Sammy Hagar hits T.O. to take care of business
Legendary rocker Sammy Hagar is in town for Canadian Music Week and to promote his new autobiography, Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock. Of course, he wouldn’t make the trek without a little bit of rocking out, too. Keep an eye out for him at The Mod Club tonight – word has it that he’ll be taking care of some business. We chatted with Hagar about Van Halen, his book and tequila. What could be better?
What’s your involvement with Canadian Music Week?
Oh boy! Maybe I should have someone else call you, because I don't know what the hell I'm going to be doing. I just know I'm going to be there, and I'm going to be going to a cocktail party, maybe giving away an award, I'm going to be jamming with BTO [Bachman-Turner Overdrive] at The Mod Club; I'm doing a whole bunch of stuff.
Can you give us a hint of what we can look forward to reading in your book?
Well, some of the Van Halen dirt, of course, and prior to and during that time in my life – the sex, drugs, and rock and roll, of being a young, rich, rock star [laughter]. You know, there's not a lot of discipline. I have kids now. My 14-year old daughter is probably dying to take a drink or go out and get stoned or have sex at this stage, and I'm sitting here saying, “Man! Look what I did.” I'm uncomfortable about it, but like I said, you make the decision between writing the book or not.
How long did the whole process take you?
It's hard to say. I've been writing the book for my whole life, to be honest with you, but I just didn't write anything down. Every time something really unique happened, something special, I would say, “That's going in the book.” I was saying that in the 70s. It all made it. For the actual writing, I just blocked out about 4 months in the last year. I did interviews with Joel Selvin, a music writer for the San Francisco Chronicle; he is a musicologist. This guy knows everything, so he really helped me immensely in organizing it. When he thought I was being too shallow on a subject, he would pry. It's in my own voice, which is the most important thing about this book; no one put words in my mouth. If I said a bad word, which I do constantly, it's in there.
What's the performance at The Mod Club going to be like?
I think I'm going to do their encore, “Taking Care of Business” with them. They are going to do “I Can Drive 55,” or something like that; one of my songs I think. We just talked about it briefly. I've been a musician my whole life, so it's easy for me to just say, “What key is it in? A? Ok, I can jam with you guys.”
What has been your experience performing in Canada? Do you find the audience here any different?
I'm starting to find them better. In the old days, in the 70s and 80s, I felt like I just didn't go over that well in Canada. The people just watched, and gave you too much respect [laughs]. Over the years, I'm seeing that change more. Now, the last time I played with Chickenfoot up there, oh man, the people were just going crazy! They are really into it; they're really into the music, almost more than in America. I get along with the Canadians. Having a liquor company, a tequila company, I show up with a bottle of tequila, and we're ready to go.
Is there anything you want to tell your fans in Toronto?
I dig that city, especially in the summer. I'm really looking forward to coming and spending a week there, it's gonna be great! I'm starting my whole book tour there. It really is a great city.