Sammy Hagar


Sammy Hagar (2006)

Sammy Hagar: The Evergreen Rocker Lives Life Up.



Sammy Hagar talks passionately about his new album Livin' It Up, touring, his lifestyle and bar, everything Van Halen, plus more on Journey, Planet US, Montrose, Michael Anthony and then some more Van Halen. Enjoy!

Sammy Hagar is one of a handful of artists that heavily influenced my desire to start this website. My desire was to speak to like minded people about music that inspired me and through Sammy's work with Van Halen and as a solo artist; some of these tunes are among my most treasured.
For whatever reason, it has taken me nearly 10 years to connect with Sammy for an interview. But I got my interview! With personal thanks to Tom Consolo at Azoff Management and Sammy's publicist and indeed Sammy himself, my long awaited interview is below.
Sammy was in top form, passionate as always and was happy enough to shoot overtime to continue chatting with me. This is definitely one of my favourite interviews while running this site and I hope it is the first of more to come.
While I didn't quite have time to run through 10 years worth of questions, I think we did manage to cover a lot of ground for interview number 1. Looking forward to the next.
Over to Sammy….



[Sammy's publicist connects me through to Sammy...]

Andrew, Sammy here.
Hey Sammy, how are you doing?
I'm doing pretty good.
What can I do for you Andrew?

Well, it's a great honor to speak to you finally Sammy. I have been running the site 10 years nearly and you are 1 of only 3 interviews that I have never been able to do yet. Until today in this case.
Well, here we go!

I'm rapt to get you on the phone finally…how ya doing?
I'm pretty beat I gotta tell you. I must admit. I just finished a tour and it was the most grueling tour and the most rewarding tour I have ever done in my life.
I had Michael Anthony and The Other Half out there with me…so I did two shows per night basically. I played an hour twenty with my band, about an hour ten or twenty with Mikey and sometimes we'd screw around and do an encore.
I started out with two hours and fifty eight minutes, then the next show I went down to 2.52 and then to 2.48 and it stayed right around between 2.35 and 2.45. And it wore me the fuck out…hahaha…If I may be straight out honest!

Haha. I actually have one of the set lists in front of me and it's amazing.
Yeah, we did so many different sets too. I don't know…which list do you have?

New Jersey, Homdel I'm looking at.
Pretty close to what we did…hahaha. But every time we'd get bored with a song we'd change 3 or 4 songs a night and towards the end we started getting a little more radical with it.
Cause. Like I said…the Wabo's – we have a set list – but we don't go by it. Haha. So everyone says 'well, they don't have a set list'. No no, we have a set list – we just don't use the fucking thing. We use it as a reference.

Well, that's rock n roll isn't it?
Well, it keeps me alive out there. You know, if I had to do the same show every night, um…jumping around. That was the hard thing about the Van Halen tour. We were not able as a band to ad-lib and change it up too much because in order to play a Van Halen thing you have to rehearse for a month per song. So we had to do the same show every night, you know. I'm telling you, after 40 shows I wanted to commit suicide and we did 80! I was just going man…I started looking at it as an exercise. Ok, I'm going to go out and get a 2 hour aerobic workout.

I'll come back to that, because there's a couple of questions regarding that…
I'm sure.

Haha… “I'm sure” haha…do you go through any interview without those questions?
It's hard at my age for as long as I have been doing this to go out and just do a show. Like most people would say the opposite. Like anyone who has been doing this as long as I have most of the time would say 'it's much easier to put a show together and you just go do it.'
But then it's like a job…well I don't like to work to start with. I hate work. So 'a job' is a bad word. I like to play music and have fun – every night. I like to throw a party and in order to do that you have to go with how you feel and how it feels between you and the audience.
You can't do a sterile show otherwise…I hate it…I wouldn't do it. I'd rather go mop the same floor every night; you know…it would be the same thing to me.
I gotta have fun and throw a party so my way around that is by changing it up every night and it works.

And your shows seem to becoming more of a party each and every year.
Yeah they do. It's the reason…it gives me a reason to do it. Otherwise I would be saying this isn't fun anymore.
For it to be fun you gotta make it fun and I make it fun…for the people and for myself. I honestly have a blast out there. I go out – I get fired up before the show. My band and I, we all do a couple of shots of tequila before the show…Mikey does a lot more than that…but…hahaha….we try and keep it to one bottle per show. And we go out and just honestly start having fun...goofing off, changing it up. I love to keep the band on their toes. They love it when I change it – it keeps them on their toes.
The way my drummer says it – by the third song, if I haven't changed the song yet, it gets harder and harder to get off the hook. As soon as I change the song up and throw him a curve, he gets off the hook and the show goes…and we all have our little quirky things that make the show work for us.
For me it's half the amount of tities I see by the first…if I haven't seen a nice pair of tits by the first four songs, I go 'this ain't working, I gotta kick it up a bit.'
You can't go out and beg for that stuff, it just has to happen naturally, so you have to create a good enough party for that to happen.

It sounds like you are! I hope you can bring it down under sometime soon.
Well, we just finished the tour and I'm whipped. So we are not going to do anything for a little while, but I want to so bad.
I got good news – the tequila – the only country I am launching it in outside of the USA and Mexico is in Australia by the end of the year.

A company called Infusions Solutions – they have They are going to distribute my tequila. I can't make much more than we make as the demand is too heavy for America. It's like, hand made…I can't make a million cases. We are only sending about 6000 cases over for the whole of Australia. I assume that'll be gone in the first day…hahaha.

Haha….you know we like to drink down here.
Yes we do!

You had a great time here in 96 or so…I flew over to see that show. Awesome.
Well, I gotta tell you. The band has changed. We are the same band, but we have changed so much since then that it's not even – those were great shows – but I had just left Van Halen and I was really more keyed in and focused on the artist side of things. 'I want to be an artist; I don't want to be a heavy metal artist'.
I wanted to shed the Van Halen thing and I was kinda of like a person who was trying to rebel against his parents at the time.
Now, where we have come…all that has gone and the band has developed into who and what we are.
The reason I bring up the tequila thing – it gives me a double reason to come over. The distributor is going to want me to come over and promote the tequila and I'm going to want to come over and promote what I do. It all works the same.

It goes hand in hand doesn't it? Even more so with the new album lyrically. Let me ask this question – is Sammy Hagar now a lifestyle?
Completely! With this band or without this band I would be the same now. I really have found the type of life that keeps me energized and happy and puts a smile on my face and keeps me from being pissed off. It's pretty much beach all day and dance all night.
I like the whole Cabo lifestyle. I like the weather, the beaches, the sand, I love my house I have there and I love my bar. Haha…I may as well have wrote that song…haha…I really do love my bar.
Having that down the street is just one of the greatest things in the world. Sitting around the house at night – 9 o'clock, 10 o'clock – you are sitting there thinking 'fuck, I don't feel like going to bed…I can't have any more sex…I have watched all the TV I want to. I'm going down to my bar!'
And you go down there and jump on stage and play, throw down some tacos, do a couple of shots of tequila. To me it doesn't get any better than that and it is an awesome luxury.

