Sammy Hagar Thinks Chickenfoot Are Finished, but He’s Open to the Right Kind of Van Halen Reunion
Hagar, who's out promoting his new 'Lite Roast' album and performing with his new band the Circle, spoke with Rolling Stone about a number of his past and present projects -- including Chickenfoot, his hard rock supergroup with Joe Satriani, Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith and Hagar's fellow former Van Halen member, bassist Michael Anthony. The band hasn't released a full-length album since 2011's 'Chickenfoot III,' and it sounds like it's going to stay that way.
"Joe is my favorite writer to work with since Eddie [Van Halen]," Hagar said. "I'd rather write a record with him than anyone else, but I don't see any reason to make a new record. I mean, I love making music. But doing it on Chickenfoot's level means spending a half million on a record. We write and record for six months. It's a lot of work, and then to not sell many records, it's disappointing. I don't like being disappointed. I like winning."
Of course, Hagar's years with Van Halen had their share of disappointments, arguably chief among them their disastrous attempt at a reunion in 2004. Saying he's "too happy as a human being to be that miserable ever again" and adding that he was "miserable for the last 40 shows" of their infamous reunion tour, he remained unwilling to close the door permanently on working with the band that gave him what he called "the peak of my freakin' musical career, no doubt about it."
Asked if he could envision a scenario in which he'd find himself back in the Van Halen fold, he answered, "I would play with anybody that loves me and that I love. That would include Van Halen, but the love's not there right now ... I would, however, be in the original band that we started. That was a love fest full of creativity." Responding to the suggestion that a lot of VH fans would come out to see the band tour with Hagar and former/current lead singer David Lee Roth trading off on lead vocals and Michael Anthony back on bass, he agreed while sounding a pessimistic note.
"A tour like that would be the coolest thing for the fans ever. I would do it for the fans, I wouldn't do it just for the money," Hagar insisted. "Everybody would have to be cool and have their hearts in it. I hate to give out bad news, but I just doubt it'll ever happen."
Hagar also acknowledged that a lot of bands stay on the road for the money even though the members can't stand each other, and pointed out that once you actually get up onstage, those problems tend to go away for awhile. "There's something funny about a concert. They can work for dysfunctional bands. You can get into a fistfight backstage. You can get into a fistfight the night before. You can be trashed, lying on the ground, feeling like you're dying. But when you drag your ass on the stage and 15,000 people are screaming with their hands in the air, you get revitalized," he mused. "Then you look at the guy next to you, the guy whose neck you want to break, and you think, 'This is good. I can tolerate this.'"
Still, Hagar doesn't seem to believe that's the case with Van Halen in 2014. Suggesting that the group's complete media silence is an effective way of disguising their discord, he hinted, "If they went around telling people what was really going on, I think it might drop some jaws ... I don't think they're working."
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