By Sammy Hagar, with Joel Selvin
(It Books/Harper Collins)
Paperback, 252 pgs., $16.99
The recent passing of Ronnie Montrose and current Van Halen tour makes the new paperback edition of 'Red' even more timely now. Hagar discusses his stints in both Montrose and VH with plenty of details.
A new afterward by The Red Rocker goes into how the success of the original hardback edition and death of longtime manager/right hand man Carter affected him, as well as how Chickenfoot factored into that period.
'Red' is a definitely an interesting read for longtime fans of Hagar and Van Halen. But it's especially fascinating for current and former residents of the Inland Empire region of Southern California (essentially Riverside-San Bernardino counties), since the musician goes into detail about growing up in Fontana, and his first forays playing live around the area.
I'd interviewed him in the past and done plenty of research, but there were a lot of things I didn't know (for example: how awful it was growing up with an alcoholic father; his beliefs in numerology and UFOs; his first wife's breakdown).
Hagar's trademark sense of humor runs throughout the biography, penned with San Francisco Chronicle music journalist Joel Selvin. The reader gets the lowdown on what it was really like in Van Halen, what Hagar had to put up with and the development of the Cabo Wabo cantinas. Best of all: 'Red' is not a huge tome that takes forever to get through. Highly recommended.
Below is the official spiel from inside the book jacket (which has a foreword by ex-VH bassist Michael Anthony and salutations from Ted Nugent, Kenny Chesney, Toby Keith, Whoopi Goldberg, chef Emeril Lagasse and NASCAR champ Jimmie Johnson.
Loud rock, fast cars, and Cabo.
This is the life of Sammy Hagar.
For almost forty years, Sammy Hagar has been a fixture in rock music. From breaking into the industry with the band Montrose to his multiplatinum solo career to his ride as the front man of Van Halen, Sammy's powerful and unforgettable voice has set the tone for some of the greatest rock anthems ever written—songs like "I Can't Drive 55," "Right Now," and "Why Can't This Be Love."
In Red, Sammy tells the outrageous story of his tear through rock 'n' roll, detailing the backstage antics and nonstop touring that have made his voice instantly recognizable. Beginning with his musical coming-of-age in the blue-collar towns of California, Sammy traces his rough and determined rise to fame, working harder than anyone else out there and writing songs about the things he loved—fast cars, loud parties, and lots of good times.
But solo success was just the start, a prelude to his raucous and notorious decade as the front man for Van Halen, one of the biggest-selling rock groups in history. Filled with behind-the-scenes stories from his time with the band, Red offers the Van Halen story as Sammy saw it, holding nothing back about the worldwide stadium tours, the tensions with Eddie, the messy parties, the divided friendships, and, of course, his controversial and widely disputed exit from the band.
After Van Halen, Sammy changed directions again, throwing himself headfirst into the tequila business and creating Cabo Wabo, one of the most successful tequila brands in the world. And all the while he continued to rock, touring the country with his bands the Waboritas and Chickenfoot, and eventually reuniting with Van Halen for a tour that became both a box-office smash and a personal catastrophe.
From the decadence of being one of the world's biggest rock stars to the unfiltered story of being forced out of Van Halen, Sammy's account spares no one, least of all himself. His is a tale of a true rock 'n' roller—someone who's spent decades bringing the party with him wherever he goes but always headin' back to Cabo for mas tequila.
Available at all major booksellers.
For more information, go to redrocker.com, harpercollins.com.