Boys of Summer | Sammy and Dave On The Road
From Real Detroit Weekly
by Shannon McCarthy
With rock 'n' roll debauchery long ago swapped for a manufactured hierarchy
of wretched excess, Sammy Hagar just wants to rock. And, three decades into
his career, he remains one of the few artists who still knows how to do it.
After blasting onto the national radar as the voice of Montrose (led by
Edgar Winter guitarist Ronnie Montrose), the ex-boxer from Monterey, CA made
his solo debut and an indelible mark on the increasingly glossy face of
What everyone knows is that Hagar abandoned his solo career to replace David
Lee Roth as the frontman for Van Halen. What's occasionally forgotten is the
puissance of his previous work. From the triumphant chorus of "Heavy Metal"
to the now legendary semantics of "I Can't Drive 55," Hagar has tirelessly
promoted the party that is rock 'n' roll. Since his 1996 departure from Van
Halen, he (with current backing band, the Waboritas) has picked up where he
left off with remarkable success. 1999's Red Voodoo spawned the hit "Mas
Tequila" and consequently, the success of Hagar's own tequila, Cabo Wabo
(named for his Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico), and in 2000, he
came full-circle with Ten 13.
And now, in an apparently ironic twist, the Red Rocker sets off on a joint
tour with David Lee Roth. The catch, however, is that there's no irony
within the pure pursuit of fun. Just a little rock 'n' roll. REAL Detroit
caught up with Hagar just in time for the tour.
REAL Detroit: Why the tour with Dave?
Sammy Hagar: Well, I could give you some cockamamie answer like Dave
probably would, but I won't do that. It was simple; I think Dave got tired
of going back and forth with the Van Halen camp, trying to make that work
for the last three years. And [with] the third abortion of the reunion, he
said, "Hey, maybe Sammy and I can get together and play for the Van Halen
RD: What musical ground will you cover?
SH: Dave's doing pure Van Halen and in my hour and a half I'm doing a third
pre-Van Halen. Then I'm gonna do a nice chunk of the Van Hagar hits, and
then I'll do a few of my post things, some of my favorite songs that I've
written since I left Van Halen.
RD: Any problems with doing the Van Halen songs?
SH: Oh, no. While we were in Van Halen, Eddie and I wrote all the songs
together so there's never an issue about if you can play your own songs. I'm
sure the brothers are upset, but it's too bad because they have had every
opportunity to do the right thing and they haven't done it. The only thing
that they've done is that they tried to do it with another singer, we all
know about that. We did a great 10-year run, we had one horrible last year
together and I don't ever want to experience that kind of thing of
backstabbing and undermining.
RD: Are you bonding with Dave?
SH: I hope you don't take this as a sly remark, but no, I don't think I
could bond with Dave on any level. He's got his band and I've got my band,
that's the end of it. It's a little bit of a competition but it's a healthy
RD: How do you drink tequila without getting sick?
SH: Well, liquor's a funny thing. It's not made to be abused. If you want my
opinion on how to drink, what you do is you go do a shot, right, and then
you wait three or four minutes and do another shot of Cabo Wabo. Or good
tequila -- we'll just use the words "good tequila." I don't want to try to
push my brand on people. And then say, "I would like to have a Wabo-rita
now" -- or a margarita. You drink that, dance, go back, do one shot again an
hour later and then get another margarita to nurse. Most guys go, "Man I did
eight shots in a row." And then they're like, [puke sound]. And I say, "You
blew it pal. You didn't have any fun either, did you?"
RD: What's the biggest misconception about you?
SH: Probably that I'm partying and drunk all the time, 'cuz I'm not. When
the word party comes up, it doesn't mean that I'm smokin' dope and drinking
all day and all night. Party means that I have fun, and I live to have fun.
I have a family and fun to us is putting on backpacks and hiking up to the
top of the mountain where we live. When I see kids getting excited about
anything, like finding a caterpillar, and you see their little faces get so
excited, that just makes me happy, man.
RD: Going back, why did you leave Montrose?
SH: I would still be in Montrose if it would've been functional. Just the
night before last, Lars Ulrich and Kirk Hammett from Metallica, and Michael
Anthony -- the four of us got together. And we played "Bad Motor Scooter,"
"Space Station Number Five," "Rock Candy" -- it was phenomenal. But Ronnie
and I stopped getting along. He actually said to me in Belgium, "Don't come
on my side of the stage." And I'm the lead singer! And I said, "F**k you.
Don't ever tell me that I can't come on your side of the stage." And that
was the end of it. So that's why I left Montrose. | RDW