GRAMMY-winning rock veteran Sammy Hagar recently visited The Recording Academy's headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., to participate in an exclusive GRAMMY.com interview. Hagar discussed his new album, Sammy Hagar & Friends, the evolution of his songwriting process throughout his 40-year career and the possibility of rekindling his friendship with Eddie Van Halen, among other topics.
"It's like a super group on every song," said Hagar regarding Sammy Hagar & Friends. "When I put it on, I went, 'Wow, this is really cool.' I don't think I'll ever make another solo record another way. … I got a list ready for the next one."
Known as the Red Rocker, Hagar kicked off his career in 1973 as the vocalist for the seminal hard rock band Montrose, with whom he released two studio albums, Montrose (1973) and Paper Money (1974). As a solo artist, he scored Billboard Hot 100 hits throughout the '70s and '80s, including "I Can't Drive 55," "I'll Fall In Love Again," "Give To Live," and "Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy."
Hagar joined Van Halen in 1985, replacing original frontman David Lee Roth. Hagar's tenure in Van Halen included four consecutive No. 1 studio albums: 5150 (1986), OU812 (1988), For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991), and Balance (1995). With Hagar, the group scored hits such as "Why Can't This Be Love," "Finish What Ya Started," "When It's Love," and "Right Now." For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge earned the group their first career GRAMMY for Best Hard Rock Performance With Vocal in 1991. Hagar was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Van Halen in 2007.
More recently, Hagar formed Chickenfoot with bassist Michael Anthony (ex-Van Halen), guitarist Joe Satriani and drummer Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers). The group's 2009 self-titled debut album was certified gold and peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200. Their 2011 follow-up, Chickenfoot III, debuted at No. 9 on the Billboard 200. The latter album earned a GRAMMY nomination for Best Recording Package at the 54th GRAMMY Awards. Also in 2011, Hagar's autobiography, Red: My Uncensored Life In Rock, landed at No. 1 on The New York Times best-seller list.
Released Sept. 24, Sammy Hagar & Friends features collaborations with artists such as Anthony, Mickey Hart, Toby Keith, Taj Mahal, Journey's Neal Schon, Smith, and Heart's Nancy Wilson. The 11-track album features the lead single, "Knockdown Dragout," featuring drummer Denny Carmassi, Kid Rock and Satriani, as well as covers of Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus, " Bob Seger's "Ramblin' Gamblin Man" and Jimmy Buffett's "Margaritaville."