Sammy Hagar Biography

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Sammy Hagar-photo

[edit] Pre-Montrose years

After a brief career as a boxer in the footsteps of his father, Sammy became interested in the burgeoning Southern California music scene, fronting his first band, The Fabulous Catillas.

Reportedly, he was also in some other pre-Montrose bands including Skinny, Sammy Hagar Band, Justice Brothers, Dustcloud, Cotton, Jimmy, and Manhole.[citation needed]

Justice Brothers also featured drummer David Lauser.

[edit] Montrose years (1973 - 1975)

Hagar's first major success, however, came from his work with the group Montrose on their debut and second albums, including the Hagar-penned song "Bad Motor Scooter". After difficulties with the band's founder, Ronnie Montrose, during a European tour, Sammy departed from the group with bassist Bill Church in tow and drummer Denny Carmassi followed in 1977.

[edit] Solo (1976 - 1984)

Hagar commenced a solo recording and touring career to increasing success. After moderate success on Capitol Records, with such albums as Nine on a Ten Scale and hits such as Red, Hagar made some personnel changes, including enlisting long time friend and former Justice Brothers bandmate David Lauser as his drummer. With these changes, and a change to Geffen Records, Hagar enjoyed hits such as "Heavy Metal", "Three Lock Box", and perhaps his best-known song "I Can't Drive 55", a gripe against the federally-imposed speed limit of 55 miles per hour (88 km/h) on all U.S. highways. (The limit was increased on certain roads in 1987, and the law repealed in 1995; the song was updated for NASCAR broadcasts on NBC in 2001 to 65, and is used in NHL Rivals 2004.) During this time, his frequent appearance in his red attire in videos and in concert would lead up to his given trademark nickname of "The Red Rocker".

[edit] H.S.A.S. (1984)

In 1983-84 Sammy Hagar and Neal Schon formed the supergroup HSAS (Hagar Schon Aaronson Shrieve) along with former Foghat bassist Kenny Aaronson and former Santana drummer Michael Shrieve. HSAS did a small Christmas tour to benefit local charities and which released one album, Through The Fire. As intended from its start, HSAS was a short-lived project. One song in particular, a cover of "Whiter Shade of Pale" received some airplay peaking at #94 on the Billboard Singles chart.

[edit] Van Halen years (1985 - 1996)

After parting ways with popular vocalist David Lee Roth, the remaining members of the band Van Halen contacted many people in search of a vocalist. Thanks to Eddie's appreciation of Montrose and his car mechanic's suggestion, they auditioned and quickly hired Hagar to fill the opening. With Hagar at the front, Van Halen produced four multi-platinum, #1 Billboard charting albums: 5150, OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, and Balance, as well as many chart hits. Yet, trouble in paradise eventually ensued, culminating in 1996. Hagar disagreed with the decision to record two new tracks on the Twister soundtrack, after the band had agreed to take time off after their 1995 world tour, and he maintained his dislike of a greatest hits record at that point in the band's career. These two items were pushed by Van Halen's new manager Ray Daniels, Alex Van Halen's brother in law, brought in after the death of their longtime manager Ed Leffler. Hagar wanted to do a new studio album instead, but only after Eddie, Alex, and Hagar's pregnant wife all had their medical issues dealt with. Although there are several versions of how the split occurred, Hagar has stated that the final straw came when he was with his wife in Hawaii, where they had arranged for a natural delivery of the baby (meaning outside of a hospital), and Eddie wanted him back in the studio. Hagar claimed to have flown to LA with his wife only to discover that she couldn't fly back to Hawaii. In the ensuing argument, he claims that he was fired. Eddie, on the other hand, says that Hagar quit. The end came when Eddie started to work with former lead singer David Lee Roth instead of Hagar, and two new songs were made with Roth for Best of Volume I. When Van Halen again parted ways with Roth, instead of rehiring Hagar, the band hired a new singer, Gary Cherone.

[edit] Solo again (1996 - 2002)

Hagar went on to produce several new solo records after parting ways with Van Halen in 1996. In 1999, Hagar formed a long term solo band, called The Waboritas, consisting again of David Lauser on drums, as well as former keyboardist Jesse Harms, and new to the mix was former Busboys guitarist Vic Johnson, and former Tommy Tutone bassist Mona Gnader.

[edit] Planet Us (2002 - 2003)

In 2002, with Van Halen still unreformed at this point, Hagar joined again with guitarists Neal Schon of Journey and later Joe Satriani to form a new side project called Planet Us. Along with Van Halen member Michael Anthony on bass and Deen Castronovo (also of Journey) on drums. Despite big intentions, the band only recorded two songs and played live a few times before dissolving when Hagar and Anthony rejoined Van Halen.

[edit] Van Halen reforms (2003 - 2005)

After the successful "Heavyweights of Rock" tour (2002), where he co-headlined with David Lee Roth, (and jokingly suggested the name the "Sans Halen Tour") Hagar started thinking about his former Van Halen bandmates, calling Alex in late 2003 from a tip by a mutual friend. In early 2004, Van Halen with Sammy Hagar was announced to the general public, culminating with a highly anticipated summer tour and a 2-CD Best Of album, entitled Best of Both Worlds featuring three new Van Halen tracks fronted by Hagar.

The subsequent tour brought on more problems, however, most notably Eddie Van Halen's alleged relapse into alcoholism, which resulted in a somewhat infamous final show in Tucson, Arizona. As the show ended, Eddie smashed his guitar on stage sending shrapnel into the audience. This caused tensions to flare up backstage after the show and eventually sidelined possibilities for a future new album.

