All right, we get it: Van Hagar was not Van Halen, nor will the band's work with Sammy Hagar ever hold a candle to the groundbreaking canon the David Roth era produced. However, Sammy Hagar is, in his own right, a real-deal rock star, and while we have to agree that the Hagar Van Halen days were the weaker of the two, we do believe it gets an unjustifiably bad rap ("Poundcake" is, without question, the best/worst double-entendre in all of rock music). Hagar deserves more respect than it would appear he receives these days.
We consider Hagar to be the Karl Lagerfeld of rock music: adored without condition by fans, maligned by haters, rarely photographed without a pair of shades, but an overall genius in his chosen field. Just ask Bill and Ted! As such, here are five reasons we love Sammy Hagar.
5. The Red Rocker
The dude took ownership of a fucking color. For some musicians, a nickname requires some deep meaning or stems from an ability or trait. Not Hagar's, though. Being the alpha-rock machine that he is, Hagar decided to simply appropriate the color red. After writing a song with the title "Red," Hagar (who already had a self-described fixation on the color) was asked by a fan to sign an autograph as "The Red Rocker" and apparently just went with it for the rest of his career.
Hagar firmly believes aliens came to him in his sleep several times and downloaded the contents of his brain through some sort of telepathic link. Seriously. Hagar has mentioned his multiple experiences with extraterrestrials frequently in interviews over the years and delves deeper into the topic in his autobiography, Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock.
3. Craft Tequila
Hagar found the spare time to become an alcohol tycoon. After visiting Cabo San Lucas, he fell in love with the place, moved there, wrote a Van Halen song about it, and then built a tequila bar. After falling in love with premium tequilas -- the kind reserved for only the most discerning of masochists -- Hagar went on a mission to craft a premium tequila to the liking of his own palate. Apparently Hagar's taste is pretty impeccable, because the brand took off and made him his second fortune.
2. Right Now
Hagar embodies humanitarianism: As one of four children raised by a single mother, Hagar has a firsthand understanding of how poverty and hunger affect people on a daily basis. As such, he donates a portion of the earnings from each show he plays to local food banks in the cities where he is performing. In fact, this past August, Hagar gave away 10,000 lawn seats at a show in St. Louis in exchange for donations to one of four selected charities. The seats sold out in around 20 minutes.
Montrose absolutely ruled and remains one of the most criminally underrated American bands ever! Between the late Ronnie Montrose's ballsy guitar work and Hagar's soulful vocals, the group was the incarnation of everything that was good about mid-'70s rock 'n' roll. Big riffs, heavy-handed drumming, and a dude screaming about motorcycles and women -- what more could you possibly ask for?
Sammy Hagar & the Wabos. 8 p.m. Thursday, November 7, at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, Hollywood. Tickets cost $44 to $74. Call 954-797-5531, or visit hardrocklivehollywoodfl.com.
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