Q&A with Sammy Hagar; Red Rocker for president?

Sammy Hagar shares with the fans during a surprise appearance with son Andrew's band the Appalachian Murder Bunnies at Cabo Wabo on Saturday, March 26.
Sammy Hagar shares with the fans during a surprise appearance with son Andrew’s band the Appalachian Murder Bunnies at Cabo Wabo on Saturday, March 26.
Kurt Johnson / Tahoe Onstage

Q: Sammy, how are you doing today?

A: I’m doing good; you know, I’m kind of nervous for my son. It’s a funny thing, I’m actually nervous for myself because I don’t do acoustic things, so I’m going to go get up and play a few acoustic tunes myself. We haven’t worked anything up. It makes me nervous; it’s not the easiest thing for me to do.

Q: To just go up there impromptu?

A: Yeah, with an acoustic guitar, it’s not my forte.

Q: Can you tell us a little bit more about what’s going on tonight?

A: Well, my son Andrew has been dating Kris Kristofferson’s daughter, Kelly Kristofferson, for a year now. And she’s a little singer-songwriter, an instrumentalist; she plays banjo, she’s really good. She plays ukulele and she plays guitar. So he started kind of playing around with her. And he’s always played guitar, but not really ever wrote a song. Anyway, long story short, she kind of swung him into it and they’d been kind of rehearsing. And she said “Hey, my dad’s going over to Scotland, and I run his teleprompter for him and I tune his guitars, would you like to go with me?” So he goes with her, and they wind up opening the show for him, for like 6,000 people a night.

I saw a video and they were great. So I got excited and I said, “You’ve got to come.” We were planning to go to Tahoe for Easter so I said “You’ve got to come up and play” so he’s going to do it; the Appalachian Murder Bunnies.

Q: Where are they based?

A: L.A., this is their American debut. How about that?

Q: Bigger picture, what’s coming up in the immediate future that you’re excited about?

A: A couple things. Chickenfoot never gets together because everyone’s so busy with their own things, all the different bands. Chad Smith has a break the weekend of the anniversary of the Tahoe Wabo, so we’re going to be doing our 12th  anniversary here with Chickenfoot, which we haven’t played for five or six years. We’re going to rehearse the weekend before, do a long sound check, and squeeze it in. It sold out in like three minutes. It’s the fastest sell out I’ve ever had. All my shows sell out in like 20 or 30 minutes, not at Cabo Wabo but at the (South Shore Room). And then I’m coming up in late August with my band the Circle and play the outdoor concert.

For me, this is like what I do at Cabo Wabo. I have anniversary things that we do here, because the fans, they look at this like it’s a once a year party. They say “OK, I’m making my vacation. We’re going to go to Tahoe,” or “We’re going to make our vacation, we’re going to go to Cabo.” Those are my two anniversaries that I do every year, here for 12 years, Cabo for 26 years now. I look forward to those things, so those are really the big markers on my calendar. Everything after that is “Oh, I got a gig in St. Louis,” or “Oh, I’ve I got a gig in San Francisco; Oh, and I’ve got a gig in New York or wherever.” But I’m only going to do about a dozen shows, including the Cabo Wabo birthday bash this year. I’m working very little as far as touring goes, but I’m doing a whole lot of other stuff.

Q: Anything else you can tell us about?

A: I’ve got a new agave product coming out. I’ve got my rum I’m always trying to promote. I’ve got a new Cabo Wabo that’s going to open up, hopefully New Year’s Eve in the Bahamas, right by Atlantis and all that; and then we’re looking at one in Maui as well, so you know, expanding my restaurant places. When I expand my restaurants, everyone understands, I give the restaurant money away, and I like to expand them for one reason. It’s another place for me to play. I can go party myself, right, and make sure that everything’s right, because I own the place, right? And then it gives my fans another place to go. They go on vacation, if they go to Nassau they’re going to go “Oh, cool, we’ve got a Cabo Wabo now. Now we know we can go there.” Or they go to Maui, “Oh, there’s a Cabo Wabo there now.” I think that really works for my fan base.

Q: As we’ve seen, successful celebrity branding on an international level can lead to a political career; any chance of a run for president?

A: I wouldn’t be a politician if it was the last job on this planet. It desperately needs someone that cares enough, like I do, but that is crazy enough to do it, because I’m not. I’m way too happy. I’m having way too good a time on the beach, I do not want to go through that. That is the most torturous game on the planet. All people do is shoot holes in your trip. Everyone is just controversial; everything you do, no matter what you say, half the people like it and half the people hate it. You’ll never ever see a politician that appeals to everybody, and if they do, he’s really full of shit. Anyone that speaks the truth and says “This is what I believe in – -?” They’re never going to be president. You’ve got to tell what you think the people want to hear, and then you get in office and do whatever you want, or whatever you can, because you can’t even get anything done now. So I wouldn’t want that job for anything.

Q: Is Kris Kristofferson going to get up there tonight?

A: He’s certainly welcome, that’s for sure. I think he’ll feel more comfortable once he sees how this thing is rolling. He might think this is some really professional, really slick, well-rehearsed show or something. So that would make him nervous, like it would me too. But it’s not, so that makes me nervous as well.

Q: I saw you recently mentioned to Rolling Stone a little bit about being open to a possible revamp with Van Halen?

A: No, it’s not a revamp. Everyone tries to make it look like they want to try to get us back together. That’s business people trying to talk. I said, before I die – I don’t want to go to my grave and have any enemies, you know what I mean? All these people have been dying last year, I’m going “Wow, you wake up another guy dies.” All these guys are my age, so I’m going “Well, before I die I’d sure hope that I don’t still have some feud going in Rolling Stone with Eddie Van Halen,” right? So I said I’d be totally open to sitting down and having a coffee or a beer. The point is I’d love to be friends again. I am not looking to be back in that band again; I’ve got The Circle, we play every Van Halen song I want to play, and we play it as good as anyone’s ever played it, so I’m happy with my musicianship and my band, but I just want to be friends.

-Interview by Josh Sweigert

Related story: Review of last year’s Sammy Hagar and The Circle show at Harveys. LINK

Click here for more on Hagar’s appearance at Cabo Wabo.

Sammy Hagar and son Aaron Hagar, South Shore resident.
Sammy Hagar and son Aaron Hagar, South Shore resident.

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Tahoe Onstage is an online entertainment and sports magazine covering Lake Tahoe, Truckee, Reno, the Carson Valley and June Lake.


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