Joe Satriani ‘Messed Up’ Attempt to Play Van Halen

In a recent interview, Nuno Bettencourt shared his perspective on Joe Satriani’s recent attempt to play Van Halen’s “Mean Street” on “The Howard Stern Show.” Bettencourt defended Satriani, emphasizing that attempting to play any Eddie Van Halen material, especially in a high-profile setting like Howard Stern’s show, is entering “hallowed ground.”

Bettencourt acknowledged the inherent difficulty and risk involved in playing Van Halen’s iconic riffs, pointing out that when musicians take on such challenges, it’s a daring move with no room for retractions. He expressed understanding and support for Satriani, highlighting the pressure and difficulty of performing legendary guitar parts in a live setting.

The discussion arose during a segment of “The Howard Stern Show” where Sammy Hagar, Joe Satriani, Michael Anthony, and Jason Bonham talked about their upcoming “Best of All Worlds” tour, covering hits from Hagar’s career, including Van Halen classics. When asked about the most challenging Eddie Van Halen riff, Satriani attempted an impromptu rendition of “Mean Street” but acknowledged afterward that he had “royally screwed up.”

Bettencourt’s defense of Satriani included a playful jab at Sammy Hagar for allowing the impromptu performance, jokingly expressing frustration with Hagar’s decision. He emphasized the challenge of recreating Van Halen’s intricate guitar work, especially when it involves iconic tracks like “Mean Street.”

“The one thing that I learned recently of seeing Joe or anybody — me, Joe, anybody — if we’re gonna take a risk and we’re gonna play an Edward anything, especially on Howard Stern or anything like that, where you know you can’t get it back, good luck. That’s all I’m saying is good luck. Why? Because you’re going now into hallowed ground.

“So, look, you’ve gotta give Joe a bit of a pass on this one, because it’s Joe doing Edward. I’m more pissed at Sammy [Hagar] for allowing him to do it. ‘Cause Sammy’s, like, ‘Man, that’s why I got Joe. Nobody can do this stuff.'”

“And I’m, like, look, you’re, you’re right there. You’re already putting him on the spot and doing those things and asking people to play those things. It’s really difficult. And if you’re gonna do it, man, and Joe probably knows this now, ’cause… Joe is untouchable as Joe Satriani. He’s the greatest Joe Satriani you’ll ever hear… Nobody can attack you when you’re doing you…

And Sam said, he’s like, ‘Yeah, that’s why I got Joe. He’s gonna nail it for you right here.’ And even Joe was, like, ‘No, man. This shit is fucking impossible.’ If I’m saying those words, I’m not playing after that. If I’m saying it’s impossible for me, the next thing I’m doing is putting the fucking guitar down. But he apologized, because you know what? Everybody will rip you apart.”

“To learn something like ‘Mean Street’, you’ve gotta sit down. You’ve gotta go like what I did. You literally sit there like a child, and I don’t care how good you are, it’s kind of going back to the drawing board, ’cause you’re, like, ‘Oh, this is different. What is happening here? This rhythm pattern.’ And you’re, like, ‘Oh my god. He’s drumming. Got it. Get that.’ Do I play drums? No? Don’t play ‘Mean Street’. Don’t do it.”

Nuno Bettencourt also touched on the learning process required to master Van Halen’s guitar parts, describing it as a humbling experience. He shared his own approach, likening it to going back to the drawing board, acknowledging the complexity of the rhythm patterns and unique elements in Eddie Van Halen’s playing.

About Subhojeet Mukherjee

Subhojeet has been a huge pro wrestling fan since 2002, and it's been his first love ever since then. He has years of writing experience for all things pro wrestling. His interests outside of wrestling include films, books and soccer. Subhojeet has reported for Alternative Nation, Ringside News, and Britpopnews.

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