Sammy Hagar interview in Fireworks magazine

sammyhagarFrom issue #40 of Fireworks magazine:

“I’m gonna make a statement, and you’ll probably think I’m crazy…”

Sammy Hagar discusses Chickenfoot live, their “averagely brilliant” new DVD, Michael Anthony and Van Halen, Chad Smith being crazy, Joe Satriani being from another dimension, and why Sammy in a Smart Car is just a joke.


By James Gaden

Fireworks Magazine Online - Issue 40Last year a brand new band exploded onto the scene known as Chickenfoot, sparking a lot of hype due to each individual member of the band being a star in their own right – ex-Van Halen bass player Michael Anthony, ex-Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar, guitar hero Joe Satriani and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. Back in issue 36, James Gaden went to London to interview Joe Satriani in support of the album. Shortly after that, he attended the sole UK show at Shepherds Bush which was excellent. Chickenfoot’s live reputation impressed virtually all who had seen it, so a decision was taken to capture the band on tour for a live DVD and Blu-ray. ‘Get Your Buzz On’ is the result, a full live Chickenfoot show, backed with an hour long documentary of the band on the road. When offered the chance to talk to the legendary Sammy Hagar about it, James Gaden jumped at the opportunity to phone the enthusiatic Red Rocker to hear his thoughts on the latest product…

Hi Sammy, it’s James from Fireworks Magazine in the UK.

How are you doing Jim? Wow, we’ve got a great connection here, I thought with all the volcano in Iceland going off and stuff, I was expecting a little fuzz!

I know, I’m just delighted everything has gone through and I’ve got the chance to talk to you. I’m a huge fan, this is a thrill for me.

Well great, what can I tell you man?

I want to talk about the new DVD ‘Get Your Buzz On’ first. I got the promo and I was blown away, I really enjoyed it.

Did you see the whole show, or is the promo just part of it?

No, it’s the whole show and it has the documentary on it as well.

Oh yeah? (laughs) That to me is the real Chickenfoot. The concert – that’s a show. (laughs) The documentary is so natural, the four of us when we get together, we have so much fun, and there’s such natural chemistry, unpretentious, funny without trying to be funny, it has it’s own quirky personality about it. I just love it. I think they should show that in theatres. The concert should be the bonus! (laughs)

I really enjoyed it – I thought Chad wandering the streets asking people if they had heard of the band was very funny! One of the things that made me laugh the most though, because it was so unexpected, was seeing you driving around in a Smart Car!

Well, two years ago my wife, who is much greener than me, wanted an electric car. I said that there was no way I was getting an electric car, I can’t do it. I can’t ride around in one of them! (laughs) So for Christmas, I didn’t know what else to get her, so at the last minute I ran down to the Smart Car dealership close to where I live and bought her a Smart Car for Christmas, all wrapped in a bow. I drove it down the driveway on Christmas morning. She loved it, but I only drive it as a joke! We use it in our videos and stuff because to me, it’s like a Pink Panther kind of a thing! (laughs)

Exactly! The last DVD I saw you on was the ‘Long Road To Cabo’ documentary and you showed the viewers your garage and you had all these souped up sports cars, and I thought “the Red Rocker, the man who can’t drive 55, in a Smart Car?” (laughs)

That’s because you can’t do 55 in a Smart Car! (laughs) One more time, I do not drive that car except for a joke, or a funny situation like you saw, like going to Bob Weir’s house! He lives close to me, but to get there you have to go down these really narrow windy roads and his driveway is horrible, it’s the worst driveway in the world. I would never take one of my Ferraris down his driveway, you couldn’t do it. It’s too steep, it would bottom out and rip my front spoiler off. So, bring out the Smart Car!

Like you say, it made for a very amusing image!

It adds to the humour pal, no question about that! (Laughs)

I thought the whole package was great and very entertaining. When Chickenfoot first started, I interviewed Joe Satriani, and he was as genuinely enthusiastic about the project as you all appeared to be on the documentary. None of it seemed forced, it was like you were almost starting from scratch as you had all been there and done that in terms of success in your own right, and it seemed like you all approached this as a chance to start again.

It’s true. The great thing about Chickenfoot is everybody has been there and done that. Nobody is trying to struggle for fame and fortune here. It made it so much more honest than anything I’ve ever done. When I joined Van Halen way back, that was almost a supergroup in it’s own way when I joined, because I had a back catalogue so my coming in made it like a mini supergroup, if you know what I mean? We were so determined for me to replace the old singer and for it to be more successful than it was, we were really striving and trying and pushing. Van Halen was a natural band when I joined but Chickenfoot is one step beyond that, if you believe that’s possible.

I don’t think there’s anything else I could do that will cap off my career better than Chickenfoot. I feel so happy about it, and the fact that is has been successful in this market today, in this day and age… people don’t look at us like some hot new young thing, that’s for sure, but we competed with those bands and held our own. I’m just really proud of it and it couldn’t ever have been… if we had gotten together ten years ago, it wouldn’t have been this. If we’d done it twenty years ago, it would’ve been great, but it wouldn’t have been this. We spent every penny on this project. We didn’t care about how much we were making, we didn’t care about a budget. We decided to make the best record we could make, with the best people in the best studio, and do everything the best. Even down to the production of the DVD, the lights for the shows – we were playing in theatres, sort of two to five thousand seat venues. For a band of our nature, we were flying privately in my plane and all that stuff, it’s expensive, but we didn’t consider that, we didn’t consider making money from this. We had the biggest production we could fit into the damn buildings, we had the best people running the shows… at the end of the tour, we got our cheques and we all went “Oh…” (laughs). I called Joe and asked him if he got what I got, he asked what I got, I told him and he said “I’m afraid so!” (Laughs). It was so funny –  as a solo artist, I could make in a week what I made in the whole year with Chickenfoot! (laughs).

We just spent it all – not foolishly, we spent it back on the project. It shows that we did it for love, and when we do it again, we’ll do the same thing.

Quite right, I think that’s why it was received the way it was. You played one show in the UK, in Shepherds Bush, and I was lucky enough to be there. It’s the first chance I’ve had to see you live because when you were with Van Halen you didn’t do much in terms of coming to the UK. I enjoyed the gig and it was so full of energy. When I watched the DVD, the thing that struck me was, apart from how well shot it was, it came across as a bunch of cameras pointed at you and that’s it. It didn’t seem slick, polished, touched up, it seemed simply like a great live band captured.