It doesn't sound much better!
If you find it, please let me know! I'm open minded, I haven't closed my mind, it's just that this pretty much gets me off at this time in my life.

That's awesome. You have a fantastic fanbase who are largely supportive. But not everyone is going to come along for the ride. Do you find that some people just don't get it?
Oh yeah…especially with this record. Ever since I have kinda been doing this lifestyle thing – bringing the beach on tour basically. I have always said that not everyone is going to get it. And I'm ok with that. As long as I don't lose my fans and even some of those fans don't like this record because of the country element – I've got two or three country songs on there.
But it's ok. But what they have to realize is that I am not a one record artist. I am not a one haircut artist. I am none of that stuff. I am always going to change and I'm going to bring it to you. I'm going to bring you something that I think is cool and something that really interests and thrills me and that is the type of artist I am.
If you expect me to come out in the same clothes I wore the last time – it ain't going to happen. Other than my little goatee and my hair a little bit longer – I'm kinda liking my hair long…getting a hair cut is like a pain in the ass. Getting hair down your back on a hot day…oh, get outta here!
Other than a few little quirky things like that, I am pretty much…I am really a changeling…I'm always looking for something new to turn my fans on to. And not all of them always get it.
Like some fans say 'I like it when you turned me onto tequila, but I'm not buying the country trip'. Fine…I'll find something else for you.
But I'll guarantee you – I will keep find something things to throw at you. I'm not going to be pigeon holed. I want to keep my fans happy but even the ones that might be pissed off about this record because maybe it isn't heavy enough for them, they're going, 'well, we'll wait…we'll go see Sammy live', cause they have to have that!
I've made it an addiction for my fans – they have to have that...a little taste of it. They'll fly down to Cabo if it's the only place they can get it.

Sure. Is this album a bridge to where you are going?
I'm not sure. I'm not sure where I'm going with my music. I really don't. I tend to keep getting more and more rootsy I think and my roots are blues, country, soul and rock. Rock is forth believe it or not. I did not start out playing rock; I started out playing blues and R&B.
When I was going back – my first musical experience with my father was listening to Hank Williams. And then Elvis Presley came along and my big sisters went with that, so that's really country/rockabilly/blues. So those are my roots and they are really starting to come out even deeper on this record.
You know, something could happen in my life – like I could go see a band – a wild example could be some extreme far-out free jazz form band and that would blow my mind and completely set me on a new track.
I'm open like that…I'm one of those people that loves music and loves style and all that stuff. So anything could happen, but right now I'm just kickin' around the beach…haha.

Yeah, well…you have just got this record out. So we shouldn't pressure you about the next one yet!
Oh no no…you can do what ever you like. Haha…I'll just go take a walk on the beach and forget about it all.

No this record I think is my best song-for-song songwriting I think. Some of my most honest.

I was going to say something along the same lines. It is a very passionate record isn't it?
It really is. I built the studio… When I went on tour with Van Halen I rebuilt my studio – I had it at my house and I took it out and put it in a warehouse and really built a studio inside a studio. It is like an air studio – it is completely suspended and my band, while I was gone for that year with Van Halen, The Wabos - they went in that studio every day with producer Bob Daspit, the engineer and just worked on sound.
Vic went through all my old amps and my old guitars and his collection and he just tried everything. And when I came back those guys just had that place sounding so freeking good I was so motivated to just go in there and just be myself and just let it all go and nuts – not even think about who I was supposed to be and I really go wound up in it man, I really got wound up in it.
I love this record!!!

It really sounds like you do and I must say that I haven't heard vocals from you so strong and clear since I don't know when.
Yeah, and it wasn't laborious whatsoever….I walked in and I'd just sing these lyrics as they were so close to what I was really feeling and doing with my life and…even the silliest song on this record - The Way We Live.

It is strictly written about my fans sleeping out on the sidewalk at Cabo Wabo and they asked me to write a song about it – so I did.
But, no one else is going to get that just like you said and if anyone is going to dog me about this they are going to say 'now what's he singing about? Sleeping on the sidewalk… Is he homeless or something?'
It's so personal and so inside, but most of the songs are like that, so they were so easy to sing with complete passion and conviction.

Song style aside, that comes through loud and clear and it does sound like you live and breathe the record. Personally I'm digging it and I can't put it on and not be happy.
Yeah, that's what it's for. If you wake up in a bad mood – put this record on, it will change that. If you wake up unmotivated saying 'I really want to work out but can't get motivated' – put this CD on and crank it, you'll be in the gym in 5 minutes.
You'll be headphones on, walking up the mountain or on your bike fucking blasting down the road.
It really has that all in there because it's pure outdoor, night life fun. You're either going dance and put a smile on your face or start making plans – 'You know what, I'm gonna call up so and so and see if they want to go to the beach today.'
It is the manual to a good time and to a lifestyle. And I'm in love with the record.



Sammy, I have 10 years worth of questions here so I don't know how many I'm going to get to ask you!
No, go ahead.
<coughs> Sorry, I'm coughing like crazy here.

No worries at all, I'm much the same…its 7 in the morning here. Too early!
Oh, Lord...I'm sorry, I feel bad for you.

No no no…I'll do it at any time. Happy to have you on the phone!
Ok, well shoot man, you can ask me anything you like.

Ok, so jumping to Van Halen then. Do you get tired of being asked about the band in I guess every interview, being that everything is kinda on hold?
No I don't get tired of it. The truth of the matter is, Van Halen – one of the greatest rock n roll bands in history –

No question about it. My era…Dave era….all of it together it fucking….you can't get much more rock n roll history than that.
It's a shame that it is not functional anymore. The last tour was really….I spearheaded that; I really wanted that to happen. I said this has to happen.
I heard Eddie had been sick with cancer and I said, you know…if this guy dies and we never do this, it's gonna be a shame for everybody. For the fans, for the band, just for rock n roll and history.
So I pushed for it to happen and it really wasn't a good time.
I wish I would have waited or tried to do it sooner. I don't know which would have been worse or which would have been better.
But if it had of gone great, then Van Halen could have been together again and I could have had my band on the side.
But as it turned out, my band is my band now and Van Halen is my side project.
And unless something really changes, it's going to stay that way.

