Sammy Hagar says the success of his tenure with Van Halen was due to an intense work ethic led by the Van Halen brothers Eddie and Alex. But that didn’t mean the band didn’t find time to play as hard as they worked.
During an interview with Fox News Digital, Hagar looked back on all four studio albums he recorded with Van Halen, the last being 1995’s Balance.
“There were such good times in the beginning, like 5150 [and] OU812,” Hagar said. “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge was a little bit of a struggle because I was going through a hard time with my ex-wife. She was having a nervous breakdown and didn’t want me to leave the house. I was like, ‘I got to go to work here.’ So it took us like a year to make that record, but we were getting along good. But of course, the brothers were putting a lot of pressure on me to show up, you know, as much as I could. And they were understanding.
“But then comes the next record [Balance], it’s like, you know, we started not getting along so good, and you could feel the end coming to me,” continued Hagar. “So then you got the bittersweet stuff. It’s just so dark for Van Halen or for Sammy. Let’s just say Sammy, you know, I’m just not a dark person. I’m Mr. Sunshine. And boy, I was [dragged] into the darkness between my divorce and my ex-wife not doing so good, trying to help her out and trying to be in a band. And the brothers want to work every day of the year. They wanted to work 367 days a year, and I only wanted to work 360, you know what I mean? So we had a little problem there, but we got it done, and it’s a great record.”
Despite the problems toward the end of his time with Van Halen, Hagar said there were plenty of good times.
“When we got out of the limo to the airport or to jump on the plane to go to the first gig, we started partying,” he said. “And on the way home in the last leg, getting off the plane, back into the limo – most of us stopped when we got back in the limo to go home. But unfortunately or fortunately, I lived next door to Eddie out in Malibu. And so we’d ride together and, you know, and one thing would lead to another. Next thing, we’re pulling up at the house going, ‘Dude, you got any gum?’ And you know what I mean. ‘Do I smell, man?’ We’d inspect each other [laughs]. That’s what I remember. Everything in between that I don’t know what happened… Just imagine whatever could happen. It probably happened more than once. We had a good time, brother. We did.”