Well that’s what we tried to do. We spent a lot of time and effort and money on it. We actually shot two shows, and one of them we threw out, because it didn’t look that way. It looked too hi-def, the camera operators and the guys working on it tried to make it look too modern. It had this black background and everything looked stark. We thought “man, this is not what our show looks like”. That wasn’t what people were seeing from the audience. So we tried to make the DVD represent what the audience sees, plus a bit more – like here’s a great close up of Joe’s hand! (laughs) So we spent a lot of time and energy getting it right.

I think it shows, it doesn’t need to look modern, I think it captures the experience I had in Shepherds Bush very well.

I just gotta say on Shepherds Bush, I thought that was a fantastic show, but I was ill that whole time in Europe. I couldn’t sing very well, and I’m not making excuses here. If I’ve got no voice, I’ll stand up there with confidence and scream my guts out, trying to hit the notes. At that show, I had a bad chest infection and I didn’t know it. I got sick and just got sicker and sicker and by the time I made it to Switzerland for Montreux, I had a fever of 105, horrible sweats and the doctor takes a look and says I basically had walking pneumonia, and if I’d spent another week doing it, I’d have been in hospital. He hit me with all these antibiotics and stuff, and I ended up singing absolutely perfect… on the last two shows! I was so pissed! (laughs) Because I didn’t feel at my best in Europe, and a lot of people like you, they haven’t had chance to see me.
In Van Halen, we wouldn’t go to Europe, we had this fame and fortune thing of “Oh, we can’t sell out that arena, or do this, or do that, and we’re only going to get this much money?” So between that attitude and our management, we just didn’t do it, because it wasn’t profitable enough. It wasn’t prestigious – how stupid was that? We thought we were hot shit!

I enjoyed the Shepherds Bush show immensely, and if you hadn’t mentioned anything, I’d never have known you weren’t well.

I was cheating – the band was that good, I knew nobody would notice what notes I was or wasn’t hitting because we were so fucking good that night! (laughs) Nobody was listening to what I was hitting, people were just wrapped up in the show, watching the other guys thinking they were amazing. Chad… Chad Smith is the craziest, wildest frigging drummer on the planet. I mean, I think he’s the closest thing to Keith Moon ever. When he destroys his drums at the end of the show, he’s not copying Keith Moon. He’s just fucking crazy!

I remember at the Shepherd Bush gig, he leapt onto his drumstool, lost his footing, fell down behind his kit cutting his elbow, and then popped back up laughing like a deranged jack in a box, and you just said ‘He’s a crazy motherfucker’. (laughs)

He’s always doing stuff that crazy. He’ll fall off the drum kit, something always happens. It’s exciting though, it adds an edge to it. The guy, his body is all scarred up, it’s like he’s been in a frigging motorcycle accident! And he doesn’t do that in the Chili Peppers. That’s what I love, we brought out his crazy wild rock side. The Peppers are crazy and quirky and I love that band, but he’s much more subdued there. It was Chad unleashed on tour!

I wanted to call the band the Chad Smith Project originally, that was one of the first names I threw out. He wouldn’t go for it, he was too bashful. He thought it would make him sound pretentious, but I thought it was funny. I thought it showed no ego, if we called the band after just one of us. We haven’t found our egos yet amongst each other. I’m waiting for it to happen, because it’s got to. Everyone has an ego, and especially those at this level of musicianship. But so far, we haven’t had any of that, it’s so weird. Everyone can just do whatever they want in this band and nobody is saying “Hey, you can’t do that!”. The others would just laugh at them if they did! (laughs)

When I interviewed Joe, I only had the album as an online stream at the time, so I didn’t know who had done what on it. I’d asked him if you’d played much guitar on the record, and he said that he was constantly asking you to and you were shying away from it, which shows no ego from either of you. I could understand you saying “hey, we’ve got Joe Satriani, what do I need to play for?” but on the flip side you had Joe doing the exact opposite of most guitar heroes, and that’s encouraging you to play alongside him.

I didn’t play guitar because I had my hands full! Y’know, trying to sing properly in this band, it was a lot like Van Halen in the sense the music was too complicated for me to play properly and sing properly. I felt my job was to provide the best melody, set out the best lyrics with the most rhythmical power that I could… it’s very difficult with a band at this level of musicianship. With all the jamming we did, to find words that actually say something but also have rhythmical power, that kicks the song in the ass and makes the groove strong, and add melody on top of that, hell – I didn’t have no time or no ability to be playing guitar as well! I was happy that, live, we pulled off a couple at the end like ‘Bad Motor Scooter’ where I picked up my guitar. It made me look like a hero. (laughs) We waited so long, when I did finally strap my guitar on, I’d get a big roar from the crowd, and I’m looking at Joe every night, smiling at him like “Look who is getting all the guitar love over here!” (laughs) We had a good laugh about it. Joe is just the most amazing guitar player. He can speak any language on guitar.

With the band being so vibrant and impressive live, did you decide to do a DVD early on in the tour, or was it a case of once you were out there and saw how well the band were playing, you thought “Whoa, we need to capture this?”

That’s exactly it. We didn’t have any intention when we went out. We had no goal except to make a great record. We did that, and then we said, and Chad Smith’s first quote about us was “We’re not a band until we’ve done some shows”. We all jumped on it, we said we wanted to be a band, not a supergroup. We just wanna be a great, traditional rock band. So Chad said “We ain’t a band until we’ve done some shows”, I said absolutely, so we booked what we called the Road Test Tour. We played nine cities, doing small clubs that had maybe eight, nine hundred seats. We really lost money on that! (laughs) We’re flying in on a private jet and picking up $5000 at the end of it! It was so funny, we were the only club band in the world that flies privately and stays in the Four Seasons hotel! (laughs) We had a good hoot at that, but the shows, everyone who saw them, management, everyone, they just said wow! They wanted to start filming immediately. Every night we got better.

We started with a set that was fifty five minutes long. We added ‘Bad Motor Scooter’ to try and get an hour. We went to the clubs saying “this is just going to be like a test”. We just wanted to play in front of some people, so it was a cheap ticket price, or some were given away to competition winners from radio stations, y’know? So we aimed to play an hour, and the first night we played about an hour and five minutes. The second night it was an hour fifteen. The next night was an hour thirty, the next and hour forty, and by the time the nine shows were done, our set, of just playing the album, ‘Bad Motor Scooter’ and Deep Purple’s ‘Highway Star’ as the encores, we got to two hours. We played a two hour show with a fifty minutes of music. Everybody saw that, and management, agents and so forth decided they needed to start filming because every night we were different. We agreed, we weren’t going to play the same show… it would be the same songs, but every night was going to be an event. Every night was different.