[edit] Sammy and The Waboritas (2006 - present)

In 2005, Hagar continued to play with The Waboritas as he toured the Atlantic coast and the Midwest and added ex-Van Halen bass player Michael Anthony, calling the band Los Tres Gusanos. In August of that year, Hagar went on another mini-tour starting at DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Michigan and then hitting the southwest before finishing at his own Tahoe Wabo Cantina. Hagar's 2006 tour with The Waboritas also included a segment with Michael Anthony playing as a band called The Other Half (a reference to Sammy and Michael being the 1/2 of Van Halen no longer playing with the band) for a set of songs in the middle of the show, including both Hagar- and Roth-era tunes. The band also invited Kid Rock on stage at DTE Energy Theatre for a couple of songs, including covers of Led Zeppelin's "Rock and Roll" and The Beastie Boys' "You Gotta Fight For Your Right (To Party)". Hagar also released an album called "Livin' It Up" with the Wabos on July 25, 2006.

At one point Sammy was developing a side project called "Chickenfoot" with Michael Anthony and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith but according to Hagar nothing will become of it.[1] A major tour, (again including Michael Anthony) and the Wabos has been announced for the fall of 2007 as well. Hagar also released a new single entitled "Open" via digital providers.

[edit] Politics
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The title track off the album VOA is a jingoistic tune,[citation needed] and he and his brother have suggested in interviews that Sammy supports the Republican Party. According to he is said to have contributed $2000 to the Bush-Cheney campaign. He has acknowledged that he is a close friend of Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, to whom he contributed $4500 over the course of almost 15 years. Hagar wore an "Hasta La Vista, Davis" t-shirt, apparently in support of then-candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger at some live shows during the 2003 California recall of then-Governor Gray Davis.

On May 23, 2006 San Bernardino County California supervisors declared the day to be "Sammy Hagar Day." Hagar showed up at the county chamber with his mother Gladys. Hagar gave a short speech, posed with commissioners for photos and then hugged his mom and left through a back door.[2]

[edit] Business Interests
Exterior view of Hagar's Cabo Wabo restaurant/nightclub in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
Exterior view of Hagar's Cabo Wabo restaurant/nightclub in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

* Hagar owns a nightclub and restaurant in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico called Cabo Wabo Cantina, where the video for the 1999 hit song "Mas Tequila" (from the Red Voodoo album) was filmed. Hagar plays at the club during his annual autumn "Birthday Bash". Hagar has also opened another nightclub in the franchise in Lake Tahoe, Nevada, and markets a highly successful line of premium tequilas by the same Cabo Wabo name. A future Cabo Wabo is planned to open in St. Louis, Missouri.
* It was announced on May 7, 2007 that Hagar was selling an 80% interest in his Cabo Wabo Tequila to Gruppo Campari, the world's seventh-largest spirits company, for $80 million. Skyy Spirits of San Francisco, a vodka producer and subsidiary of Milan's Gruppo Campari, will market Cabo Wabo globally, with continued participation by Hagar. Gerry Ruvo, president and chief executive of Skyy Spirits said "Sammy has done a fantastic job building the brand, so we are going to obviously spend time with him and work with him to continue our efforts to take the brand to an even larger level, both here in the U.S. and, more important, globally." Ruvo said Great Britain, Spain, Australia, Southeast Asia, Japan, Germany and Italy are considered key expansion markets for Tequila. Hagar created Cabo Wabo Tequila to serve patrons at his Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. He began to distribute it in 1999. Last year, his company sold 147,000 cases, making it the second-best-selling premium Tequila in the United States, he said in a telephone interview. [3] Cabo Wabo Enterprises, based in Novato, Calif., earned about $60 million in sales in 2007.[4]

[edit] Additional Biographical Notes

* The album I Never Said Goodbye was originally untitled, until MTV ran a contest to name the album. Future presses of the CD appeared with the new title.
* In 2002, Sammy Hagar was Commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel by Kentucky Governor Paul Patton.
* On March 12, 2007, Hagar was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Van Halen
* In 2007, Hagar starred in a number of National Automotive Parts Association or 'NAPA' commercials with Nextel Cup drivers Michael Waltrip and Dale Jarrett. The campaign centers around Hagar's song "I Can't Drive 55," changing the words to "I Can't Drive the 55," a reference to Waltrip's car number 55.
* Hagar wrote/co-wrote a few songs for Heart's "Brigade" Album.
* Hagar was present at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival and was in the VH1 documentary about Monterey stating that it changed his life.
* Hagar is an avid fan of the Ultimate Fighting Championship television show, and is rumored to be working out with a goal that of participating in the August, 2007 "All Around Smackdown"
* Hagar also holds the city record for selling more tickets in St. Louis than any other musical entertainer in St. Louis history

Thanks to Bill Maxwell for submitting the biography.

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-Lee County Fl-School Teacher-Morris/Roberts Group | Reviewer: Thomas Morris | 7/31/13

This review was very accurate and informative given the space given. I liked how it started out with how Sammy Hagar got started before his early success with Ronnie Montrose-more importance may have been given there on the strength of the late Ronnie Montrose*s 1ST album and that Sammy*s father died in the back of a police car at the age of 45-which told Sammy to avoid alcohol until age 37-and then develop his own success from his tequila brand. This series of articles is telling a real side of the *RED ROCKER* and displays his sense of balance of Music,Business,and working to make music a great career!

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