Joe Satriani + Sammy Hagar Name the Most Difficult Van Halen Riff
As guests on The Howard Stern Show on SiriusXM, singer Sammy Hagar and guitarist Joe Satriani named the most difficult Van Halen riff to play. The shred legend called one riff “impossible to play” before making his own attempt at it.
The pair of musicians were flanked by bassist Michael Anthony of Van Halen fame and drummer Jason Bonham. The four-piece will head out on the road next year, performing a set that will primarily be dedicated to performing Van Halen material.
“We’re going to go deep into the Van Halen catalog. If you’re gonna go deep into the Van Halen catalog, you need Joe Satriani,” Hagar tells Stern, praising the virtuoso as one who is capable of handling such iconic and challenging guitar parts.
Stern asks, “What is the most difficult riff, you think, that Eddie ever came up with? Sammy, you said the intro to ‘5150’ was the favorite thing of yours that you love [the most].”
Favorites and most challenging, of course, are two very different things and Hagar acknowledges that he loves the “5150” intro as well as “Summer Nights,” another track off 5150, his 1986 debut with the band.
Turning his attention back to the original question, Hagar goes on, “But there’s something else from the early days that he did that we all just go… every time Eddie would play it and Joe plays it, I…,” trailing off, almost still awestruck by it’s complexity to this day.
In the video below, Satriani warms up his fingers, shakes his head and says, “This is impossible to play,” and gives it a whirl.
The song? “Mean Street,” the opening track on 1981’s Far Warning.
“That’s just lunatic [stuff],” Hagar marvels.
Watch directly below and the performance of “5150” that follows. See all of Sammy Hagar’s upcoming tour dates here.
Joe Satriani + Sammy Hagar Name the Most Difficult Van Halen Riffs to Play
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