This DVD, as great as it is… I’m gonna make a statement and you’ll probably think I’m crazy! That was a mediocre night. The first time we filmed, it was less than mediocre. It was still great, but we didn’t like how it looked and the pressure of having all those cameras around fucked us up. We decided to try it again, so the next time we did it we had thirty five cameras again and we’re sitting there – when the camera is there, you’ll feel different, you can’t help it. That was a good show, I don’t think we were ever bad, but I thought it was… a mediocre greatness show! (laughs) Mediocre… mediocrely great? What could I say there? You British are good at this, can you come up with some fucking phrase that says it?

It was averagely brilliant? (laughs)

(Laughs) Yeah, mediocrely great, the greatest form of mediocrity? Whatever, you understand what I mean! I watch it and I’m happy with the show and I think wow, that’s a great band, but I can’t help but think “Jeez, I wish we’d filmed Dallas, or Chicago”. But y’know, I think I’d always think that. Often the greatest shows never get filmed. We got some B-roll from a lot of the other shows, a lot of the backstage antics were filmed at different shows from the one we play on the DVD.

Like you say, it’s a great band and I think each one of you has raised their game within it. You said you were concentrating on being the best possible lyricist and vocalist for the band, and Chad is showing off his rock chops that most people didn’t know he had, Joe plays like a band member rather than a self indulgent lead guitarist that happens in bands sometimes, but Michael Anthony – I think after the way he was treated by Van Halen he’s really come into his own, he’s just perfect for this band.

You’re so right. There wasn’t even a question who the bass player was going to be in this band. When Joe and I first talked about doing this, Chad, Mikey and I had been playing for five years together at my Cabo Wabo, as the early incarnation of Chickenfoot. The three of us just jammed, we didn’t really have any songs. We didn’t do my songs, we did a little Led Zeppelin, we did anything, jammed blues, rock, riffs, whatever. I asked Joe to be in the band, and we started talking. Joe had never met Mike and had never met Chad, so I told him Chad is the greatest rock drummer that he’ll ever play with and Joe was like “The Peppers aren’t really that hard rock…” and I just said wait until you hear Chad! (laughs)

And Mike, when Joe heard Mike play, he couldn’t believe it. In Van Halen, Mike was always restricted to just playing “boom boom boom boom boom” – y’know? C’mon, Mike’s so much better than that. Eddie wanted his guitar melodies, and he was so busy with the guitar, Mike had to really hold it down to just playing the root, because Eddie had a lot of notes going on in there. Eddie is a noodler, that’s the word I like to use, he noodles on the guitar. He never just plays a simple “Ba-baaaah!”, right? When the others heard Mike in this band… I knew what he was capable of, but Joe was the most impressed. He was like “I had no idea he had this many chops!” This sucker can play anything Joe can play. Mike and Joe worked out all these bass lines… Mike is the fastest learner as a musician that I’ve ever met. If anyone, be it Eddie, or Joe, they could play the most complex riff, going ‘do do do da da do da do do da do da daaa’, Mikey will go once, the the second time he’s got it. And he’ll never make a mistake on it. Unless he’s fucking trashed, which is possible, that has happened! (laughs) But he’s such a good learner, he’s very capable, he’s a good singer… for him to be thrown out of Van Halen is the biggest joke ever. To me, I can’t even respect that band anymore. Come on. Throw me out, yeah, sure, I’m unreasonable sometimes, but Mikey? He never even argues with you! Mike’s the first guy there, he knows his parts, and he’s the last guy to leave. He’s the most dedicated band member I’ve ever worked with in my life, and the most consistent.

Like I said, first guy there, has his shit together, never, ever says “I forgot my part”… he’s like a machine, and he’s fun and he’s soulful. Why you wouldn’t want him in a band, man, I don’t know.

Van Halen’s loss is Chickenfoot’s gain I’d say.

(Laughs) Oh yeah – I said that Chickenfoot didn’t want to be an opening act for another band, unless it was on a festival, but if we got the opportunity, I’d open for Van Halen! (laughs) Any day… I’d do it for free, I’d pay the whole tour out of my own pocket!

Have you started work on the second album yet?

Yeah, we actually have. We went in the studio for a week, around the end of March to Easter, and we wrote four fantastic songs. We demoed them – I can’t say that they’re the takes… the drum tracks could be, but the problem is the Chili Peppers are in the studio now and Chad is taken. The Peppers took a week off, and he flew up here so we took the week on! We’re looking to finish in September and hopefully it’ll be out next year.

Chickenfoot II – I’ll tell ya, it’s already advanced, with the four songs we’ve done, it’s advanced tremendously. I’m blown away. Joe is one of the greatest musicians you’ll ever work with in your life. All I have to say to Joe, is I give him one seed of inspiration or direction. If I say “Hey, let’s do something like Cream’s ‘Sunshine Of Your Love’ or ‘I Feel Free’ today” and you give him that, he’ll come back with an idea that’s so original, you’ll go “Wow! That’s not like what I was thinking, but that’s fantastic!” He’s quirky, he hears things from another dimension. He thinks something is similar when to me, it’s nothing like. You could put on a song and say to Joe “Let’s rip this off and do it exactly like that!” and by the time Joe finishes, you’ve got this amazing tune that’s nothing like what you suggested! I can’t explain it very well, he’s so original with his playing, I love writing with him. Like I said, you give him a seed, he comes back with a fucking forest. He inspires me.

Are you approaching things any differently for the second album, or are you that pleased with the way the first one went, you’ll do it the same way?

I think we’ll do it the same way, pretty much because of the way things are. We got together and wrote two songs of the four with all of us together in a room. The other two… I had this great lyric called ‘Come Closer’ and I gave it to Joe with a view to trying an Elton John-Bernie Taupin style, where he would write music to my lyric. He wrote this unbelievable frigging music to this song, and we worked that up and it’s a goosebump song. There was another song I had which was a straight ahead rocker. That was a seed, I had a breakdown verse and chorus. Joe took it, added a bridge, intro and a solo to it and shit, we knocked that out. They’re four great songs, they’re amazing. We’re shocked that we wrote four songs like that in five days. They are written, they are ready to go. Very inspirational – so I think with Chad away, Joe and I will get together and maybe put down another ten songs. Then when we’re all together in September, we’ll blow through them and see which ones work as a band.