And not because that's exactly what I want, it's just not user friendly. It's not any fun to be around Eddie, he's not a fun guy to be around. He's just really angry and I don't know why.
Cause, it's like 'Hey dude, what's your problem? You've got everything anyone could want...', but he wants more. He doesn't want to share the spotlight…he doesn't want to share the creativity anymore. He doesn't want to be a band; he wants to be a solo artist. And he used to say that about me and here I am a fucking solo artist!
But I keep saying he is the one that wants to be a solo artist. He wishes that he and his brother could just go out by themselves and not have to deal with other people so that he can just do what ever he wants.

Well, that's where I get confused. Why doesn't he do that then…why don't both of the brothers just get out there and do that?
Well…first of all – in the band Van Halen, Eddie always did whatever he wanted, I did what I wanted, Alex did what he wanted and Mikey did what he wanted.
But then Eddie started saying, no no, I want Alex to do what I want him to do.
You know, on that Gary Cherone trip, he played drums on a few songs.
C'mon! Fucking do a solo album! Not this when you have a drummer like Alex Van Halen.
And he sang lead on a song. My God! Am I gonna let this guy sing? That'd be like me saying 'Eddie, I'm going to play lead guitar on that song instead of you.'
It's not going to be as good, you know, but he just wants to do everything and tell everyone what to do and he's fucking crazy. So it's not very easy to say 'oh, that's a good idea'.
If it was a good idea that'd be easy, but if it's just some harebrained cockamamie thing that he doesn't even remember what he said 5 minutes later…I'm not going to sit in the studio all night trying to do Eddie's solo trip with my voice.
It was tough.
Those last three songs we recorded – I could have recorded three albums in that amount of time.

Yeah, I was going to say that while they are ok songs….they sounded labored. They didn't flow or have that spontaneous Van Halen vibe.
Man, it was hoarse brother. I went in and Eddie had spent 3 weeks on a guitar part and I'd come in and do my vocal in 2 hours. And it would be done.
Now, you can make fun of me all you want and say 'Yeah, you should have spent more time on your vocals…they could have been better – fuck you!'

It was as good as it could be though. Especially under those circumstances, I just tried not to be around the guy.
He was miserable.
Thank God for the producer, he really made things bearable. He kept it together.
That tour would never have happened if it wasn't for Glen Ballard. He got me in and out before Eddie and me would get in a fight. And then the tour – same thing.
Two airplanes and all that. If someone could really see what went on behind the scenes, not what happened on stage….and sometimes that wasn't so hot either.
But you would go – 'Oh, I understand why Sammy doesn't want to do it.'
Plus, if they want to do it – if Ed wants to do it or Alex wants to do it. If Ed wants to do it, all he has to do is call us up and say 'Hey, I'm sorry about what happened before, let's try this again.'
I'd give it a try, but it would have to be a little bit different.

There were a lot of reports of Eddie drinking heavily on tour.
He was pretty out of it the whole tour. There were nights when I didn't even know what song he was playing. Nobody else did either. We just stayed on the same song while he stumbled around the neck of the guitar.
And he is the most brilliant guitar player in rock history. Certainly one of them…right up there with Jimmy [Page], I don't care what anyone says.
I think Eddie is as innovative as Jimmy or anyone else and together we wrote some of the greatest songs in rock history and with Dave they wrote some of the greatest songs in rock history.
So it's all been done. I don't want to go out there and bury the goose. I would sooner leave it alone and say let this thing go down as one of the greatest thing.
I don't want to keep going out there and butchering it.
But I wish we had of hit Australia.

Same here!
We obviously didn't leave the country…haha.

Probably a good thing, right?
Yeah! It's a long flight to deal with someone on an aircraft.

It sucks!
We had our own airplanes… Ed and Al had a plane and me and Mike had a plane, because the times we tried to fly together it would almost be a smack the windows out of the plane kinda vibe.
They couldn't put us on a commercial airliner all together…not for 8, 10 or 12 hours!

That's the worst thing about living down here.
It's a ways!

Jumping to the 5150 album – the 20th Anniversary of the album being released this year.
Oh that's right.

What an amazing record!
Yeah, that's a great record. That was Van Halen! I think For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge is the best record, that's my personal favourite. But 5150 was the most high energy rock n roll record that we made with me in the band. It was just magic.
We made that album in 4 weeks! It was done, thank you, goodbye, thank you – written, record and mixed. That's a good example of what the band could be when everyone is just letting each other just do their thing and everyone comes to the table with their thing and you just get in a room and pow!! It's just instant…those were the good days.

And you went from 4 weeks on that record to nearly a year on Carnal Knowledge.
Yeah. That was kind of intentional. That was our agreement with Andy Johns, the producer…that we wanted to make the definitive Van Halen record and we were getting along pretty good then.
But I'll straight up say it – the only problem with that record was that we were a little bit lazy - we had so much success and we were having such a good time.
Fucking Eddie and I were out buying new cars everyday and racing them down Pacific Coast Highway, you know, having a good time and not wanting to go into the studio and work as much.
So the reason that record took so long was mainly because of that, but it was a great record in the end.

I love it. I kinda move between that and 5150 as my favourites, depending on the day of the week. Amazing records.
Is there any chance of your records with Van Halen getting the remaster treatment like they did with the Dave era albums?

I would think so. I would think that it is not as necessary though as the Dave records were as they were from a different era.
They were records…vinyl and all that and they were mastered on vinyl, so they had already been mastered for CD, but I don't think the technology was up to par.

To where we started – 5150 could probably use it, but Balance man…shit, that was hot…about as good a technology as you could get. That record sounds phenomenal.
So I don't think that it is as necessary and that's probably why they haven't done that.
But that stuff doesn't mean anything to me…I'm kinda a vintage guy. I like things to be what they are and what they were and just leave them alone and move on.
To keep fucking around with that old stuff and trying to re-sell it to the fans, that takes a little bit of a cheap shot.
But that's what broke the band up in the first place – the first Greatest Hits record. It wasn't all that did it, but it was the icing on the cake.
To me I'm not into going in and recording two new songs…and that last venture with the Best of Both Worlds package – I was all for trying to do a whole record, but three months later I'm going 'Man, we haven't even finished three songs dude…you want to tour, let's go tour. You want to make a record, go call someone else.'
I wasn't going to spend all that time in there.

I can understand that. And now Eddie's off doing his adult movie soundtrack work now.
I think that is just his way of, like I said…trying to be a solo artist and trying to do it undercover.
But he needs to get out and do it. I'm all for him doing anything. I think he should go out and tour – find a little band and go out and play…just jam and be crazy and save Van Halen for Van Halen. Van Halen - that's gotta be four of us…or rather me or Dave, I don't give a shit. It's just gotta be four people getting along and playing music together and making the music together. Not about the way Eddie is trying to do it now.
It will never work – he should just go out and be a solo artist. Go jam, go play, go make a record…shit I'm all for it. That's what I'm going to do. That's the way I do it – 'ok, that ain't working, I'll go put my band together again you know.'





