RED My uncensored life in rock SAMMY HAGAR with JOEL SELVIN HarperCollins (2011) If anything the most outstanding feature of this Sammy Hagar book is his honesty. That’s always been his trademark. He’s a fantastic live performer who sincerely cares about his fans. What is surprising is the detail in which he bares all including the affairs he had behind his wife Betsy’s back. The Montrose days looked like the band were raking in the money but Sammy tells it different: “We were making $500 a night and it was costing about $600 a night to tour. We were dying, without getting paid, my home phone was shut off, Betsy was back on Monfort street in Mill Valley with Aaron, sitting there freaking out unable to talk to me. It had made the latter part of the tour miserable.” The good, the bad and the sometimes ugly stint in Multi Platinum selling band Van Halen will sadden some hardened Van Halen fans. Sammy says of the reunion tour: “It seemed to me that Ed was going through the motions, like he didn’t care about his playing. He didn’t care about the way he looked. He just took the money. He was embarrassing; Al, Mike and I did it from the heart. We played our asses off every night. Ed went out and jerked off” It took a while for Hagar to finally snap on the road during a double headliner with Former Van Halen front man Dave Lee Roth but when he did he didn’t hold back his feelings toward Roth: “He’s a fuckin bald-headed asshole”, I said “a swaggering, middle-aged prima donna who was out there pretending to be something he no longer was. He’s a nostalgia act who has to wear a wig and he even spray paints that” You get a good insight into the music business as Sammy is very open about the money he and the bands would earn, the dodgy management and record company contracts, the drugs, the booze and the groupies. He reveals the pit falls of being a musician at all levels, not only did he work his ass off as a solo artiste but also has had a string of successful business ventures including manufacturing mountain bicycles, and the world renowned Carbo Warbo tequila liquor export business. He’s had a few failed ventures too. The success of his business empire means he can now enjoy his music career without relying on it to make a living and this is most evident with his latest super group Chicken Foot who are one of the coolest bands on the scene. Now in his 60’s and performing as well as ever the book is a fascinating journey from welfare handouts to the Rock N Roll Hall Of Fame. The Red rocker tells it how he feels it from the heart with the help of co author Joel Selvin. It’s a book you won’t want to put down; a remarkable story from a lovable road warrior. REVIEWED BY THE BAILEY BROTHERS
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