The idea was to try and get together more as a band this time is what we wanted to do. On the first one, ‘Future In The Past’ and ‘Down The Drain’, especially ‘Down The Drain’, were just spontaneous jams. That one was just serendipity, we just jammed and made a song out of it. I had to write lyrics to what I was singing and jamming and it was amazing, so fresh. We wanted to do a lot more of that, I’m not sure if we’ll get there because of the schedules, but we’ll see. We wanna try, and we’ve done it with two songs for the new one in the five days we were together, but I think a lot will be Joe and I writing together.

I wanted to ask you, with your last solo album ‘Cosmic Universal Fashion’, when that came out, I remember you being very happy with it and pleased at how eclectic it was. But quite soon after that the first Chickenfoot album came out and I thought it swung the spotlight away from ‘Cosmic Universal Fashion’. You were so enthusiastic about Chickenfoot, I wondered do you see yourself as a solo artist who fronts Chickenfoot on the side, or the other way around?

Well, I’d rather be in a band any day than a solo artist. I only become a solo artist and go back to that if a band burns out. Like what happened in Van Halen – we got sick of each other, didn’t want to be around each other. That’s no fun, I can’t live like that. I can’t do something just for business reasons… I couldn’t stay just because we were making a certain amount of money. I’m not one of those guys who could stick it out. That’s why I say it was okay for Van Halen to throw me out, because I didn’t wanna be around those guys, y’know? (laughs) We weren’t getting along and the creativity just dried up. Look at Van Halen, they haven’t done a record since… fuck, when? Come on, it’s dried up. So I had to go back to being a solo artist, it wasn’t that I really wanted to, I had to.
So I was a solo artist again for what, ten, twelve years, and then I started feeling dried up as a solo artist. I didn’t have inspiration or drive to do anything. I felt I wasn’t growing. That’s why ‘Cosmic Universal Fashion’ was a big step. When I had that track, the title track that the guy sent me the music for from Iraq, it inspired me because it was fresh and cool. I hadn’t felt that motivated for quite some time. So I did that, but then Chickenfoot came out and it did step all over ‘Cosmic Universal Fashion’. The reason was Chad had a bunch of Peppers stuff in front of him and we had a window to make a record and do as many shows as we could, we wanted to tour the world, so we rushed it out so we could go and play with Chad in the band. It killed ‘Cosmic Universal Fashion’, no question about it. I thought ‘Cosmic…’ was an interesting, eclectic record and the title track and ‘Switch On The Light’ were cool and I never got to tour that record. The record company sued me because my contract said I’d support the record for a year and not put anything else out, and Chickenfoot came out and they sued me. It was horrible, but it did kill the record… which is a shame because to me, it’s one of the most adventurous things I’ve ever done. Very eclectic, it pretty much showed every side of me.

That’s what I was wondering, that’s why I asked if you were looking at having parallel careers as a solo artist and as the singer in Chickenfoot, because not only was ‘Cosmic Universal Fashion’ eclectic, but your previous solo record ‘Living It Up’ was more adventurous too, with more country and pop influences, so I wondered if your solo career was an avenue for that and Chickenfoot was somewhere to rock out.

As a solo artist, I don’t wanna say I was tired of being a straight ahead rocker, because I love that more than anything and that’s what I went back to with Chickenfoot, that’s where my strength is. But you can get a little tired of it. I mean I can’t sit there and think “Gee, shall I write another ‘One Way To Rock’ or ‘I Can’t Drive 55’ or ‘Heavy Metal’…” So I wanted to explore some lifestyle songs. I live different now. When I wrote those songs – I’m not like a wannabe rock star, a wannabe famous face like I was when I wrote those old songs, because I’ve done that now. That’s not my goal anymore, I’m there, and I love where I’m at now. So I wanted to explore singing and playing music relative to my real lifestyle now, sort of a grown up rocker. With ‘Living It Up’, that was the epitome of it. I had just moved to Mexico for a year, took my family down there, and I wrote songs on the beach, sat at the cantina drinking tequila, and just living it up!

I wrote music about it and that album is the manual for the way Sammy Hagar lives! (laughs) My lifestyle is laid out for you there, just follow A, B, C, D, E and it’ll take you right down that road! With ‘Cosmic Universal Fashion’, I wanted to get a bit wacky with my music. I had a new studio, and I went in with the Wabos and experimented with every kind of song I could think of.

It’s good to hear artists trying new stuff and I liked the title track of ‘Cosmic…’, I thought it was a good song, it was different and it was a new way for you to work, collaborating with another musician using files sent via the net.

The guy had four or five other songs that I would’ve liked to explore, but when I worked on them a bit I thought they were a bit too Middle Eastern, it didn’t quite fit, whereas ‘Cosmic…’ it worked with that nice twist. But that’s the only thing I’m interested in musically – if I’m a solo artist I want to explore, and if I’m gonna be in a band, I want a band like Chickenfoot where everyone can play so damn good you just end up so inspired. When Chad kicks off a beat I’m like “Yeah!” Mike comes in on the bass and I’m going “Double yeah!” Here comes Joe on guitar, and I’m going “Shit!” It just makes me wanna sing straight from my heart and soul, nothing else is worthy, if you can’t give everything you’ve got and feel it with goosebumps… that’s what Chickenfoot does to me. That’s awesome, I live for that. Inspiration is all we want. Any artist on the planet, it’s all you need. Otherwise, you’re just doing exercises. You can play scales all day long… “do ra me fa so la te do”. Right? Or you can go “da da da daaa da da daaa!” Y’know, that’s inspiration, and every artist needs that. And Chickenfoot gives it to me.

You can tell. The four of you together is fantastic, I’m so impressed with what you’ve done so far. I’m all out of questions now Sammy, so I’d just like to say thank you very much, I really enjoyed that!

It was a very soulful interview, it was more like a conversation, and I like those.

Thank you! I try to do all my interviews that way, keep it flowing and good humoured and more conversational.

