Sammy Hagar Explains Why He Didn’t Want To Be A Part Of Van Halen At First

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Sammy Hagar Explains Why He Didn't Want To Be A Part Of Van Halen At First
(images: Daniel Knighton/Terry Wyatt)

Sammy Hagar recently appeared in a new episode of In Search Of Excellence. Hagar told the rarely-known story about his joining Van Halen after Eddie Van Halen called him.

Sammy rose his fame with Montrose in the early 70s and was featured on two albums until he left the band. A prolific musician, Sammy Hagar, has released nineteen solo studio albums to date. And he also took part in two studio albums with the supergroup Chickenfoot.

On the other hand, Hagar joined Van Halen after David Lee Roth left the band in 1985, played with the band for eleven years, and took part in four studio albums. Hagar‘s first studio album with the band “5150” received positive feedback from the metal community and peaked at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart.

Anyway, Sammy Hagar, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Van Halen, shared with his fans how this wonderful story began. In an interview with In Search of Excellence, Hagar talked about how things went with Eddie Van Halen in joining the band.

Eddie Van Halen says to Claudio, ‘Oh,’ Claudio says, ‘Oh, that car belongs to Sammy Hagar, you should call him, get him in your band,’” Hagar says. “Eddie goes, ‘You got his phone number?’ The guy says, ‘Yeah,’ and he sits right down in the office and calls me out of the blue. I just got home from a tour, been home two days after the VOA tour, maybe 120 shows.

“I was done, happy to be home, the best shape of my life though. I was like chiseled. He says, ‘Dave quit. Why don’t you come down and join our band?’ I said, ‘Oh man, I’m just getting off the road,’ and I said, ‘Give me a couple of days.’ He said, ‘Nah, come down tomorrow.’ I said, ‘When do you wanna do this?’ He said, ‘Come down tomorrow.’ I said, ‘You gotta give me a couple of days, man.’”

Hagar Says He Didn’t Want To Join Van Halen At First

When Eddie Van Halen called Hagar, he had just completed the tour of his eighth studio album, VOA, and was back home to rest. Although Hagar said he needed a few days to rest, he could not resist because of Van Halen‘s persistence, and this is how the story that would last eleven years began.

“I just shaved my head,” he continues. “I cut all my hair off because my hair was trash from sweating every night in the lights, and it was like a haystack on top of my head. So I cut it all off after most tours, and I thought, ‘Man, I ain’t gonna go around with like this.’ He goes, ‘Why don’t you come out here to try to write songs. I got some ideas.’

As much as Hagar wanted to sing with Eddie Van Halen, he told his manager that he wasn’t too keen on joining the band because of the problems the band had with the previous vocalist, David Lee Roth. Somehow, the negotiations ended positively and the story that would last eleven years began.

“So, he talked me into it,” he says. “I called my manager and said, ‘I’d love to play with Eddie, but man, I don’t wanna be in that band.’ I’m thinking about their image because of the previous singer. I’m going out. I’m not that kind of guy. Anyway, I went down with him. The rest is history, Van Halen.”

Last January Sammy Hagar did an interview with Paul Rudy. In the interview, former Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar once again paid his tribute to the late musician Eddie Van Halen and revealed what they planned for 2022 if Eddie was still alive.

“The whole year, of 2020, in the early parts, around January, Eddie and I connected and we started talking again,” Sammy says. “We were talking about writing music again. We were talking about going out and touring with the whole gang one time for the big time in ’22; that was the plan. Of course, we wouldn’t wanna announce anything like that.

“But I think Wolfie [Eddie’s son Wolfgang Van Halen] said it in some interviews how everybody was planning on doing that, and it would have been the greatest thing that ever happened to Van Halen. Unfortunately, Eddie didn’t make it.

Sammy Hagar then touched on Eddie Van Halen‘s illness. At first, The Red Rocker claimed that no one realized how sick Eddie was. Later, he recalled his phone call with Eddie and revealed that Eddie told him that he was in the hospital and felt very sick. Concluding, Sammy praised his late friend and said he was made out of something special.

“I don’t think anyone realized how sick he was,” Sammy claims. “And then when I started talking to him, I would send him a call and he wouldn’t answer. I would send him a text and say, ‘Word man…’ — I used to call him ‘Word Man — ‘Word man, where are you, man? I’m trying to get a hold of you. You’re making me nervous.’

“And about a day later, he’d get back [to me] and say, ‘Dude, I was in the hospital.’ I’d say, ‘Oh, god.’ It was funny. ‘Dude, I’m in the hospital. Give me some slack.’

“But I’ll tell you what: that guy was made out of something special, man. That Dutch blood or whatever it is, he hung in there a long time.

“He’s had cancer and hip surgery and all these things for years; I guess he’d battled it almost 20 years.”

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