What's with Eddie and Alex Van Halen jamming with Kenny Chesney?? That's your gig!
Well, Kenny's my good buddy and they know it. When I took Michael Anthony out on tour I think it made them feel insecure, you know, 'we've gotta make a statement.'
So Kenny Chesney comes to town, they call up management and said we want to come and jam…just to show that they are not sitting at home doing nothing I guess.
It was the strangest thing…Kenny called me after that and said, he goes 'Oh my God dude, how did you do it?' Hahaha.

Oh no!
It was just the craziest wackiest thing for them to do that! Why wouldn't they have gone and jammed with some rock people or something? It just didn't make any sense whatsoever, but Ed and Al don't always make sense.

Ok, so any chance we might one day see Van Halen touring with both Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth?
Oh no! So there you would throw another monkey wrench into the fucking brew! I don't ever see that happening.
That was my dream – to try and make that happen from the last Sam & Dave…when I took Dave on tour with me – the Sam & Dave tour.
That was my whole reason for doing that – 'perhaps Dave and I will become friends, we can buddy up and then we'll go hit on the brothers…and we'll have a great time.'
The fans deserved that. But oh no…but I'll tell you …right now, David is more user friendly than Eddie.

Oh dear. People within the industry often have colorful descriptions when talking about Dave.
He's wacky man…he's as wacky as a motherfucker…but at least you know what you get. With Eddie, he has become wacky. He used to be this sweet, great guy. He was my best friend, my next door neighbour, but he's turned into this monster.
But Dave's always been crazy. So at least you know what you are getting with Dave.
Dave cracks me up. He can't let the Van Halen thing go. His newest CD is a remake of the old Van Halen songs. I don't get it…'C'mon Dave, come up with some new shit, go freshen yourself up…'

His live set list is mainly Van Halen.
Yeah, it's 25 year old material…20 year old stuff whatever it is. C'mon man, he needs to get over the fact he's not in Van Halen anymore. Or maybe he should be…maybe that's the ticket.
It's just a shame that Australia – the only Van Halen tour you got was the Cherone tour.

I saw it and it wasn't pretty.
Yeah, Gary's a great guy, but that was so far removed from what Van Halen is all about. It was too bad we never got over there. But it's not over…
Andrew – it's not over until it's over.
I'm ready. I'm fucking ready. My chops are up – I'm out there singing and playing better than I ever have in my life and I can do it – anything that comes along I can do it.
And I'm open minded to doing it if it could be fun. Take the fun out of it and you lose me. I go with the fun.

Again, I don't know when you are going to pick up that phone that keeps ringing and end the interview, so I'll jump to some other questions quickly!
Well, I think times ran out…these last three phone calls have been my publicist trying to hook me up with the next interview…haha.
I'll give you one more Andrew – take your pick!

Thanks Sammy. Thank you mate…I appreciate the extra time. I just wanted to talk about another guitarist – a friend of mine and a friend of yours – Neal Schon.
Oh, he's awesome.

I'm sorry Planet Us didn't work out as I dug the two tunes that I heard.
Yeah, that could have been a great band, but as you well knew, I couldn't come out and say it at the time, but the Van Halen reunion was coming up and I couldn't have three bands!
I didn't want to take these guys down that road and then leave them high and dry.
So I had to pull the plug on that early – especially with a guy like Neal who the second you tell him something, you may as well have told you!

But Neal's a great player…probably one of the most underrated guitar players around because he is as good as anyone, but he never gets the credit for inventing anything or you know.
But Neal goes back to Santana for God's sake! And here you are with a guy like Carlos Santana who is a legend himself – you are not going to get much credibility there.
And so you know, Neal since then it's just been such a commercial ride with Journey – but Journey is a great commercial band.

Oh absolutely.
They got big because they were so fucking good. They made such great songs. It wasn't because they were hit makers…they created those hits through just great musicianship and great songwriting.
Neal has never gotten his due and probably never will, but he's an awesome guitar player.

What do you think of their decision to go with Jeff Scott Soto as vocalist, standing in for Steve Augeri.
I think it's really too bad for Steve as he is a great guy and he meant well. But he got so hung up on trying to be Steve Perry that I think it took him down. Jeff's a great singer…Jeff's the real deal. Jeff's himself…he sings like Jeff Scott Soto. He doesn't sing like somebody else and that's what they needed all along because the rest of the guys in the band are that talented – that good.
So I think it will turn out to be a good move, just too bad it happened so late…and too bad for Steve, cause Steve did a great job filling in for Steve Perry for so many years, because that's what he was doing.
Now maybe Journey can reinvent themselves.

Jeff's a friend and an amazing singer.

Montrose Sammy?
I think like Van Halen, Montrose for me is too retro…I can't go back and do an album. Every year I try to do something with Ronnie and Bill and Denny…you know, we've done it for a few years in a row, and it's great…but it's best to keep it like that.
But to say I'm going to put Montrose back together and go out and do a major album and major tour – I can't do that.
It was a great band…really really a great band. But I'm just so different from that now.

You have recorded one lead vocal for his [Ronnie Montrose] new album haven't you?
That's right – and it's a cool song – Colorblind. We co-wrote it just like the old days. Thank God it wasn't like the old days though…haha
Ronnie and I put all that shit to rest and we've grown up and it's awesome to go out on stage and play with those guys. Denny Carmassi is one of the greatest drummers on the planet.

Wonderful drummer…
I love that guy – one of my best friends, three of four times a week we speak on the phone or see each other. So it's all good. But I don't see that band getting back together and being valid in the world today other than just being some old band just trying to do it again. I'd rather just be this old guy that's doing it some other way.
4 old guys…there's nothing worse than 4 old guys! One's ok, but 4!!!

Haha. You are doing well Sammy.
Just quickly if I can – Michael Anthony – his interview with Burrn Magazine was one of the best and most open and honest interviews I have ever read.
I wanted to get your take on that – gutsy of him to come out and just tell it like it is.

I think it's about time.
Mike has always been the guy that Ed and Al kept their thumb on. And Eddie really was not good to him on the last tour. And I fought for him and if it wasn't for me fighting for him, they would have done the tour without him.
I said 'I will not do the tour without Michael Anthony. It is either going to be the four members or I'm out.'