You are gonna get so much more information from an artist by having a conversation with them than by just asking them a bunch of stupid questions. So… congratulations! (laughs)

FIREWORKS magazine  issue #40 out now:

96 page full colour issue containing interviews with:  Sammy Hagar, Y&T, FM, Francis Rossi, Masterplan, Asia, Nazareth, RATT, Michael Monroe, Fozzy, Coheed & Cambria, Reckless Love, Crash Diet, Jim Kerr, Newman, Freedom Call, Karnataka, Kasim Sulton, Jon Oliva, Chris Laney, Griffen, On the Rise, Sacred Heart, Taking Dawn, Serpentine, Destine and many more!!

Free CD containing full tracks by:  Y&T, FM, Shining Line, Crazy Lixx, Chris Laney, Mass, Bangalore Choir, Reckless Love, Wild Side and much more!!

The issue is available to order from

  • D L R

    Sammy is and always will be a class act who knows the music business. Very nice describing Mike’s talent in detail.

  • Shawn

    Boy, Is this going to stir things up. I am a huge Sammy fan but I didn’t care for the vibe of this interview. Oh well, we all get cocky sometimes and say things we shouldn’t so I think I will chalk this one up to that. Looking forward to the new Chickenfoot ablum.

  • Joe O’Meara

    Chickenfoot opening for Van Halen? I’d love to see it, but unless there’s actually something going on at 5150, I ain’t gonna hold my breath.

    But then again, Sam and Dave did the Sans Halen tour…

  • stew

    I think Chad is an idiot! They act like a bunch of fake women! The more I listen to Sammy The more I cant stand him! I was a teen in the 80s and loved Van Hagar But my Loyalty will always be with David Lee Roth the coolest MotherF#@%er to ever live . William Shatner is second!

  • vnhalen8

    Truth hurts…Sam is right on!

  • Opusthe1

    Sam makes it sound like Mike is a really great guy.

  • Joe Mann

    I’ve never posted anything on this site before, but I check in all the time. After reading this interview, I just had to wonder why Sammy, who always talks about how much better off he is away from Van Halen, also uses the same opportunity to bring up his past with the band and attempt to throw a few verbal jabs in the process. If you’ve disassociated yourself from something or someone, then that’s it….move on. To quote a line from a movie,”It’s like the Sopranos…it’s over. Change the channel…get a new show”. I was married for 10 years before we divorced…I have never felt the need to walk around and bring up my ex wife and verbally bash her at every opportunity. It was what it was and we both moved on….’nuff said. I like a lot of Sammy’s music (solo and with VH)….I just don’t like the negative spin he tries to pull in his interviews. I can’t blame Ed for keeping quiet. It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

  • R A 812

    Chickenfoot opening for VH? I love Sam but has he lost it?

  • Def B. Loud

    Alright, we get it…Mike’s a great guy. But, as a bass player, he leaves a lot to be desired, in my humble opinion. He’s no Jack Bruce, Flea, Les Claypool, John Paul Jones or anywhere in that league. If his Ultra Bass solo is him showcasing his skills, it only serves to prove my point. But, he is a nice guy….then again, so am I.

  • Mark V.

    Great comment, Joe Mann. Sammy constantly slams Van Halen because he WANTS TO BE in Van Halen. He is obviously not over Van Halen. (Not to say he doesn’t love being in Chickenfoot and the Wabos).

    Anyone who knows much about psychology will know that this is true.

    If he was over VH, or didn’t want to be back in VH, he would not bring them up in every interview. And for the slight jabs, he only does that because he’s smarting. Psychology 101.

    The funny thing is, Sam seems to be a pretty bright guy, and he clearly wants to come across as NOT being stuck on Van Halen, but surprisingly enough he fails to see how transparent he is in this regard. I have probably read at least 75 interviews from him where it’s so painfully obvious that he just can’t mentally move on and it is just constantly bothering him.

    Sammy has a great life and has a lot of great things going on. And I don’t blame Sammy for not being able to let the whole VH thing go, but I wish he would at least quit the bullshit and stop trying to pretend that he doesn’t care about Van Halen.

  • http://none 12beerstogo

    Right on Joe Mann.Sammy is trying to recapture the early Van Halen spirit figuring the lack of THAT spirit when he was with the band, is what got him shit canned from VH in the first place.Joe satriani is a sad replacement for Eddie and Sammy knows this or he wouldn’t constantly put down Eddie.Sammy fans and naysayers are constantly trying to to get brutal with their comments because they hate Eddie and are jealous of him.Bring it on I say.Sad part is if Sammy and Mike would just simply stop the sideway jabs at VH I would respect them a whole helluva lot more.

  • Joe Mann

    In this interview, Sammy’s coming across as the jilted lover. The man has done quite well for himself, financially speaking. He’s a business man and a performer. I respect that. But, he should really quit the mudslinging and bullshit altogether once and for all. I’ve always heard that mudslinging is ground lost…..

  • Def B. Loud

    Hey Sammy…the empty can rattles the loudest, my fren’.

  • ME!!

    Sounds to me like he’s trying a little psychology on Eddie. Perhaps by mentioning the fact they haven’t come out with an album in a while or “challenging” Van Halen in the skills department, we might hear something from 5150. Seems to me he’s attempting to elicit some sort of response from them.

    It also sounds like his leaving VH was, at least in part, his decision. Then he tried to “correct” himself.

    In any case, I love Van Halen & I love Chickenfoot. I’ll be grateful for any new tunes from either.

  • Ed Dee

    Again….(sigh) Sam, Chickenfoot, whatever, continues to be artistic and put out music. VH does not. It’s a gorgeous day in July, sunny, warm and it would be great if we were enjoying a VH summer tour. Too bad. 🙁

  • Andrew

    Ya Ya, What ever………New music or not Van Halen will always rock!! Love you Eddie, Alex and Dave!!!!! So many memories with their music!!

  • vnhalen8

    Chickenfoot IS, VH WAS!!!!

  • Pat G.

    Iam just about out of patience with VH. No new album…I am starting not to care too much anymore, and if something does come out, it had better knock us all on our asses!!! CF rocks and it can’t be denied. Some reporter is always going to bring up the VH drama: Mikey getting the boot, Sammy getting the boot, the constant inactivity, etc, etc , etc…and Sammy will always respond to stir the pot. Its fun to read.

