Sammy Hagar: The Evergreen Rocker Lives Life Up.

Sammy Hagar talks passionately about his new album Livin' It Up, touring, his lifestyle and bar, everything Van Halen, plus more on Journey, Planet US, Montrose, Michael Anthony and then some more Van Halen. Enjoy!

Sammy Hagar is one of a handful of artists that heavily influenced my desire to start this website. My desire was to speak to like minded people about music that inspired me and through Sammy's work with Van Halen and as a solo artist; some of these tunes are among my most treasured.
For whatever reason, it has taken me nearly 10 years to connect with Sammy for an interview. But I got my interview! With personal thanks to Tom Consolo at Azoff Management and Sammy's publicist and indeed Sammy himself, my long awaited interview is below.
Sammy was in top form, passionate as always and was happy enough to shoot overtime to continue chatting with me. This is definitely one of my favourite interviews while running this site and I hope it is the first of more to come.
While I didn't quite have time to run through 10 years worth of questions, I think we did manage to cover a lot of ground for interview number 1. Looking forward to the next.
Over to Sammy….

[Sammy's publicist connects me through to Sammy...]

Andrew, Sammy here.
Hey Sammy, how are you doing?
I'm doing pretty good.
What can I do for you Andrew?

Well, it's a great honor to speak to you finally Sammy. I have been running the site 10 years nearly and you are 1 of only 3 interviews that I have never been able to do yet. Until today in this case.
Well, here we go!

I'm rapt to get you on the phone finally…how ya doing?
I'm pretty beat I gotta tell you. I must admit. I just finished a tour and it was the most grueling tour and the most rewarding tour I have ever done in my life.
I had Michael Anthony and The Other Half out there with me…so I did two shows per night basically. I played an hour twenty with my band, about an hour ten or twenty with Mikey and sometimes we'd screw around and do an encore.
I started out with two hours and fifty eight minutes, then the next show I went down to 2.52 and then to 2.48 and it stayed right around between 2.35 and 2.45. And it wore me the fuck out…hahaha…If I may be straight out honest!

Haha. I actually have one of the set lists in front of me and it's amazing.
Yeah, we did so many different sets too. I don't know…which list do you have?

New Jersey, Homdel I'm looking at.
Pretty close to what we did…hahaha. But every time we'd get bored with a song we'd change 3 or 4 songs a night and towards the end we started getting a little more radical with it.
Cause. Like I said…the Wabo's – we have a set list – but we don't go by it. Haha. So everyone says 'well, they don't have a set list'. No no, we have a set list – we just don't use the fucking thing. We use it as a reference.

Well, that's rock n roll isn't it?
Well, it keeps me alive out there. You know, if I had to do the same show every night, um…jumping around. That was the hard thing about the Van Halen tour. We were not able as a band to ad-lib and change it up too much because in order to play a Van Halen thing you have to rehearse for a month per song. So we had to do the same show every night, you know. I'm telling you, after 40 shows I wanted to commit suicide and we did 80! I was just going man…I started looking at it as an exercise. Ok, I'm going to go out and get a 2 hour aerobic workout.

I'll come back to that, because there's a couple of questions regarding that…
I'm sure.

Haha… “I'm sure” haha…do you go through any interview without those questions?
It's hard at my age for as long as I have been doing this to go out and just do a show. Like most people would say the opposite. Like anyone who has been doing this as long as I have most of the time would say 'it's much easier to put a show together and you just go do it.'
But then it's like a job…well I don't like to work to start with. I hate work. So 'a job' is a bad word. I like to play music and have fun – every night. I like to throw a party and in order to do that you have to go with how you feel and how it feels between you and the audience.
You can't do a sterile show otherwise…I hate it…I wouldn't do it. I'd rather go mop the same floor every night; you know…it would be the same thing to me.
I gotta have fun and throw a party so my way around that is by changing it up every night and it works.