So I forced Mike into the band and by doing that, they were really really not cool to Mike. And Mike is the greatest fucking guy on the planet...he's one of the greatest bass players on the planet… one of the greatest background vocalists on the planet and he's valuable.
And to treat him like shit I don't get it. I don't fucking get it.
So I'm so happy for Mike that he stood up and went out and said 'Look man, I'm just going to tell it like it is and here's what's going on.' And that's the way it is going to be from now on.
Now that could be another part of the reason why there will never be a Van Halen re-union, cause I'm certainly not going to do it without Mike and they may not want to talk to Mike after that.

I thought it was an amazing interview…I had so much respect for him already, but after I read that, I was like – wow, you rule Mike.
You know Andrew….the bottom line is that everyone can sit here and say 'Oh he's the problem, that guy's the problem', point your finger at everybody…the bottom line really is that the Van Halen machine doesn't work well anymore.
If it did, I would be the first guy there saying 'Hey, this is a great band, I want to be part of this.' And I do want to be part of this, but not when you can't. I don't know what happened to Ed, but he's a changed dude.
If you ever do an interview with him, more power to you brother.

I'd actually love to do an interview with Ed.
I really hope you do get to interview this guy. When we did the reunion and we did the new record, as much press as we could have got – if you noticed, you never saw…very little interviews… never saw us on TV, never heard Eddie on the radio unless someone called him at 4 o'clock in the morning and hope that he answers the phone.

Ok, that is because Al is the smart brother and the good brother and he keeps that fucker out of the press. Because man, anyone that gets hold of that guy is going to get an earful.

I understand. I'm up for it!
Haha….ok man, this is my other call I gotta take it.

Ok thanks Sammy for the extra time, I really enjoyed talking with you. I appreciate it.
Ok, adios Andrew, bye.







c. 2006 / Interview By Andrew McNeice






Sammy Hagar (2002)


WMMS Cleveland - Interview by Matt.

Van Halen, in particular, the Hagar era, has always been a religion for me. All of my very best friendships in this world, were started around musical discussion that led us to discover that “5150” was definitely our favorite album ever recorded, and when it came to live videos, there was definitely nothing that could touch our well worn copies of “Live Without A Net”. Any TRUE Van Halen fan knows that the Hagar and Roth eras are two very separate periods of time, and one, does not mix with the other……or does it? In what could be a possible sign of the apocalypse, Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth have united for a tour this summer, and the tour opens right here in Cleveland, on Wednesday, May 29th. I had an opportunity to catch up with Sammy and discuss many things on a Friday afternoon, and here is just a bit of what the Red Rocker had to say!

