Hagar Happy Without Van Halen On Summer Tour
Sammy Hagar has titled his latest tour "The Tequila Made Me Do It." And his fans are hoping he keeps the bottle open.Sammy Hagar has titled his latest tour "The Tequila Made Me Do It." And his fans are hoping he keeps the bottle open.
Rather than a traditional concert, Hagar, who's done stints fronting the bands Montrose and Van Halen in addition to his solo work, has created what he calls a "lifestyle concept." It's basically a Sammypalooza, a harder-rocking version of what Jimmy Buffett does, with gates opening in the afternoon and a variety of activities -- including beach volleyball, a "Sammy-oke" karaoke stage and photo ops with donkeys wearing sombreros -- preceding the music.
"We have a direction and a lifestyle and a way we want to live," explains Hagar, 57, a Monterey, Calif., native. "It's beach by day and dancing all night, tank tops and flip flops. It's all about keeping my fans happy, giving them a little direction if I can find it for them and turning them on to anything I get turned onto, and that's it."
Hagar also hopes to turn them on to some new music of his own soon. He's five songs into his next album, which he says will be a "lifestyle concept record" that will include cover songs and possibly new recordings of his older material by Hagar and his band, the Waboritas.
A year ago, however, Hagar wasn't entirely sure he'd be back to his solo enterprise. In 2004 he was in the midst of a reunion by Van Halen, who recorded three new songs for a greatest hits album and were doing big business at the box office. All indications were that the band was a going concern again.
But, Hagar, whose first run with the group was from 1985-96, says things didn't work out as planned, and he places the blame almost solely with guitarist Edward Van Halen.
"The Van Halen thing wasn't a horrible experience, but it wasn't a great experience," he recalls. "I don't get along with Eddie anymore, and that's all there is to it. I think the whole world knows that he's changed. He used to be a great guy, a fun guy, but now he's miserable and he likes to make everyone around him miserable.
He continues: "And I'm the happiest guy on the planet, y'know? Anybody who makes me miserable, I don't want to be around. That's a simple way to put it; I don't like being around Eddie. He's not any fun."
Hagar says, hopefully, that "maybe he'll change back, and then we can do it again." But he adds that things definitely ended badly. "We almost got into it after the last show," he says. "They just pulled him one way and me the other. We didn't even say goodbye to each other. It was a horrible way to end the whole thing, so I just said 'Man, that's it for me. I'm not playing with people like this."
Hagar still plays with Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony in the covers band Los Tres Guzanos. And in addition to the Waboritas, he's re-formed Montrose to play some of The Tequila Made Me Do It shows -- a model for more "special events" he'd like to be part of his future festivals.
"I like to do 'An Evening With;' I'm not interested in bringing Joe Blow & the Goofballs out to open for me," Hagar explains. "My dream come true would be to have a guy like Eddie [Van Halen] be buddies with me and go out with the Wabos and have Montrose and ... everybody, man. That's my dream situation, and I think the fans would be real happy with that."