  • http://VHND HIKER MAN



    When Sam was in VH all he did was badmouth Dave. The only interesting thing about Van Hagar was that the singer replaced Dave. After Sam left all he ever talked about was VH. Everytime something happens with VH Sam has some kind of interview or comment that ends up on the net.

    Now Sam knows the only interesting thing about Chickenfoot is that the singer used to be in Van Halen.

  • BrianG

    The way I took this comment “I’d open for Van Halen! (laughs) Any day… I’d do it for free, I’d pay the whole tour out of my own pocket!” is that Sammy is saying slyly that Chickenfoot would blow Van Halen off the stage, and he’s so sure of it he’d be willing to pay for it himself. Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so.

  • BA

    Sam is right. I’m a Dave fan for the band, but everything Sam said was the truth. Why didn’t VH go to Europe? Why would they toss Mikey? If Ed wanted Wolf in the band so badly, let him play 2nd guitar. I’ve always thought it would be great to have a 2nd to play all the overdub parts to a lot of songs that don’t sound as good, or the same, without them. And I’ve said this before, so don’t mean to be redunadant, but on the last tour with Mike and Sam, 2004, Ed and Al HIRED them, made them sign contracts to play, they weren’t officially part of the band. No revenue from sales of anything, just a flat fee. That was a low, low, blow. Here’s Ed, half toothless with some funky girl lookin hairdo and drunk out of his mind every night, and stickin it to Sam and Mike, the two guys that just want to play and have fun.

    Ed will always be the greatest, but I’ve lost a lot of respect for him over the last decade. The proof is in the puddin. Chickenfoot, (I haven’t bought the album or even heard many songs), is out there pumping out albums and hittin the road. Van Halen does a reunion tour for MEGA bucks, (I paid $500 bucks to sit inside that damned circle), and then nothing for two years now. So, so lame. So much greatness wasted. Because you know, you can’t get it back. All these years, they should’ve had another 5 or even 8, 10 albums, but nothing. Oh ya, the soundtrack to a porn movie, and a couple of songs for the Twister soundtrack. Yahoo.

    And I don’t hold out great hope for the new album. I do think there will be one, eventually, who knows for sure. But Ed himself has said it’s not the same for him since he quit drinking. Can’t get into the zone, and I believe him. All the greatest riffs ad songs we love, he wrote while buzzed, drunk, and coked-up. He still had it with the songs they added to the first Greatest Hits album, especially “Me Wise Magic”, I can’t believe that song wasn’t more popular with the public, and even moreso with the fans. That fuckin songs rocks as hard as any VH song there is. But then again, Ed said don’t expect this album to be a “bang your head agianst the wall kind of thing”, like he’s moved past that or something? Strange, and worrisome to me.

    So whatever you think of whatever, we’ve all got to hand it to Sam. He’s right, he’s rockin, and VH isn’t.

  • jim

    That was Sammy making himself seem yet again that he’s not in it for the money and he is only in it for giving the fans a great show.
    There is no way he’d do a free tour and no way he’d open for VH.

  • Zach

    I’ve never seen Van Halen (with either singer) but I’ve seen the Sans Halen tour, the Sammy & Mike tour and will see Chickenfoot on their next tour whenever that is. I feel that if you put a Chickenfoot/Van Halen tour out there, I could see CF putting on amazing shows and maybe stealing the thunder from VH just because they enjoy each other so much (especially with MA on backing vocals, sorry Wolfie, I just don’t see you beating him yet). But Roth wouldn’t let them win most nights, he, like Sammy, is too competitive.

  • 51yr old fan


  • Bluesbro

    Ed does not need anyone here to defend him. He can do it himself if he ever deigned to speak to us mere mortals. What Sam said in this interview was mild, wtf is everyone getting so bent over. Sam has ownage in every way over Ed and Van Halen as a contemporary musician. How can he ever avoid VH questions? He was their frontman for a decade. He will ALWAYS get questions regarding VH. If a little bitterness leaks out, and the chance for a little big … BFD.

    I don’t think Ed would ever want a world class rock guitar god in his own right, and two former members opening for VH. If they were deemed better it would eat him alive. Too bad, because that would be one show I would pay $150 a ducat for.

  • Roth Zealot 78

    It’s pathetic how bitter Sammy still is about getting booted from Van Halen. He’s like a jilted chick who cant get over her ex-boyfriend even though she moans “I dont care about him anymore”.

    Hagar was always jealous of Roth-era Van Halen….and he’s angry that VH fans are giving less and less respect to Van Hagar era as the years pass on. He knows that ballad stuff was dated and cheesy, and he doesnt have the balls to admit it. I can remember hearing radio interviews in the mid-90’s before he got the axe from Eddie and Hagar would still be slagging on David Lee Roth like it was still 1985 at the time. He just can’t let it go!

    Sammy Hagar is VERY INSECURE about his place in music history, and I dont buy into his Chickenfoot charade like he wants us all to believe like it’s all rainbows and puppies. If Eddie called him tomorrow, he’d bail from Chickenfoot in a heartbeat and be heading to 5150.

  • =VH=OZ

    The more I listen to Sam the more I cringe!! Yeah we’ve heard it all before, Mike is a great, cool guy blah, blah, blah. But what Sam doesn’t want all his lovers out there to know is that he was the disease in Van Halen, Eddie saw that and kicked Sam out or Sam fired himself, in the end who could give rats arse! Van Halen & Sam just was not meant to be, it had its due by date! But because Sam was pissed of being out of Van Halen he wanted revenge! And that was brainwashing Mike with he’s poison Cabo tequila into pissing off/frustrating Ed & Alex and forcing them both to make a decision of letting Mike go with Sam.

    I might be the only one here that believes Ed’s part of the story of Mike’s exit from Van Halen. But as the dust has finally settled, Ed’s honesty, truth & no BS shines through! It’s pretty simple, Mike left Van Halen to play with Sam because he thought Van Halen were finished due to Ed’s health problems & personal status (divorce, mother passing away & his cancer). I don’t blame Mike for wanting to jam, (he is a musician and he wants to play!), but to do it with a sworn enemy (Sammy Hagar) of Van Halen is really stupid and shows no respect, friendship & loyalty to Ed & Alex. Mike could have jammed with anybody else and I bet Ed & Alex would have given him their blessings but to go out with Sammy and bill themselves as “The Other Half” is really asking for trouble. Yet in this latest interview of Sam’s it’s pretty obvious who’s the arrogant & instigator or as Ed said about Sam; “The Snake” is. Can’t wait for the new Van Halen album, I got a feeling it will be their Sgt Peppers!! LONG LIVE THE MIGHTY VAN HALEN!!!