And your shows seem to becoming more of a party each and every year.
Yeah they do. It's the reason…it gives me a reason to do it. Otherwise I would be saying this isn't fun anymore.
For it to be fun you gotta make it fun and I make it fun…for the people and for myself. I honestly have a blast out there. I go out – I get fired up before the show. My band and I, we all do a couple of shots of tequila before the show…Mikey does a lot more than that…but…hahaha….we try and keep it to one bottle per show. And we go out and just honestly start having fun...goofing off, changing it up. I love to keep the band on their toes. They love it when I change it – it keeps them on their toes.
The way my drummer says it – by the third song, if I haven't changed the song yet, it gets harder and harder to get off the hook. As soon as I change the song up and throw him a curve, he gets off the hook and the show goes…and we all have our little quirky things that make the show work for us.
For me it's half the amount of tities I see by the first…if I haven't seen a nice pair of tits by the first four songs, I go 'this ain't working, I gotta kick it up a bit.'
You can't go out and beg for that stuff, it just has to happen naturally, so you have to create a good enough party for that to happen.

It sounds like you are! I hope you can bring it down under sometime soon.
Well, we just finished the tour and I'm whipped. So we are not going to do anything for a little while, but I want to so bad.
I got good news – the tequila – the only country I am launching it in outside of the USA and Mexico is in Australia by the end of the year.

A company called Infusions Solutions – they have They are going to distribute my tequila. I can't make much more than we make as the demand is too heavy for America. It's like, hand made…I can't make a million cases. We are only sending about 6000 cases over for the whole of Australia. I assume that'll be gone in the first day…hahaha.

Haha….you know we like to drink down here.
Yes we do!

You had a great time here in 96 or so…I flew over to see that show. Awesome.
Well, I gotta tell you. The band has changed. We are the same band, but we have changed so much since then that it's not even – those were great shows – but I had just left Van Halen and I was really more keyed in and focused on the artist side of things. 'I want to be an artist; I don't want to be a heavy metal artist'.
I wanted to shed the Van Halen thing and I was kinda of like a person who was trying to rebel against his parents at the time.
Now, where we have come…all that has gone and the band has developed into who and what we are.
The reason I bring up the tequila thing – it gives me a double reason to come over. The distributor is going to want me to come over and promote the tequila and I'm going to want to come over and promote what I do. It all works the same.

It goes hand in hand doesn't it? Even more so with the new album lyrically. Let me ask this question – is Sammy Hagar now a lifestyle?
Completely! With this band or without this band I would be the same now. I really have found the type of life that keeps me energized and happy and puts a smile on my face and keeps me from being pissed off. It's pretty much beach all day and dance all night.
I like the whole Cabo lifestyle. I like the weather, the beaches, the sand, I love my house I have there and I love my bar. Haha…I may as well have wrote that song…haha…I really do love my bar.
Having that down the street is just one of the greatest things in the world. Sitting around the house at night – 9 o'clock, 10 o'clock – you are sitting there thinking 'fuck, I don't feel like going to bed…I can't have any more sex…I have watched all the TV I want to. I'm going down to my bar!'
And you go down there and jump on stage and play, throw down some tacos, do a couple of shots of tequila. To me it doesn't get any better than that and it is an awesome luxury.

It doesn't sound much better!
If you find it, please let me know! I'm open minded, I haven't closed my mind, it's just that this pretty much gets me off at this time in my life.

That's awesome. You have a fantastic fanbase who are largely supportive. But not everyone is going to come along for the ride. Do you find that some people just don't get it?
Oh yeah…especially with this record. Ever since I have kinda been doing this lifestyle thing – bringing the beach on tour basically. I have always said that not everyone is going to get it. And I'm ok with that. As long as I don't lose my fans and even some of those fans don't like this record because of the country element – I've got two or three country songs on there.
But it's ok. But what they have to realize is that I am not a one record artist. I am not a one haircut artist. I am none of that stuff. I am always going to change and I'm going to bring it to you. I'm going to bring you something that I think is cool and something that really interests and thrills me and that is the type of artist I am.
If you expect me to come out in the same clothes I wore the last time – it ain't going to happen. Other than my little goatee and my hair a little bit longer – I'm kinda liking my hair long…getting a hair cut is like a pain in the ass. Getting hair down your back on a hot day…oh, get outta here!
Other than a few little quirky things like that, I am pretty much…I am really a changeling…I'm always looking for something new to turn my fans on to. And not all of them always get it.
Like some fans say 'I like it when you turned me onto tequila, but I'm not buying the country trip'. Fine…I'll find something else for you.
But I'll guarantee you – I will keep find something things to throw at you. I'm not going to be pigeon holed. I want to keep my fans happy but even the ones that might be pissed off about this record because maybe it isn't heavy enough for them, they're going, 'well, we'll wait…we'll go see Sammy live', cause they have to have that!
I've made it an addiction for my fans – they have to have that...a little taste of it. They'll fly down to Cabo if it's the only place they can get it.

