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“I was like, ‘this is the last song that I wanted to play [for] Eddie Van Halen’”: Joe Satriani recalls his only meeting with Eddie Van Halen

“I had no idea he was coming and I was totally shocked.”

Eddie Van Halen (left) and Joe Satriani (right). Both are playing guitars, with big smiles on their faces.

Images credits: (Left) Chris McKay and (right) Roberto Ricciuti / Getty

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Joe Satriani has shared his experience of meeting with guitar legend Eddie Van Halen. Sadly, the meeting was the first and only one that ever occurred between the two.

Satriani is taking on EVH’s guitar parts for the upcoming The Best Of All Worlds tour, which kicks off in Summer 2024. He joins Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony, and Jason Bonham as they perform Van Halen material along with tracks from supergroups Chickenfoot and The Circle.

Looking back on the encounter in an interview with Ultimate Guitar, Satriani says (via Guitar World): “It was brief. I was in LA at Record One. I was in the last set of sessions for The Extremist album [released 1992]. Andy Johns was producing. Unfortunately, that morning we had put up a track that was really bothering me.

“It was just one of those songs that was a bit of a puzzle. I’d worked on it for two-and-a-half years and I still couldn’t figure it out. It was one of these songs where – if I could get specific for a second – I was blurring the line between rhythm section, riff and melody, and I had this idea that, instead of it just being like, chords, melody, like a typical instrumental… it was more like a chugging melody that seemed to sit with the band,” he says.

“There were two songs that were like that, Motorcycle Driver and this song, Speed of Light. At the time, Andy and I had just finished doing a lot of 12-strings, and so it was really jangly.”

Enter Mr. Eddie Van Halen, who according to Satch, was bubbling with energy: “All of a sudden, this was like 11 in the morning, Eddie walks into the studio. I had no idea he was coming and I was totally shocked.

“He’s got a cigarette and a beer, and he’s just racing a million miles an hour. He’s like, ‘Hey, Joe, what’s going on? Play me what you got.’ I was like, ‘this is the last song that I wanted to play [for] Eddie Van Halen,’” he laughs.

“But there it was, so we just sat there and we listened to the song and he made some comments and he picked up on the fact that it was really jangly at the moment… I didn’t see him again after that, unfortunately.”

Watch the interview below:

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