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Interview:
Sammy Hagar at DTE, 5 Things To Know
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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Sammy Hagar is just a couple of weeks away from his 70th birthday, but you’d hardly know it.

The man known at the Red Rocker continues to work at a pace near what he did when he emerged as the frontman of Montrose in 1973. Since then he’s led other bands (Van Halen and Chickenfoot), maintained an active solo career and triumphed as a businessman with his Cabo Wabo Cantinas and tequila and rum lines -- and, most recently, Santo Mezquila in partnership with Maroon5/”The Voice” star Adam Levine. Hagar’s also written a book and hosts “Rock & Roll Road Trip with Sammy Hagar” show for AXS TV.

These days when he gets on stage it’s with The Circle, an all-star outfit featuring former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, Led Zeppelin drumming progeny Jason Bonham and guitarist Vic Johnson from Hagar’s previous group, the Waboritas. And rest assured that 70 will mean celebrate more than slow down for the still hard rockin’ Hagar...

• Hagar put The Circle together during 2014, with a repertoire that includes not only material from his entire career but also covers from some of his favorite band. “The Circle is my touring band when I play shows,” Hagar explains by phone from his home in northern California. “I just go out and play weekends, maybe one weekend a month to keep my band alive ‘cause I love it. The set list is so good. It’s just fun. It’s exactly what I do in Cabo when people come out and jam with me; We go out and play some Led Zeppelin, some Van Halen, some Sammy Hagar, some Montrose, and Chickenfoot. You can’t beat that set list, so that’s my favorite kind of go-play band.”

• Hagar’s latest release is the compilation “This Is Sammy Hagar Vol. 1 -- When The Party Started,” and while that features some new songs he says that it’s becoming more challenging to create fresh material anymore.

his lifestyle as a beach-loving rocker and spirits manufacturer: [23.43] “I...called it ‘This is Sammy Hagar’ ‘cause that’s the story of every time I played it for the record company they’d say, ‘We want a Sammy Hagar record,’” he says. “I said, ‘No, you don’t understand, this is Sammy Hagar TODAY. This is who I am. I’m not gonna make Sammy Hagar from ‘79. That guy is gone. I don’t know where he went. He’s on the beach in Cabo...It just makes me happy. I just love this record. If you want to know who I am right now, put it on and at the end you’ll go, yeah, ‘That’s the guy I just talked to.’”

• Despite a pair of acrimonious departures from Van Halen, Hagar is open to doing something with the band again; His latest gambit is the idea of him touring with the original lineup -- with bassist Anthony back in the band, too -- and sharing frontman time with David Lee Roth. “That’s really the only way I would be interested in a Van Halen reunion,” Hagar says. “Fans are always saying to me, ‘Why don’t you go back in Van Halen and...go out with both you guys. It’d be a dream come true.’ It would be a welcome competition. Everybody would have to try real hard. You couldn’t slack. You have to bring it. I think THAT would be worth doing ‘cause it would show some real love to the fan if we could do that for them, suck it up and elevate our consciousness to where you put it all behind you and do the right thing. Everybody’s saying, ‘Well, what would it take? For me, no money, man. I don’t need money. I would do that for the fans and have a lot ticket price, give the money to food banks or something. I’m not sure anybody else would agree with me, but that would interest me enough to sit down across the table from everybody and work that one out.”

• Chickenfoot -- which also features Anthony as well as guitarist Joe Satriani and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith -- released a new song, “Divine Termination,” this year as part of a compilation. But Hagar says more from the band is unlikely any time soon. “I love the band. I love those guys,” he says. “But the commitment it takes to go in and make a great record is six months, and the workload is 12 hours a day, and then you tour. For me to shut my world down for that is hard, as much as I love it. And Chad is out with the Peppers and the other guys have their stuff. I just loved making that one song; I would do more of that, but even then it’s hard to get everything lined up and go back on the road.”

• The Santo Mezquila, the first-ever blend of mescal and tequila, came about when Hagar struck up a friendship with Adam Levine down in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. “The guy comes up to me and says, ‘Dude, I grew up with you in Van Halen. I wanna be just like you when I grow up,” Hagar recalls. “When a guy comes up and tells you that, you go, ‘Lemme buy you a drink.’ Let’s talk about this.’ He said, ‘I drink tequila, man,’ so I said, ‘OK, gimme some money and you’re gonna be a partner. “told him, ‘Look, we’re not gonna endorse it. You’re gonna get skin in the game like I do, and we’re gonna do it,’ and he jumped in.”



If You Go:

• Sammy Hagar & the Circle, Collective Soul and Andrew Hagar

• 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28.

• DTE Energy Music Theatre, Sashabaw Road east of I-75, Independence Township.

• Tickets are $29.50-$85 pavilion, $29.50 lawn.

• Call 248-377-0100 or visit palacenet.com.

Web Site: www.palacenet.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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