Sure. Is this album a bridge to where you are going?
I'm not sure. I'm not sure where I'm going with my music. I really don't. I tend to keep getting more and more rootsy I think and my roots are blues, country, soul and rock. Rock is forth believe it or not. I did not start out playing rock; I started out playing blues and R&B.
When I was going back – my first musical experience with my father was listening to Hank Williams. And then Elvis Presley came along and my big sisters went with that, so that's really country/rockabilly/blues. So those are my roots and they are really starting to come out even deeper on this record.
You know, something could happen in my life – like I could go see a band – a wild example could be some extreme far-out free jazz form band and that would blow my mind and completely set me on a new track.
I'm open like that…I'm one of those people that loves music and loves style and all that stuff. So anything could happen, but right now I'm just kickin' around the beach…haha.

Yeah, well…you have just got this record out. So we shouldn't pressure you about the next one yet!
Oh no no…you can do what ever you like. Haha…I'll just go take a walk on the beach and forget about it all.

No this record I think is my best song-for-song songwriting I think. Some of my most honest.

I was going to say something along the same lines. It is a very passionate record isn't it?
It really is. I built the studio… When I went on tour with Van Halen I rebuilt my studio – I had it at my house and I took it out and put it in a warehouse and really built a studio inside a studio. It is like an air studio – it is completely suspended and my band, while I was gone for that year with Van Halen, The Wabos - they went in that studio every day with producer Bob Daspit, the engineer and just worked on sound.
Vic went through all my old amps and my old guitars and his collection and he just tried everything. And when I came back those guys just had that place sounding so freeking good I was so motivated to just go in there and just be myself and just let it all go and nuts – not even think about who I was supposed to be and I really go wound up in it man, I really got wound up in it.
I love this record!!!

It really sounds like you do and I must say that I haven't heard vocals from you so strong and clear since I don't know when.
Yeah, and it wasn't laborious whatsoever….I walked in and I'd just sing these lyrics as they were so close to what I was really feeling and doing with my life and…even the silliest song on this record - The Way We Live.

It is strictly written about my fans sleeping out on the sidewalk at Cabo Wabo and they asked me to write a song about it – so I did.
But, no one else is going to get that just like you said and if anyone is going to dog me about this they are going to say 'now what's he singing about? Sleeping on the sidewalk… Is he homeless or something?'
It's so personal and so inside, but most of the songs are like that, so they were so easy to sing with complete passion and conviction.

Song style aside, that comes through loud and clear and it does sound like you live and breathe the record. Personally I'm digging it and I can't put it on and not be happy.
Yeah, that's what it's for. If you wake up in a bad mood – put this record on, it will change that. If you wake up unmotivated saying 'I really want to work out but can't get motivated' – put this CD on and crank it, you'll be in the gym in 5 minutes.
You'll be headphones on, walking up the mountain or on your bike fucking blasting down the road.
It really has that all in there because it's pure outdoor, night life fun. You're either going dance and put a smile on your face or start making plans – 'You know what, I'm gonna call up so and so and see if they want to go to the beach today.'
It is the manual to a good time and to a lifestyle. And I'm in love with the record.

Sammy, I have 10 years worth of questions here so I don't know how many I'm going to get to ask you!
No, go ahead.
<coughs> Sorry, I'm coughing like crazy here.

No worries at all, I'm much the same…its 7 in the morning here. Too early!
Oh, Lord...I'm sorry, I feel bad for you.