  • Vanicionado

    “I’d open for Van Halen! (laughs) Any day… I’d do it for free, I’d pay the whole tour out of my own pocket!”

    I hope he gets taken up on this offer…

    Man, what a show!

    Good Interview… I haven’t watched the DVD. Going to have to go get it now!

    And maybe pick up a DVD copy of “Live Without A Net.”


  • Spinblastr

    Van Halen was great. Van Hagar was also great. Alas, the word “was” figures prominently in both sentences. But since we don’t currently have a productive Eddie Van Halen, Chickenfoot helps to fill that void. The geeks out there can get all analytical if they want to, but all I know is that until DLR and EVH get their asses in gear (if ever) at least Sammy keeps rocking and rolling on. I loved CF’s debut (especially Soap on a Rope) and look forward to their sophomore effort as well. P.S….Hey Sammy, can you spot me a zillion dollars? I’ll have a shot in your honor.

  • johnny5150

    Roth-era Van Halen is my favorite band of all time.

    Having said that, where is the new music, updates, tours…. fu%#ing ANYTHING from the “reunited” Van Halen?

    The least Ed could do is update us on what the hell is going on!!! Every interview I’ve read with the guy he is selling guitars, amps, making excuses, all the while swearing up and down that he has a huge amount of material in his vault. Well, where the hell is it, Ed?! I mean, no new album since ’98?!? I’m sorry, there is just no excuse for that.

    Sammy has made , like 20 albums since leaving VH, has toured CONSTANTLY, and formed a supergroup with some of the best musicians on planet, and most importantly, has stayed in touch with his fan base throught constant inteviews, etc.

    Bottom line Sam busts his ass and works constantly.

    Van Halen… are they even a band anymore? They don’t put out records and they don’t play live. Sorry folks, that’s what a band does.

    Hey Ed and Al – YOU ARE HURTING AND DISRESPECTING YOUR FAN BASE. I feel bad for Dave. You know he wants to be out there, making records and slaying arenas. But you know the brothers have a leash on him, or any other singer… unless his name is VAN HALEN!

    Sorry if the truth hurts.

  • Top Jimmy

    The last Van Halen tour was a cash grab b.s. rip-off. Everyone knows it including Dave. The thing is, I don’t blame DLR at all! He wanted to restore the mighty VH to it’s rightful place in rock and roll. He wanted to do it right, with Mike. I place the blame squarely on Ed and to a lesser degree Alex for turning that tour into the sham it was. Sure, You will have plenty of people here say “I saw that tour and it was good, wolfie was good, I was just there to see Dave and Ed, blah blah blah…” but the real fans and even some of the not so hardcore fans knew that something wasn’t right. Dave knew it too. I think that is part of the explanation for his silence.

    I for one can’t wait to hear when the real story from Dave comes out some day about the “reunion” sham. Plain and simple, Van Halen had the chance to give fans the reunion tour of a lifetime and they blew it. Scratch that, they didn’t even blow it because blowing it implies that they tried… they intentionally derailed it and they derailed it at 150 bucks a pop. It’s sickening.

  • Def B. Loud

    I remember watching the F.U.C.K. tour and hearing Sammy end the show by announcing himself as “The Red Rocker Sammy Hagar” and somehow feeling that was odd. I know that’s always been his moniker…but I had not heard him going by the Red Rocker in sometime prior to that. Keep in mind, it was also on that tour that Sammy paraded around the stage in his own line of T-shirts with “Red Rocker” printed on the back and “Red Rocker” red colored sunglasses. In my opinion, he was already planting the seeds for his departure from the band. If you don’t believe me…think back about that tour or better yet, go buy the Right Here Right Now DVD and see for yourselves. It’s funny to me that Sammy has always been about business, which is fine…we live in a capitalist society. But only when Ed sells some shoes and innovative guitar equipment do haters jump on his ass for being a sellout and only being preoccupied with selling merchandise. Keep drinking the Red kool-aid my fren’s…Sammy’s more than willing to pour you some more…for the right price.

  • Def B. Loud

    As for chickenfoot, I can appreciate anything someone does creatively for the sole purpose of just doing it for the fun of it. But, I’m kinda gettin’ annoyed by all of the “behind the scenes” pretentious shit that they also keep shoveling out. I’ve seen chickenfoot and it’s not the worst show I[‘ve ever seen, but I have seen other bands that are far below the radar that were way better. Another Animal comes to mind just off the top of my head. Damn good show, damn good songs and they weren’t even the headliners. Just my opinion, which is just like elbows and a-holes…we’ve all got ’em.

  • R A 812

    Yeah Yeah, Sam brings up VH. He is also asked a lot in interviews about VH. Also, of course he is gonn a bring up VH, it was a huge part of his life. Look at Dave, that guy, from 1985-2007 talked about VH NON STOP cuz thats all he had. Dont get me wrong, I love Dave but he always did the same. Now im sure he has a gag order to shut up if he wants to get paid!

  • Def B. Loud

    I keep reading people’s posts about how much more productive Sammy’s been as compared to Van Halen or Ed in particular. This is just my opinion, but I’d rather have a quality, sonically innovative, crunch from hell type of CD released when the band feels (if they feel) ready to do so instead of one or two releases per year of nothing but the same ol’ sound with a different song title (and in Sammy’s case even that’s proving to be a problem). I don’t care how well you dress it or fluff it up, if you have to over expose your product, chances are it’s probably because it’s weak. In simple terms, you take a chimp and dress him in a $5,000 Armani suit, all you’ll really have is a well dressed chimp.

  • Ronald

    This message is for Ed and Al. Come on guys start talking. It’s not too late. Tell the fans youre plans. Give them an update or better yet some new tunes. It will scare the shit out of CF. Let’s be hounest. CF is a project. VH is a landmark in rock history. When you put youre heart in it and use youre talents it can’t go wrong. The new VH record will shock and rock the world. It is time. 12 years waiting is enough. Good luck and good health to you all.

  • SCAR

    Too much drama for your mama!!!! Smoke a bowl folks, you’ll be glad you did!!!!

  • Cam Winston

    Mike could have jammed with anybody else and I bet Ed & Alex would have given him their blessings but to go out with Sammy and bill themselves as “The Other Half” is really asking for trouble.