MBL – You guys have said some pretty colorful stuff about each other in the past. How is it in 2002 that you guys are touring together?
First of all, Dave said a lot of colorful things about me, and he said a lot of crazy, wild, goofy things about me because his feelings were hurt because I joined the band that he thought he was going to die with, and we took it right straight down the road. I understand why he was a little upset about that. If you look at some of the things that he's said about me, it's just pure angry stuff like, “he's a no talent troll. He's my bitch.” And I'm going, “Oh, boy.”
MBL – That was my favorite – “He's my bitch, and when he says my name, we just sell that many more records.”
SH –
Yeah. For him to even say that…Take a look at me and take a look at him together. It kind of looks like he's really my bitch, but I'm not claiming that. The only thing that I ever said about Dave was the truth. We did have a rivalry. As many times as he's went back into Van Halen and tried to make it work…they've thrown me out and try to get him back in, then throw him out and get Gary Cherone in, throw him out and get Dave back, throw him out, get him back again. I'm going, “hold on here.” I called their attorney and said, “why can't we just do the Sammy Hagar 'Sam and Dave Tour'? Tell Ed and Al, “Don't worry. We'll all travel separately and meet on stage, and we just do the show.” They threw that out, you know, don't even want to talk about it. I think that we had both just had enough, and he just called up and said, “let's just do it together – The Sam and Dave tour.” I said, “Right the Hell on!” It came together. When we met in a room for the first time to discuss the whole thing, Dave stood up and shook hands and said, “I don't care what's gone on in the past and what's been said in the past, we're just meeting for the first time. Let's just start from there.” I said, “right on.” That's the way we approached it. So far, so good. But now, what hasn't happened yet has been us going out on stage – not together. He's got his band, I've got mine. But in Cleveland, the very first show, on the coin toss Dave closes that show, and we go every other one. I close the next show, then Dave closes Chicago and I close whatever is next. The problem is that we haven't addressed yet is, “what's Dave gonna do when I've finished my hour and a half on stage?” That's gonna be the problem. That's all I'm going to say. Everyone's going, “what do you see as a problem.” I'm saying that the problem is that Dave has to walk out and follow me, and that's all I've got to say. We'll find out what the man's made of.
MBL – So, the coin toss has already been made and he's going to close in Cleveland?
SH –
Yep, so get there early, folks!! Even if I was closing in Cleveland, it wouldn't matter. This is really about the whole show. We have this big 30'x40' video screen that we're going to put together. Dave's putting 10 minutes of his career together. I'm putting 10 minutes of my career together…you know, little footage of things like Ronnie Montrose wrestling with me backstage and stuff.
MBL – Does any of that footage include any letters like, “Four #1 albums with Van Halen?”
SH –
(laughing) I'm not going to brag, but we're going to put all the little pieces of video clips together. I don't know what it's all going to be, but we each have 10 minutes, and then we're going to hire a guy – a filmmaker – to put all that footage together into a 20 minute video that's going to be shown before the show starts. Anyone that misses that probably just shouldn't even come. It's going to set the whole thing up so well, and then boom! It's going to be an hour and a half each. We both get full production. It's not like the opening guy that night gets short changed. The opening guy that night gets the full stage. The other band's gear is completely off the stage. When I finish, they wipe the stage and put Dave's stuff up. We've spent a lot of money on technology, getting things that roll out. We built this whole high tech stage so that we can switch over in 20 minutes and people don't have to wait while we set up for the whole next production. It's all good. I've got my waitresses and my 50 people with me on stage from the Cabo Wabo, and I've got my bartenders and my 20 cases of Cabo Wabo Tequila. I'm just throwing the big Cabo Wabo tequila party every night. It's going to be a last.
MBL – So, the Cabo Wabo remains intact then.
SH –
Yeah. I had to redesign it, because it had to move quicker, but it's more high tech now. We've got bleachers that fold up, and they are all scrimmed and painted up really fancy. We get 25 people on each side around the screen, so 50 people. The bleachers are connected to the big screen. It's just a big party.
MBL – Is anyone going to document this for DVD purposes?
SH –
I hope so. We're having troubles with that. Dave has his rules. For some reason, Dave's a control freak.
MBL – Well, so would you be to a point, don't you think?
SH –
MBL – No?
SH –
I say, “Anything goes.” I'm saying, “Dave, you can control your set. When you are up there for an hour and a half, you're in control. I have no say so. I don't even want to know what you did. I could care less! You can bring 50 naked women up there and you can do anything you want. That's what you're here for – to entertain these people. They've got to walk away happy.” But when I'm on stage, you've got no say so. But he said, “I want to make sure that you don't do this and you don't do that.” And I'm like, “Dave, forget about it.” This is like a competition. This is like Ultimate Fighting Championship. You go in there and you can bite, scratch, pinch, pull hair, anything. Hit below the belt – legal.
MBL – Was there anything that went into Cleveland being the official launching pad for the tour, or is that just how it happened?
SH –
It had a lot to do with the logistics of starting in a place that had the individual places that were available. This tour came up kind of late, and a lot of the places where pretty stacked…a lot of the venues. So, it worked out that if it started in Cleveland, which we were all good for…you know, it's not like it's not the rock and roll capital of the world or anything. But it really worked out routing wise, because then we go to Detroit, and then to Indianapolis and then St. Louis. So, it really routed nicely starting the tour out there. If we started on one of the coasts, it wouldn't have worked out. Of course, I would rather it would have started in my hometown so I can stay in my house a week longer, but it didn't work out that way. It's just going to be a blast. I'm not doing all Van Halen. Everyone knows that. I'm going to do my handful of the Van Halen hits; the Van Hagar hits or whatever, and Dave's doing exclusive Van Halen. It's all good. You are going to get a big dose of Van Halen, and you are going to get a big dose of some fun rock and roll, you know, “55”, “One Way To Rock”, “Heavy Metal”, “Three Lock Box,” “Mas Tequila” – what am I going to do? I can't not do those songs for the RedHeads out there.
MBL – I think that whether you have 2 ½ hours or an hour like you did for us about a year ago at that nice little club show you did, you have the power to deliver.
SH – I
like to have fun, but I don't need to apologize for liking to have fun, do I? Matt, come on! I told Dave that it ain't about who can scream the loudest, jump the highest or play guitar the fastest. It's about who can throw the best party, and if you can out party me, pal, then God bless ya. I'll be in your dressing room the next night.
MBL – Initially we heard that there was going to be the sets by you guys, followed by an end of the night jam with all of you. Now as the tour comes to fruition, it seems that the jam has gone away. What happened?
SH –
I wanted it to be that way. I had seen Elton and Billy on tour, even though this is not much like Elton and Billy (laughing), although it might be more like a WWF version. I thought it was a great show the way they co-mingled and the way they started together acoustically singing each other's songs. The first thing I presented, I was like, “Dave, we can really do something great for the fans doing something like that,” and he said, “Absolutely not. I've never jammed with anybody. I've never sang anybody else's songs and I'm not going to start now.” And I was like, “Fine.” I've got no problem with any of it. Like I said, anything goes with me. I just felt that when I'm out on stage that I don't want to hear from anybody else about nothing until I'm done. When I'm done, then I'm done. Dave doesn't want to do it. At the press conference, he had a little bit of a change of heart, a little bit. He said, “well, once we get out there and get to know each other and see what each other's doing, you never know. Anything could happen.” So I'm saying, “OK.” I'm a jammer. Any town I'm in, if there's another musician on the side of the stage, I'm inviting him out. That's just the way I am. That's why I build the Cabo Wabo, to jam with my friends and stuff. I'm really open to that, and hopefully it turns into that, but I wouldn't guarantee that. Really, it's just two bands and two solo artists going out there and trying to make the other guy wish he wasn't there.
MBL – It sounds like it's a good anything goes thing going into this tour.
SH –
It's a good fan thing. If I was a fan sitting in the audience, I would be like, “all right. I get to see these guys go at it. It isn't about even trying to cheer for your favorite guy. This is about entertainment. It's about hearing all these great songs and jumping up and down and cracking up and having a hoot. It's going to be a good, good, good, good time rock and roll.
MBL – For me, I grew up with the Hagar era of Van Halen, and I never got a chance to see Roth live, so this is a chance for me to see that on a curiosity level. I guess you really do get to see the best of both worlds as a Van Halen fan.
SH –
Absolutely, and you nailed that right on the head. There was so many of the Van Hagar fans that thought it and a bunch of the Roth era that never came on board with the Van Hagar era and always said, “Roth was the best, and it ain't the same anymore,” and then the Van Hagar fans and the Sammy Hagar fans that joined the Van Halen crowd that said, “Oh, this is so much better than it ever was.” It is a chance, kind of, to maybe see kind of a touch on that. But it's not a pure Van Halen thing. This is just, in my opinion, two legendary rockers going out and doing their thing, and it's very interesting to see the seasoning on each of us that really brings together the two of us. Together I think you are going to get the best of both of us. For me, when I finish, I want this guy to go, “Oh my God. I don't ever want to follow that guy again,” and I know that he feels the same way. I'm going to give Dave all the credit in the world. If I have to be following that knucklehead, I'm going to be going, “I'm going to kill that guy.” It's good, man. It's good. I'm excited. I'm so up for it. My band, they are like mountain biking to rehearsal. They are coming in and they are pumping iron to get ready. We are up for this mother, man.
MBL – I've got to think that with one wrong look, Mona's gonna take Dave out!
SH –
Well, that's gonna happen. That could be the whole highlight of the tour, baby. Someone will go, “What was the highlight,” and I'll go, “Well, one day Dave was walking down the hall making some sly remarks, and Mona walked out and decked him (laughing). I'm telling you, she'll deck him. We talk about it all the time. Mona keeps saying, “Oh God, I hope I can keep from punching this guy in the face.” And I'm going, “Mona, just wait until the last show, OK? (laughing) I want this tour to happen.
MBL – To talk about something else, you have this really cool other project in the works called Planet Us. What is going on with that?
SH –
Well, Michael Anthony is at my house right now. He stayed last night and he's staying for the next three days. With my band, we are rehearsing during the day, and with Planet Us, we are trying to write some new songs at night and trying to get as many songs in the can as we can, so that when we start recording in the fall, we'll have a lot of material there. We really postponed the project until the fall because I'm on tour and Journey is also on tour this summer. Poor Mikey is sitting around scratching his head going, “Why aren't I out there playing?” We're writing, and it's really an exciting project. I don't want to hype it too much it's so brand new, but the energy between us is so unique. Everyone knows that Slash was originally asked to do it, and he was in, but as soon as we started rehearsing, he never made it. Finally, we recorded two songs without him, and it was so good that we were like, we don't really need anybody else because it was so good with Neil. Neil's a very busy guitar player, and Deen Castronovo is an unbelievably busy drummer and Mike is a very busy bass player, so it was kind of like really rockin'. It's like kind of early Zep meets Cream meets Van Halen maybe, and meets Tool maybe. It's a little more modern like Tool. It's very intense, and kind of Rush-y. It's not like any of that, really, but it's on that ilk of bands. It's very musical. I'm very excited about it. If it wasn't for the Sam and Dave Tour this summer, I was going to work exclusively with Planet Us, because it's that exciting. I'm not leaving my band. This is a project, and it's really, really good.
MBL – Going back to Michael Anthony, it was really obvious that you and him had the most camaraderie together. It was always Sammy and Michael during the Van Halen years. Then, after you left, there was no more Sammy and Michael hanging out at the Cabo Wabo.
SH –
I know, but that's all changed now. He's not only joining me for my birthday bash from October 1st to the 13th this year, but Planet Us is joining me to do,and we're going to do a Los Tres Gusanos reunion, which is myself, my drummer and Mikey. That was the original band down at Cabo, Los Tres Gusanos – Three Worms. Then Planet Us is going to play a night. My band is going to play a night, and then the guys from Metallica…I don't know if the whole band, but for sure Lars and Kirk are going to be there, and we'll put together a jam band. Some of the guys from Nickelback are going to come, because they had to reschedule from last year when the hurricane hit and we had to blow out the Mexican Meltdown. So, it's going to be the craziest week of rock and roll ever. And it's just…Mikey and I are back. We both said, “we don't care about 'the brothers'. They can't tell us who we can have as friends.” I don't care anyway, but I've always been protective of Mikey anyway because he's in the band, and I don't ever want to destroy that for him. If he ever got thrown out of that band, it would be terrible because I can't add him to my band unless Mona quits, and I can't fire her because she's the greatest. She's been loyal and all that stuff. I'm kind of in a predicament, but I'm definitely on his side. Right now I'm calling Mikey “Switzerland” – he's neutral. He can do anything he wants.
MBL – Well, I'm going to let you run, and let you go on to other things…
SH –
I've got to go to rehearsal. I've got to go to my favorite thing in the world, man. I've got to go play music.
MBL – We will see you here in Cleveland on the 29th, and I can't wait, man.
SH –
I want to thank everybody for waiting in line and camping out and stuff for those tickets. We're already at about 7,000 in Cleveland. Half of the place is sold. I just want to say that that is really fantastic for me. It makes me feel really good that the fans really care about me and this tour. We won't let you down, so come on. Buy the rest of those tickets.