No no no…I'll do it at any time. Happy to have you on the phone!
Ok, well shoot man, you can ask me anything you like.

Ok, so jumping to Van Halen then. Do you get tired of being asked about the band in I guess every interview, being that everything is kinda on hold?
No I don't get tired of it. The truth of the matter is, Van Halen – one of the greatest rock n roll bands in history –

No question about it. My era…Dave era….all of it together it fucking….you can't get much more rock n roll history than that.
It's a shame that it is not functional anymore. The last tour was really….I spearheaded that; I really wanted that to happen. I said this has to happen.
I heard Eddie had been sick with cancer and I said, you know…if this guy dies and we never do this, it's gonna be a shame for everybody. For the fans, for the band, just for rock n roll and history.
So I pushed for it to happen and it really wasn't a good time.
I wish I would have waited or tried to do it sooner. I don't know which would have been worse or which would have been better.
But if it had of gone great, then Van Halen could have been together again and I could have had my band on the side.
But as it turned out, my band is my band now and Van Halen is my side project.
And unless something really changes, it's going to stay that way.

And not because that's exactly what I want, it's just not user friendly. It's not any fun to be around Eddie, he's not a fun guy to be around. He's just really angry and I don't know why.
Cause, it's like 'Hey dude, what's your problem? You've got everything anyone could want...', but he wants more. He doesn't want to share the spotlight…he doesn't want to share the creativity anymore. He doesn't want to be a band; he wants to be a solo artist. And he used to say that about me and here I am a fucking solo artist!
But I keep saying he is the one that wants to be a solo artist. He wishes that he and his brother could just go out by themselves and not have to deal with other people so that he can just do what ever he wants.

Well, that's where I get confused. Why doesn't he do that then…why don't both of the brothers just get out there and do that?
Well…first of all – in the band Van Halen, Eddie always did whatever he wanted, I did what I wanted, Alex did what he wanted and Mikey did what he wanted.
But then Eddie started saying, no no, I want Alex to do what I want him to do.
You know, on that Gary Cherone trip, he played drums on a few songs.
C'mon! Fucking do a solo album! Not this when you have a drummer like Alex Van Halen.
And he sang lead on a song. My God! Am I gonna let this guy sing? That'd be like me saying 'Eddie, I'm going to play lead guitar on that song instead of you.'
It's not going to be as good, you know, but he just wants to do everything and tell everyone what to do and he's fucking crazy. So it's not very easy to say 'oh, that's a good idea'.
If it was a good idea that'd be easy, but if it's just some harebrained cockamamie thing that he doesn't even remember what he said 5 minutes later…I'm not going to sit in the studio all night trying to do Eddie's solo trip with my voice.
It was tough.
Those last three songs we recorded – I could have recorded three albums in that amount of time.

Yeah, I was going to say that while they are ok songs….they sounded labored. They didn't flow or have that spontaneous Van Halen vibe.
Man, it was hoarse brother. I went in and Eddie had spent 3 weeks on a guitar part and I'd come in and do my vocal in 2 hours. And it would be done.
Now, you can make fun of me all you want and say 'Yeah, you should have spent more time on your vocals…they could have been better – fuck you!'

It was as good as it could be though. Especially under those circumstances, I just tried not to be around the guy.
He was miserable.
Thank God for the producer, he really made things bearable. He kept it together.
That tour would never have happened if it wasn't for Glen Ballard. He got me in and out before Eddie and me would get in a fight. And then the tour – same thing.
Two airplanes and all that. If someone could really see what went on behind the scenes, not what happened on stage….and sometimes that wasn't so hot either.
But you would go – 'Oh, I understand why Sammy doesn't want to do it.'
Plus, if they want to do it – if Ed wants to do it or Alex wants to do it. If Ed wants to do it, all he has to do is call us up and say 'Hey, I'm sorry about what happened before, let's try this again.'
I'd give it a try, but it would have to be a little bit different.

