HAGAR On EDDIE VAN HALEN: 'I've Never Seen Such A Personality Change In Any Person I've Known'

Alan Sculley of The Californian recently conducted an interview with Sammy Hagar. A few excerpts the chat follow:

On the VAN HALEN reunion tour of 2004:

"It wasn't a great experience. Onstage, the fans made it a wonderful experience by being so receptive and so overwhelming. They made us all just look at each other and go 'Oh my God, this is the greatest thing in the world.' So it took the edge off. But the second we went and left the stage or certainly building up to going onstage, I couldn't even go (near guitarist Eddie Van Halen).

"I don't know when you're going to see the whole band again. That baby is put away until somebody gets himself together. There's a person who's really not user-friendly right now."

On bringing an entire village to venues on his current tour, featuring Mexican food, drinks (margaritas being a favorite beverage), volleyball and more:

"It's kind of like a dream come true. Really the word tequila isn't even the important thing. That's just the fuel. It's really a Cabo Wabo festival. It's about what happens in Cabo. It's about the lifestyle, the food, the music, the ambience of that."

On his new solo CD, "Livin' It Up":

"It's purely a lifestyle record. It is really the closest to exactly where Sammy Hagar is today in his life. It's still a Sammy Hagar record, it's just totally aimed at my fans. There's no anger on it because I'm in a whole different space in my head and in my life today. The only thing that's missing is, if you took a hardcore old MONTROSE fan or something, they're going to go 'I don't hear the anger. He's not dissing about anything.' "

On his previous statement that no VAN HALEN reunion will happen unless he sees some fundamental changes in Eddie Van Halen's behavior and disposition:

"I couldn't even go (near Eddie). They had to keep us so separated. We were going to fist fight. I've got my beliefs, and not to ego trip about how it should be done, but I believe you care about what you're doing enough to go out there and play the damn songs right. And I mean, night after night that never happened. There were times where Alex, his brother, would be looking at me and I'd say what song is he playing? I don't know. It just wasn't fair, number one, to the players and everyone else, to come out in the condition that he was in 99 percent of the shows. Some shows were brilliant. There were times when even under the conditions, he still pulled it off, but not enough for me. And when you're charging that kind of money, I'm sorry, there were times when I was embarrassed."

On the Eddie Van Halen of the 2004 tour:

"I've never seen such a personality change in any person I've ever known in my life. The guy used to be the sweetest, humblest guy and the most considerate musician. This guy, when he put on a guitar, even if he had been drinking in the past, he still was always in condition to really know the song and know what he was doing. He just wasn't like that (on the last tour). I don't know what happened."

"VAN HALEN is now, I look at it, and I hope (people) don't take this as a rude statement, but it's my side band. I care about my band so much right now and I think we're so great and this show. ... It's the best show I've ever put together, song for song, plus dollar for dollar, it is just the s---. I wouldn't give this up for nothing, especially for some half-ass version of VAN HALEN. If we can do the whole-ass version, man I will be there, and I will be there with flying colors."

Read the entire interview at www.nctimes.com.

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