One milestone that Sammy’s always stood by—and it appears again in Red—that I’ve always been confused by is his insistence that he sold more records with Van Halen than David Lee Roth, but an RIAA search reveals that, as of 2004, Roth’s era of recordings has outsold Sammy’s by a nearly 2:1 margin, 34 million vs. 18 million. Where is Sammy getting his data from?
I’m not informed on the sales issues.
Have you read David Lee Roth’s 1997 memoir, Crazy from the Heat? Did that play any part in how you did or didn’t want to approach telling Sammy’s story?
I read ‘em all, but Sammy isn’t very interested in David Lee. I referred to a Van Halen biography, Everybody Wants Some, from time to time.
In your opinion, what were Dave’s greatest strengths and weaknesses as a member of Van Halen? How about Sammy’s?
No comment on Dave—no knowledge. Sammy obviously drove that band to some very fine musical and commercial peaks.
Even in the book, it’s still unclear as to whether Sammy was fired from Van Halen or left on his own accord in 1996. What’s the truth?
Funny word, truth. Sammy has his story. The Van Halens have theirs. Nobody seems to have the whole story. Ever see Rashomon?
Sammy also reveals a keen mind for business, opening celebrated bicycle shops, a travel agency, and of course his south of the border-themed tequila brand and restaurants. Do you think Jimmy Buffett had more of an influence on him with the latter two than Sammy lets on in the book? Do you know if he’s ever heard from Buffett about this?
Jimmy Buffett wishes he thought of the tequila first.