There were a lot of reports of Eddie drinking heavily on tour.
He was pretty out of it the whole tour. There were nights when I didn't even know what song he was playing. Nobody else did either. We just stayed on the same song while he stumbled around the neck of the guitar.
And he is the most brilliant guitar player in rock history. Certainly one of them…right up there with Jimmy [Page], I don't care what anyone says.
I think Eddie is as innovative as Jimmy or anyone else and together we wrote some of the greatest songs in rock history and with Dave they wrote some of the greatest songs in rock history.
So it's all been done. I don't want to go out there and bury the goose. I would sooner leave it alone and say let this thing go down as one of the greatest thing.
I don't want to keep going out there and butchering it.
But I wish we had of hit Australia.

Same here!
We obviously didn't leave the country…haha.

Probably a good thing, right?
Yeah! It's a long flight to deal with someone on an aircraft.

It sucks!
We had our own airplanes… Ed and Al had a plane and me and Mike had a plane, because the times we tried to fly together it would almost be a smack the windows out of the plane kinda vibe.
They couldn't put us on a commercial airliner all together…not for 8, 10 or 12 hours!

That's the worst thing about living down here.
It's a ways!

Jumping to the 5150 album – the 20th Anniversary of the album being released this year.
Oh that's right.

What an amazing record!
Yeah, that's a great record. That was Van Halen! I think For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge is the best record, that's my personal favourite. But 5150 was the most high energy rock n roll record that we made with me in the band. It was just magic.
We made that album in 4 weeks! It was done, thank you, goodbye, thank you – written, record and mixed. That's a good example of what the band could be when everyone is just letting each other just do their thing and everyone comes to the table with their thing and you just get in a room and pow!! It's just instant…those were the good days.

And you went from 4 weeks on that record to nearly a year on Carnal Knowledge.
Yeah. That was kind of intentional. That was our agreement with Andy Johns, the producer…that we wanted to make the definitive Van Halen record and we were getting along pretty good then.
But I'll straight up say it – the only problem with that record was that we were a little bit lazy - we had so much success and we were having such a good time.
Fucking Eddie and I were out buying new cars everyday and racing them down Pacific Coast Highway, you know, having a good time and not wanting to go into the studio and work as much.
So the reason that record took so long was mainly because of that, but it was a great record in the end.

I love it. I kinda move between that and 5150 as my favourites, depending on the day of the week. Amazing records.
Is there any chance of your records with Van Halen getting the remaster treatment like they did with the Dave era albums?
I would think so. I would think that it is not as necessary though as the Dave records were as they were from a different era.
They were records…vinyl and all that and they were mastered on vinyl, so they had already been mastered for CD, but I don't think the technology was up to par.

To where we started – 5150 could probably use it, but Balance man…shit, that was hot…about as good a technology as you could get. That record sounds phenomenal.
So I don't think that it is as necessary and that's probably why they haven't done that.
But that stuff doesn't mean anything to me…I'm kinda a vintage guy. I like things to be what they are and what they were and just leave them alone and move on.
To keep fucking around with that old stuff and trying to re-sell it to the fans, that takes a little bit of a cheap shot.
But that's what broke the band up in the first place – the first Greatest Hits record. It wasn't all that did it, but it was the icing on the cake.
To me I'm not into going in and recording two new songs…and that last venture with the Best of Both Worlds package – I was all for trying to do a whole record, but three months later I'm going 'Man, we haven't even finished three songs dude…you want to tour, let's go tour. You want to make a record, go call someone else.'
I wasn't going to spend all that time in there.

I can understand that. And now Eddie's off doing his adult movie soundtrack work now.
I think that is just his way of, like I said…trying to be a solo artist and trying to do it undercover.
But he needs to get out and do it. I'm all for him doing anything. I think he should go out and tour – find a little band and go out and play…just jam and be crazy and save Van Halen for Van Halen. Van Halen - that's gotta be four of us…or rather me or Dave, I don't give a shit. It's just gotta be four people getting along and playing music together and making the music together. Not about the way Eddie is trying to do it now.
It will never work – he should just go out and be a solo artist. Go jam, go play, go make a record…shit I'm all for it. That's what I'm going to do. That's the way I do it – 'ok, that ain't working, I'll go put my band together again you know.'

