about.
He said he was super excited about reaching out to Michael Anthony to finally put the original VH lineup back together. Saying that he wanted to do one final tour and have Van Halen go out the way they came in…Together… Guns Blazing!
Finally as Eddie said his goodbye, he asked about the new Extreme album that we were recording up in the house.
As we hugged, he says: “I’ll be back to listen to it when you’re done, and with a sinister raspy laugh , adds “it better be good “.
Finished it. Then. PANDEMIC.
Man, I was like a kid, counting the Covid Days down to when I could blare the new Extreme album in the studio, sitting side by side with My Hero, the GOAT, selfishly wanting to play him all the new guitar work that shamelessly, but with pride has his DNA all over my playing.
I guess that moment wasn’t meant to be…
It’s incredible how as a young player, your guitar chord, is the umbilical chord that intimately connects you to someone you may never meet, moreso than even someone in your own family.
At the drop of a needle or the touch of a space bar. They are there for you 24/7.
As Eddie was… and forever will be.
Thank you for shaping who I am today.
Love you, Edward.
You are the ONE.
In late 2018, David Lee Roth let it slip in an interview that "you know, next time my rock band will be playing the same place that the Yankees play. Okay?" And later he teased "But the band is solvent. And I can say that I contacted colleagues about being part of the show — Metallica, Guns N’ Roses, Jason Aldean, the Foo Fighters, Church, and Stapleton. And they all said that, if everything happens, they would certainly be involved.” Turns out Diamond Dave was not talking out of his ass.
Van Halen manager Irving Azoff told Pollstar in a new interview “We had lots of stops and starts, but there was every intention of doing a summer stadium tour (in 2019), and as the cancer moved around, [Van Halen] was physically unable to do it,” Azoff says. Azoff confirmed there would be major opening acts in various cities like Foo Fighters and Metallica, saying "There is no doubt in my mind that it would have been massive."
Azoff had naturally nothing but really great things to say about Eddie, reflecting “You get this image of this bombastic, incredible, loud, prodigy, but personally, he had a big heart. He did a lot of things for a lot of people that nobody knows about.”
I probably can’t speak as well as others have spoken over the last 24 hours as to Ed’s musical genius, but Ed the human being, especially as he had to come to grips with being human, really shined. He was a great father.”
Azoff conceded that Eddie's "rock 'n' roll life" led to some of his health issues but made it known, "I’ve never seen anybody fight the fight that [Van Halen] fought over the last 10 years, fighting the cancer.”
Interestingly, Azoff doesn't close the door on more Van Halen material in the future, but it's not up to him. “Wolf and Alex will go up to 5150, the studio in Ed’s house, but there’s been a lot of recording over the years. I can’t predict that for sure there will be anything new, but for sure they’re going to look at it,” he concludes.