Sammy Hagar's CABO WABO BIRTHDAY BASH CLUB TOUR DVD is available now on Image. Catch Sammy Hagar live at Blossom Music Center on Wednesday, May 29th. For more information on Sammy Hagar, check him out online at


30 Years Ago Newly Installed Van Halen Singer Delivers Solo # 1, SAMMY HAGAR Moonlights To Satisfy Record Label

Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Podcasts & Radio
Dallas, TX - JUNE 29, 2017.  North American syndicated Rock radio show IN THE STUDIO with Redbeard: The Stories Behind History’s Greatest Rock Bands salutes Sammy Hagar on the 35th anniversary of Three Lock Box and the 30th anniversary of his knockout solo album I Never Said Goodbye.
After years of struggle as the downcard rock palooka who could take a punch and never go down, Sammy Hagar answered the bell in the Eighties and came out swinging. In 1982 Hagar scored a technical knockout with his first mainstream hit “Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy” from his seventh solo album Three Lock Box. By 1987, coming off the hugely successful VOA album with the highway anthem “I Can’t Drive 55”, the newly installed Van Halen lead singer would score his highest charting solo album ever I Never Said Goodbye with the powerful # 1 rock ballad “Give to Live”.  Hagar shares with IN THE STUDIO producer and host Redbeard how he managed to satisfy his solo artist commitments while joining the biggest band in the land.
“Everybody remembers the I Never Said Goodbye album that I made with Eddie (Van Halen) playing bass, right after 5150. Royalties off Van Halen records went to Geffen. I sold 5 million records for the guy (David Geffen) on three records. He wasn’t about to let one of his biggest artists just go - not anyone wouldd do that.”  - Sammy Hagar
The SAMMY HAGAR I Never Said Goodbye @ 30/ IN THE STUDIO with Redbeard  interview program is available to STREAM at:  “

'Rock & Roll Road Trip with SAMMY HAGAR' Coming This January

The Red Rocker Takes Viewers On An Intimate and Unforgettable Journey Celebrating All Things Rock N’ Roll With Tommy LeeBob WeirMickey Hart,Alice CooperJerry Cantrell, Nancy Wilson, The Circle, and more! Tune in starting Sunday, January 24 at 9|8c only on AXS TVFind AXS TV Here: and stay up to date on Sammy at

SAMMY HAGAR & THE CIRCLE - At Your Service (Review)

information persons: 
Produced By: 
Sammy Hagar & Vic Johnson
Release Date: 
Musical Style: 
Melodic Hard Rock
Release Year: 
As soon as this was announced we all knew they’d be comparisons. The timing of this release alongside the David Lee Roth fronted Van Halen release was ideal for hungry keyboard warriors across the globe to reignite the Dave vs Sammy argument for the 433rd time. But it is what it is, and because I’ve just reviewed the live VH album (better than expected) it’s fresh on my mind as to what it was missing there.
Hagar fans are going to love this. Van Hagar fans are going to love this. Dave Lee Roth/classic VH fans won’t – because it’s better than the Van Halen Live In Japan record. Ok, ok, I know it’s all down to personal taste, but I say that mainly because Sammy Hagar has a far superior vocal range and quality compared to David (no disrespect there, it just is) and Hagar also has the ability to draw upon 40 years of music, whereas Van Halen are boxed in to tackle tunes from just 79-84 and a few new cuts from 2012.
The band is shit hot – Vic does a great Eddie (but no one is better than EVH) and also gets to groove on licks written by Ronnie Montrose (when Hagar digs back to his origins with Montrose’s Rock Candy) and Jimmy Page (thanks to the inclusion of the nuclear Jason Bonham on drums).
The Zeppelin covers are handled with respect and authenticity, much like the Van Hagar catalogue.
Then there’s Mr Nice Guy Michael Anthony and his essential backing vocals and bass thumping.
Of the two eras, Whole Lotta Love, When The Levee Breaks and the iconic Rock N Roll are the highlights from the Led Zeppelin catalogue; while from the Van Halen list, its Poundcake, Why Can’t This Be Love and Right Now that impress most.
Throw is some Hagar solo classics like One Way To Rock, Little White Lie, Heavy Metal and of course I Can’t Drive 55 and you get a fantastic collection of infamous rock n roll brilliance.
The recording quality is probably above that of the Van Halen, the power in the mix is deafening at high volume and Hagar just sounds amazing.
And the acoustic Dreams that closes the album is far superior to that of the recently released Hagar/Johnson acoustic album.
If only there could be some new, truly great Hagar/Eddie Van Halen music, you know, something to wash down the taste left from the unfortunate Best Of Both Worlds compilation.