What's with Eddie and Alex Van Halen jamming with Kenny Chesney?? That's your gig!
Well, Kenny's my good buddy and they know it. When I took Michael Anthony out on tour I think it made them feel insecure, you know, 'we've gotta make a statement.'
So Kenny Chesney comes to town, they call up management and said we want to come and jam…just to show that they are not sitting at home doing nothing I guess.
It was the strangest thing…Kenny called me after that and said, he goes 'Oh my God dude, how did you do it?' Hahaha.

Oh no!
It was just the craziest wackiest thing for them to do that! Why wouldn't they have gone and jammed with some rock people or something? It just didn't make any sense whatsoever, but Ed and Al don't always make sense.

Ok, so any chance we might one day see Van Halen touring with both Sammy Hagar and David Lee Roth?
Oh no! So there you would throw another monkey wrench into the fucking brew! I don't ever see that happening.
That was my dream – to try and make that happen from the last Sam & Dave…when I took Dave on tour with me – the Sam & Dave tour.
That was my whole reason for doing that – 'perhaps Dave and I will become friends, we can buddy up and then we'll go hit on the brothers…and we'll have a great time.'
The fans deserved that. But oh no…but I'll tell you …right now, David is more user friendly than Eddie.

Oh dear. People within the industry often have colorful descriptions when talking about Dave.
He's wacky man…he's as wacky as a motherfucker…but at least you know what you get. With Eddie, he has become wacky. He used to be this sweet, great guy. He was my best friend, my next door neighbour, but he's turned into this monster.
But Dave's always been crazy. So at least you know what you are getting with Dave.
Dave cracks me up. He can't let the Van Halen thing go. His newest CD is a remake of the old Van Halen songs. I don't get it…'C'mon Dave, come up with some new shit, go freshen yourself up…'

His live set list is mainly Van Halen.
Yeah, it's 25 year old material…20 year old stuff whatever it is. C'mon man, he needs to get over the fact he's not in Van Halen anymore. Or maybe he should be…maybe that's the ticket.
It's just a shame that Australia – the only Van Halen tour you got was the Cherone tour.

I saw it and it wasn't pretty.
Yeah, Gary's a great guy, but that was so far removed from what Van Halen is all about. It was too bad we never got over there. But it's not over…
Andrew – it's not over until it's over.
I'm ready. I'm fucking ready. My chops are up – I'm out there singing and playing better than I ever have in my life and I can do it – anything that comes along I can do it.
And I'm open minded to doing it if it could be fun. Take the fun out of it and you lose me. I go with the fun.

Again, I don't know when you are going to pick up that phone that keeps ringing and end the interview, so I'll jump to some other questions quickly!
Well, I think times ran out…these last three phone calls have been my publicist trying to hook me up with the next interview…haha.
I'll give you one more Andrew – take your pick!

Thanks Sammy. Thank you mate…I appreciate the extra time. I just wanted to talk about another guitarist – a friend of mine and a friend of yours – Neal Schon.
Oh, he's awesome.

I'm sorry Planet Us didn't work out as I dug the two tunes that I heard.
Yeah, that could have been a great band, but as you well knew, I couldn't come out and say it at the time, but the Van Halen reunion was coming up and I couldn't have three bands!
I didn't want to take these guys down that road and then leave them high and dry.
So I had to pull the plug on that early – especially with a guy like Neal who the second you tell him something, you may as well have told you!

But Neal's a great player…probably one of the most underrated guitar players around because he is as good as anyone, but he never gets the credit for inventing anything or you know.
But Neal goes back to Santana for God's sake! And here you are with a guy like Carlos Santana who is a legend himself – you are not going to get much credibility there.
And so you know, Neal since then it's just been such a commercial ride with Journey – but Journey is a great commercial band.

Oh absolutely.
They got big because they were so fucking good. They made such great songs. It wasn't because they were hit makers…they created those hits through just great musicianship and great songwriting.
Neal has never gotten his due and probably never will, but he's an awesome guitar player.

