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Sammy Hagar Ponders: What If ‘Van Hagar’ Never Broke Up?

Ebet Roberts, Getty Images
Ebet Roberts, Getty Images

In a new interview commemorating the 30th anniversary of Van Halen‘s 5150 album, former vocalist Sammy Hagar says his first departure from the band, back in 1996, was a big mistake on their part.

“Breaking up then was the worst timing they could have possibly done,” he told Rolling Stone. “Grunge was kicking everyone’s ass but ours. … I think if we had stuck all that out and kept making good records, we could still probably be a real thing, probably what Led Zeppelin would be if they were still around.”

With the band’s founding and most recent frontman David Lee Roth singing possible farewell songs to the group, current bassist Wolfgang Van Halen working on a solo album and Hagar trading friendly messages with Eddie Van Halen on Twitter, there’s been speculation that Hagar may return for a third stint with the group. Just to take this line of completely unconfirmed fantasy booking a step further, presumably this could also mean the return of original bassist Michael Anthony, who now performs alongside Hagar in both the Circle and Chickenfoot.

Hagar’s quick to downplay such thoughts – “I think we lost that opportunity” – but also admits the “Van Hagar” lineup had something special. “There are certain bands that have that thing, and Van Halen was certainly one of them,” he said. “I would like to have seen what Ed and I could have done as songwriters.”

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