SAMMY HAGAR & THE CIRCLE At Your Service May 19

Tuesday, May 19, 2015
News Feed
SAMMY HAGAR & THE CIRCLE (that is, Sammy with Michael Anthony, Jason Bonham and Vic Johnson will release a live album At Your Service on May 19.
Sammy's website has this update: "Hey Redheads, The Circle live has landed! I can't tell you how excited I am to share this live release from last year's tour with everyone. It's been my favorite setlist to play, covering Montrose, Solo Redrocker, Van Halen, Led Zepplin, & Chickenfoot AND it's live as mutha!!"
Official track listing:
01 There's Only One Way To Rock  5:45
02 Rock Candy  5:54
03 Good Times Bad Times  3:26
04 Poundcake  5:57
05 I Can't Drive 55  5:08
06 Mikey Bass Solo  3:31
07 When It's Love  5:39
08 Little White Lie  4:17
09 When The Levee Breaks  8:18
10 Jason Drum Solo / Moby Dick  6:31
11 Why Can't This Be Love  4:10
12 Finish What Ya Started  4:52
13 Heavy Metal  4:39
14 Vic Guitar Solo  1:24
15 Best of Both Worlds  7:03
16 Right Now  6:10
17 Rock and Roll  3:26
18 Dreams  5:08

SAMMY HAGAR - Lite Roast (Review)

information persons: 


Produced By: 
Sammy Hagar & Vic Johnson
Running Time: 
Release Date: 
Musical Style: 
Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Sammy Hagar remains one of my favourite songwriters and vocalists, but he is really beginning to test my patience with his solo releases.
The Jimmy Buffet of rock has followed up a dreadful duets album, which itself was preceded by an atrocious bits-and-pieces release Cosmic Universal Fashion, with a fully acoustic ‘best of’ featuring some solo tunes and some reworked Van Hagar cuts.
As was the case with the last two albums, I’m again not sure who this is aimed at. Die-hards only I would suggest, as the production and performance within seems pretty rushed.
Some of the tracks translate to acoustic very well and have a semblance of quality to them – such as Finish What Ya Started and Eagles Fly.
Other tracks just grate on my ears – Red Voodoo, One Sip; and Sailin’ and Halfway To Memphis are just too hokey in this setting and Van Halen’s Dreams just sounds horrible.
I have nothing but praise for Sammy in Van Halen, Chickenfoot and his earlier solo material. But post 2000 his efforts have been very hit and miss.

This is obviously a quickly assembled, quickly produced fill-in release, but it marks another miss for the Red (used to be a…) Rocker.

SAMMY HAGAR Immortalized As Part Of "The Simpsons"

Thursday, November 20, 2014
News Feed
Just added to Sammy Hagar's website comes the news of the Red Rocker joining The Simpsons this Sunday.
"Sammy Hagar is going to have an appearance on THE SIMPSONS on Fox, Sunday, November 23rd at 8/7 CT. He will guest star in the upcoming season 26 episode "Covercraft".
This is the first time that Sammy will be providing his voice to his character on The Simpsons, but not the first time his likeness as a character has been featured on the show. Back in 2000 (Simpsons Season 11) Sammy was seen in the crowd at a pseudo-VH1 award show next to Wille Nelson.
Back in August, Matt Selman reached out to Sammy on Twitter saying, "Dear @sammyhagar, if you are out there, thank you for your hard driving rock songs! Best, your pals at the Simpsons #EverySimpsonsEver". Sammy responded saying, "Ya man! I'm here, ROCK ON! @mattselman".
We are looking forward to seeing the episode as whole come to life and to watch Sammy rock out in cartoon form. Be sure to catch it on Fox at 8pm on November 23rd."

SAMMY HAGAR Talks To RollingStone About Van Halen, Chickenfoot & Circle

Friday, October 31, 2014
News Feed
SAMMY HAGAR has given an new interview to RollingStone, who posted the interview overnight.
The star vocalist touches on his new live band line-up, dubbed “Circle” as well as Chickenfoot and Van Halen.
Highlights include:
His new live lineup Circle: “As far as I'm concerned, that's my new house band. It's me, Jason Bonham, Michael Anthony and Vic Johnson. We call ourselves the Circle because this band has kinda taken me full circle in my career. I can play from every era, from Montrose to Van Halen to solo, Chickenfoot and some Led Zeppelin. In Chickenfoot, we didn't play songs by the Chili Peppers or Van Halen, but the Circle plays my whole world and everyone else's world that's in the band. It's been really special so far.”
New music with Chickenfoot: “Joe [Satriani] is my favorite writer to work with since Eddie [Van Halen.] I'd rather write a record with him than anyone else, but I don't see any reason to make a new record. Going through the whole experience with a record label, and then going out and doing 150 interviews, a big tour and waking up at 4:00 a.m. to go on Howard Stern all to sell 35,000 CDs…It starts to feel like, "Hmmmm. Is this pay for play?"
I mean, I love making music. But doing it on Chickenfoot's level means spending a half million on a record. We write and record for six months. It's a lot of work, and then to not sell many records. It's disappointing. I don't like being disappointed. I like winning.”
Van Halen: “I would play with anybody that loves me and that I love. That would include Van Halen, but the love's not there right now. I do love those guys. We really bumped heads on the last tour [in 2004.] Anyone that saw that last tour or read my book knows that I'm not gonna take any blame 'cause there's no blame to give me. I went out and did my job probably better than anyone else in that band. Anyone that saw the show, I think, would agree with me.
That tour was just a mess and I would never go into a mess like that again. I'm too happy as a human being to be that miserable ever again. I was miserable for the last 40 shows. The first 40 shows I was thinking, "Well, maybe Eddie will straighten out" or "Maybe this can come together." But that didn't happen, and by the last 40 I was miserable. I would, however, be in the original band that we started. That was a love fest full of creativity.”
The 2004 Van Halen Reunion: “I made it through a reunion tour that was just about the most dysfunctional thing I've ever done in my adult life, times 10. But I made it through. There's something funny about a concert. They can work for dysfunctional bands. You can get into a fistfight backstage. You can get into a fistfight the night before. You can be trashed, lying on the ground, feeling like you're dying. But when you drag your ass on the stage and 15,000 people are screaming with their hands in the air, you get revitalized. Then you look at the guy next to you, the guy whose neck you want to break, and you think, "This is good. I can tolerate this." When the show is over, you go back to fighting. And then there's the money. But, look, a lot of bands are in that situation.”
Subscribe to Sammy Hagar