Sammy Hagar has an understanding of building and burning bridges and, ironically, he may be trying to do both with his upcoming autobiography, "Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock,” due out this month.
Hagar’s nasty split with VH in 1996 is still clouded in a “he was fired/he quit” quagmire produced by both sides of the story. The 2004 regrouping to support a poorly orchestrated “Greatest Hits” package turned into a shambles, as Eddie Van Halen’s drinking issues repeatedly made headlines while fans, friends and family were worried about the iconic guitarist’s health.
The 2004 trip began and ended on bad terms within the closed VH circle, with Hagar forcing Eddie to bring Michael Anthony out on the road, against the axeman’s wishes. Anthony took a pay cut and signed over a bunch of rights to do it, figuring it might be the last time the mighty VH would ever take the stage, given Eddie’s deteriorating health. It would prove be the last time fans would see Michael in VH, eventually replaced by Eddie’s son, Wolfgang.
In the new book, Hagar shares a lot of stories about his VH experiences, which may result in a burning bridge, yet Sammy has (ahem, to borrow one his song titles) ‘high hopes’ that he’ll one day record with VH again.
In a new Rolling Stone interview, Hagar talks about the situation; here’s a sample:
RollingStone.com: You really spill the dirt on Eddie Van Halen. You clearly weren't too concerned with burning bridges there.
Hagar: I don't consider them burning bridges at all. When I first joined the band, dirt was going back and forth between us and the former lead singer. I didn't burn any bridges. They eventually put the bridge back. Time washes everything clean. To be honest, Valerie [Bertinelli] said almost all the same stuff in her book about Ed.
The only thing I did was talk about my personal relationship with him. I had almost 10 fantastic years in that band. It was a dream come true for any musician on the planet. We had the greatest relationship and the greatest run and wrote some of the greatest music. We had five Number One albums and sold 50, 60 million records together. We practically sold out every venue in the world.
The last two years were really rough. Everyone immediately goes to the dirt, but quite honestly being in Van Halen was one of the greatest experiences in my life. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'll take the dirt right with it.
Back to burning bridges: If you choose to write an autobiography, which I did, then you only have one shot. If you don't tell it all then you sit there for the rest of your life telling stories and people are like, "Well, why wasn't that in the book?" I don't wanna have to do that. It's all right there.
RollingStone.com: What do you think the percent odds are that you'll ever play in Van Halen again?
Hagar: I'd say it's up there around 90 percent. I would love to make another record with Van Halen. If Eddie was totally cool and was back to the guy I used to know, or a new guy, not the guy I knew the last time [laughs]. He can't be that guy. I wouldn't do it if he was like that. It's below zero, minus zero. But if Eddie really got his life together, which it seems he has judging by the pictures I've seen, then definitely.
Rolling Stone: You really think there's a 90 percent chance?
Hagar: There's no rumor. There’s no reason to say, "Yes, I’ve got this vibe going on." Right now, zero chance. When my book comes out, zero for a while. But someday, before we all die, f**k yeah. We might be in our nineties though.
Check out the full Hagar interview at Rolling Stone here.
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