What do you think of their decision to go with Jeff Scott Soto as vocalist, standing in for Steve Augeri.
I think it's really too bad for Steve as he is a great guy and he meant well. But he got so hung up on trying to be Steve Perry that I think it took him down. Jeff's a great singer…Jeff's the real deal. Jeff's himself…he sings like Jeff Scott Soto. He doesn't sing like somebody else and that's what they needed all along because the rest of the guys in the band are that talented – that good.
So I think it will turn out to be a good move, just too bad it happened so late…and too bad for Steve, cause Steve did a great job filling in for Steve Perry for so many years, because that's what he was doing.
Now maybe Journey can reinvent themselves.

Jeff's a friend and an amazing singer.

Montrose Sammy?
I think like Van Halen, Montrose for me is too retro…I can't go back and do an album. Every year I try to do something with Ronnie and Bill and Denny…you know, we've done it for a few years in a row, and it's great…but it's best to keep it like that.
But to say I'm going to put Montrose back together and go out and do a major album and major tour – I can't do that.
It was a great band…really really a great band. But I'm just so different from that now.

You have recorded one lead vocal for his [Ronnie Montrose] new album haven't you?
That's right – and it's a cool song – Colorblind. We co-wrote it just like the old days. Thank God it wasn't like the old days though…haha
Ronnie and I put all that shit to rest and we've grown up and it's awesome to go out on stage and play with those guys. Denny Carmassi is one of the greatest drummers on the planet.

Wonderful drummer…
I love that guy – one of my best friends, three of four times a week we speak on the phone or see each other. So it's all good. But I don't see that band getting back together and being valid in the world today other than just being some old band just trying to do it again. I'd rather just be this old guy that's doing it some other way.
4 old guys…there's nothing worse than 4 old guys! One's ok, but 4!!!

Haha. You are doing well Sammy.
Just quickly if I can – Michael Anthony – his interview with Burrn Magazine was one of the best and most open and honest interviews I have ever read.
I wanted to get your take on that – gutsy of him to come out and just tell it like it is.
I think it's about time.
Mike has always been the guy that Ed and Al kept their thumb on. And Eddie really was not good to him on the last tour. And I fought for him and if it wasn't for me fighting for him, they would have done the tour without him.
I said 'I will not do the tour without Michael Anthony. It is either going to be the four members or I'm out.'

So I forced Mike into the band and by doing that, they were really really not cool to Mike. And Mike is the greatest fucking guy on the planet...he's one of the greatest bass players on the planet… one of the greatest background vocalists on the planet and he's valuable.
And to treat him like shit I don't get it. I don't fucking get it.
So I'm so happy for Mike that he stood up and went out and said 'Look man, I'm just going to tell it like it is and here's what's going on.' And that's the way it is going to be from now on.
Now that could be another part of the reason why there will never be a Van Halen re-union, cause I'm certainly not going to do it without Mike and they may not want to talk to Mike after that.

I thought it was an amazing interview…I had so much respect for him already, but after I read that, I was like – wow, you rule Mike.
You know Andrew….the bottom line is that everyone can sit here and say 'Oh he's the problem, that guy's the problem', point your finger at everybody…the bottom line really is that the Van Halen machine doesn't work well anymore.
If it did, I would be the first guy there saying 'Hey, this is a great band, I want to be part of this.' And I do want to be part of this, but not when you can't. I don't know what happened to Ed, but he's a changed dude.
If you ever do an interview with him, more power to you brother.

I'd actually love to do an interview with Ed.
I really hope you do get to interview this guy. When we did the reunion and we did the new record, as much press as we could have got – if you noticed, you never saw…very little interviews… never saw us on TV, never heard Eddie on the radio unless someone called him at 4 o'clock in the morning and hope that he answers the phone.

Ok, that is because Al is the smart brother and the good brother and he keeps that fucker out of the press. Because man, anyone that gets hold of that guy is going to get an earful.

I understand. I'm up for it!
Haha….ok man, this is my other call I gotta take it.

Ok thanks Sammy for the extra time, I really enjoyed talking with you. I appreciate it.
Ok, adios Andrew, bye.

c. 2006 / Interview By Andrew McNeice
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