Jeb Wright of Classic Rock Revisited recently conducted an interview with former VAN HALEN singer Sammy Hagar. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.
Classic Rock Revisited: You have always been about the music. From the WABOS to VAN HALEN to your solo career to MONTROSE. I think the fans recognize that and that is why they love you.
Sammy: The reason I have a loyal following is because I have delivered time-and-time again. Whether you like my music, my band or my songs, I am out there doing it. I will keep doing it and I will dig it. Hopefully, my new band, CHICKENFOOT, will fill that VAN HALEN gap for myself and the fans. You have a super guitar player, Joe Satriani, and you have Chad Smith on drums and [Michael Anthony] on bass and singing. We have the early VAN HALEN chemistry. When we get together, we start laughing and having a good time, and the music just comes pouring out of us. I am so happy to be in a creative environment like that with other people again. My band is creative; don't get me wrong. They are my solo band and they will always be my band. It is like Bruce Springsteen and the E STREET BAND; they back up Bruce properly. When you put together another kind of band, where everyone inspires each other, and tries to out play each other, and pushes each other to the limit, and I am not running the show — that is what VAN HALEN was. I love that feeling. It was like that in MONTROSE and HSAS. Everyone brought things to the table and it is not a solo thing. I am really enjoying this time with CHICKENFOOT.
Classic Rock Revisited: Is the name CHICKENFOOT going to stick?
Sammy: Say we change the name tomorrow to THE BROWN BOYS. We will put a new album out and people will say, "Have you heard THE BROWN BOYS?" People will go, "Who are they?" They will answer, "They used to be CHICKENFOOT." No matter what we change our name to everyone will refer to us as "CHICKENFOOT." To me, it is more than a silly name. This band is funky and it is like a chicken foot walking around a barnyard. It is down and dirty.
Classic Rock Revisited: Have you set dates?
Sammy: Hopefully, it will be done by the summer of next year. We want to have a CD out and go out on tour. We want to take it to the world; this band is too good. Just looking at the four parts then you can tell it is good. Now, imagine if the four parts have great chemistry, then you know how good it is going to be. Everyone takes each other to a different level. You can put the best musicians in the world in a band, and if there is no chemistry then the music stinks. You can put good musicians in a band, and have good chemistry, like THE BEATLES had, and you have the greatest band in the world. You can't compare George Harrison to Eddie Van Halen on guitar but the creative process that those guys achieved, you can't compare to Eddie Van Halen, me or anyone.
Classic Rock Revisited: Because you are so honest I want to get your take on something. I didn't make it to see the last VAN HALEN tour. But I can't help thinking that Michael Anthony got fucked. I want to know if you think Mike got fucked.
Sammy: Absolutely. I am dragging Mikey around the country — I have a bass player who can play and sing. I still choose to drag Mikey around the country with me. I love the guy. He is more fun than the rest of VAN HALEN put together. Because he got fucked, I can't stand to go out and play a show anywhere in the world without saying to Mike, "Do you want to come?" Ninety percent of the time he says, "Yeah." He got fucked and it was horrible. I am not going to go on about "why and what," because I have no idea. Once again, they can't make a record for fifteen years and then they throw Michael Anthony out of the band right before they do the reunion that the whole VAN HALEN world has been waiting for since the '80s. They have been waiting for this reunion and they [VAN HALEN] did it wrong. It is one more strike against those guys. They are not healthy, mentally, and they make bad decisions. They don't take the fans in mind for one second and it is not good.
Classic Rock Revisited: I heard that Eddie and you got into a fight in an airplane, while in the air, and Eddie actually tried to smash out a window in the plane. Is that true?
Sammy: Yes, it is true. He tried to smash the window out with his hand until he hurt his hand. Then he tried to smash it out with a wine bottle until Alex [Van halen] jumped up and took the bottle from him and calmed him down. I was going to quit the band the next day, but there were forty more shows and I couldn't do that to the fans. I thought that it was not cool to burn the fans. I knew they [VAN HALEN] would make me the bad guy. I refused to fly with the guy ever again. He was completely out of his mind drunk. He was completely wasted. He was so wasted that he was actually stupid enough to take twelve people down. People that act like that shouldn't be allowed to fly on airplanes, and they probably can't, but we were flying privately. I said, "The only way I will continue to do this tour is if I have my own airplane." They paid for my own airplane.
Read the entire interview at Classic Rock Revisited.