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Sammy Hagar: ‘I Was Not Ready To Make’ Chickenfoot ‘III’

Sammy Hagar
Mike Coppola, Getty Images

In one moment, Sammy Hagar was promoting ‘Red,’ his memoir filled with juicy and occasionally salacious details about his lengthy career both as a solo artist and as part of a group with Van Halen, Montrose and Chickenfoot. Within the blink of an eye, Hagar’s promotion for the book was done and he was readying the release of a new album with Chickenfoot. If the pacing seems somewhat rapid-fire to you, don’t worry, the same was true for Sammy.

“I was not ready to make a record,” Hagar tells Classic Rock magazine. “I’d worked pretty hard the year before; I’d just done my book tour for ‘Red.’ That tour wore me the f—k out, man, I gotta tell you.”

But with Chickenfoot drummer Chad Smith about to get the call to resume his regular duties with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Hagar and the rest of the group had no choice but to get into the studio while they could, to knock out album No. 2 with Smith on the skins. And in the midst of the process, Chickenfoot manager John Carter got sick and sadly, passed away.

“It was horrible. It came so suddenly. He gets checked up, they find he’s got cancer, he goes straight into an operation and a couple of months later, he dies.” As Hagar relates, Carter was a huge cornerstone of his own success, helping to architect the early moments of his career, even co-writing early Hagar chestnuts like ‘Red.’

“Carter was Chickenfoot’s co-manager, but he was my manager and my balance, and the guy I threw the ball against the wall with. I used him a lot with my lyrics. He would tell me if the lyrics were great or if they weren’t.”

The loss of Carter only strengthened the band’s intentions with the album that eventually became ‘III.’ “We wanted to prove something and do something for him. We all cared a lot.”

Chickenfoot just unleashed the second video from ‘III’ for the track ‘Three And A Half Letters,’ which is built around letters that Hagar received from fans and military vets who are facing tough economic challenges currently. Hagar and the band are seeking additional letters from fans for use on the band’s upcoming tour. Catch the video and more details on that here.

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