    Eddie invited Roth over and wrote songs behind Sammy’s back while they were still Van Hagar, so to even broach the subject of loyalty is laughable.

    Sammy not discussing Van Halen during an interview – especially where the topic of Mikey comes up – is akin to Mark Tremonti having an interview about an Alter Bridge project & bringing up Creed; you don’t sell that many million records & pretend it didn’t happen.

    Sammy constantly slams Van Halen because he WANTS TO BE in Van Halen.

    Dude, Sammy quit after the ’04 tour. Heck, he basically said he was quitting DURING the tour when he gave an interview & said that he liked being w/the Wabos more. Of course, in retrospect we all know why: Ed was a drunk and drunks are pretty nasty people when they’re intoxicated.

    I think everyone’s happier now, so it’s all good. None of them have anything to “prove” (excluding Wolfie). Eddie will always be a guitar God, Alex is one of the best drummers ever, Dave is one of the best frontmen ever, Mikey has now shown his bass lines have chops to go along w/some of the best backup vocals in music history and Sammy is one of the best pure rock vocalists ever. Sure, musically, it all revolves around Ed. Everyone’s always known that. Then again, personally, he’s the one who has suffered the most damage due to his insecurities & self-destructive behavior, but at the end of the day he’s still Eddie freaking Van Halen, second only to Jimi Hendrix. So, again, it’s all good.

    God bless ’em all.

  • Dooley

    It bears repeating, as of now, Chickenfoot’s a band,
    Van Halen’s a brand.

    One rocks, the other doesn’t.

    Speaking in the present tense, of course.

  • temple5150

    If all Sammy ever wanted to be was “in a band” rather than a solo artist, what irks me is this…what ever happened to Gary Pihl, David Lauser and Bill Church? When Sammy joined the almighty Van Halen they just fell off his radar. When Sammy went solo after Halen he formed the Waboritas with Vic Johnson and Mona Gnader (brining back Lauser) — why not Gary and Jeff? What is the deal there? Is there any reason? Now with the advent of Chickenfoot it seems the Waboritas are getting the boot. For Sammy to proclaim “I just want to be in a band” and then to have nixed out TWO COMPLETE “bands” for “better-known,” “more experienced” bandmates shows me he may not be as altruistic as he tries to make out in these interviews. He knows the big bucks are going to come in the names of the Satriani’s and the Van Halen’s and just forgets about the “little guys” as he Marches to Mars…c’mon Sammy, if you’re about “roots” and just “livin’ it up” why piss on the orignal bandmates who’ve helped keep your name in the forefront? Methinks you need to reexamine your motivations and quit tryin’ to fool all of the people all of the time…

  • fish

    Re Gary Pihl, when Sammy left to join VH in the middle ’80s, Gary moved on and became a full time member of Boston. There was no need for Gary to rejoin Sammy after he broke with VH in the middle ’90s, as Gary had a full time gig he was/is happy with.

  • Mike

    Sammy keeps his band on salary even when playing with others! He is a class act! Keep rocking Sammy and Mike! Keep the new music coming while we wait for new VH.

  • temple5150

    Thanks fish, I don’t think I ever knew that…I guess I abandoned Gary just as much as Sammy did ;-(

  • Cam Winston

    What fish said.

    Plus, Sammy has kept the Wabos on payroll throughout, whether or not he was touring w/CFoot or doing his own thing, they’ve still gotten paid.

  • scottt

    Everyone needs to calm down on Sammy. Geeez. Def B. Loud…Mike’s bass solo was always about a ‘show’ for the fans, not so much about his skill level. He’s got chops for sure, but he serves the song. Nonsense also about Sam ‘planting seeds’ during the F.U.C.K. tour. That’s really stretching it dude. Their most successful tour and album up to that point, and he’s planning an exit strategy? Lol. It was Sammy who said he was against the next album they put out..the live one…cuz he felt that only bands on the way out in their careers put out live albums, which I kind of agree with. I would’ve rather had a new studio record, myself. But they did it anyway, oh well. As far as the present, I think Sammy is just excited about things right now. Look, we all know Sam got jacked by VH and their management at the time. So good for him, and Chickenfoot. Ed’s sober now and that’s all in the past. Dave is back in and Wolf is now in. VH will never tour with Mike and Sam in or out of the band. Chickenfoot and VH will never tour together. C’mon people..keep it real. Just hope we get at least one more VH/Roth record sometime next year. Um..temple5150…maybe Sam’s old bandmates were busy with their lives or other gigs, who knows. But why would he go back to those dudes when he can play with Chad, Joe, and Mike, who are awesome?!! I wouldn’t! Quit trying to fool yourself that Sam is up to something and just be happy for the guy, and happy for Dave, and Ed and Al and Wolf that everyone has moved on. Who cares if Sam gets excited during some interview. Peace.

  • VanHalen4?

    I find Sammy very confusing. I reckon he has a great voice and if he could write better words than most second-graders in poetry class I`d have him right up there. Instead, I always wonder what DLR would have done with Ed`s music from 1986 onwards. I want to listen to Sam`s voice but can`t take the lyrics, especially with Chickenfoot where he`s written some absolute crap, so much that I sold the CD and my tickets to see them after I`d listened to it. The Ed-Joe stuff is laughable. Joe is a serious player, but it`s all chewed meat, Ed did it all first, and with a lot more humour or aggression or whatever was needed in his playing and whilst I admire Joe, I love Ed (could Joe even think of the fills on “Hang `em high”?? That stuff is natural, not music theory!!!). Some people write some nasty shit about him. Alcoholics aren`t great people, but they don`t pick their problem…they just try and deal with it. If it means hiding from fans for long periods of time, so be it, and if it means fall-outs, well it happens. A lot of guys have made their living out of Ed`s talent. DLR would have made something of himself anyway, but Sammy would be forgotten. I think Sammy knows that when he has to keep mentioning VH. He`s like an angry ex-lover. Mikey has the class to at least sound like he knows he wouldn`t be where he is without Ed.

  • vnhalen8


    Hit it on the head, nothing more needs to be said!!!!


  • Bo Sox

    Sammy definately is going in for the VH kill. A part of me kinda enjoys some of this but he should take a little bit of the high road because the more he trashes VH the more he trashes his own legacy.

  • ImTheOne

    Nobody can touch Keith Moon. R.I.P. man.