An Evening with Sammy Hagar
Special Guest Vic Johnson
The Grammy Museum – Los Angeles, CA
Thursday, September 29th, 2022
The Red Rocker, Sammy Hagar stopped by the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles on Thursday night to talk about his new Sammy Hagar and The Circle Album, “Crazy Times“.
The event was curated by KLOS DJ, Matt Pinfield and took place in the beautiful Clive Davis Theater.
The evening started with a Q&A between Matt and Sammy that revolved around the writing and recording of “Crazy Times” and ended with Sammy inviting his The Circle bandmate, Vic Johnson on stage to accompany him with a short set compromised of songs from Sammy’s illustrious career.
During the Q&A Sammy talked about how he was hesitant at first working with producer Dave Cobb, because Dave wanted Sammy to make an album like Montrose and Van Halen. Dave reassured Sammy that even though that influence would be felt, that this would most certainly be a different sounding album.
Sammy discussed the band mentality in The Circle (that is comprised of Sammy, Vic, as well as Michael Anthony (bass) and Jason Bonham (drums)) and how they’re always very open to new ideas, and unlike some other projects he’s been involved with, very focused.
He talked about how Cobb pushed him vocally on the album, getting some very high register vocals that would take sometimes 15 takes. (Even if Sammy had nailed it within the first few). Sammy said that he blew out his voice for a couple of weeks after one of the sessions.
He lamented that he is such a positive person, but this is probably the darkest album that he’s written. He discussed one song in particular from the album, “Father Time” that he wrote when contemplating his own mortality. Sammy is 74 and said “I really believe I’ll live to be 100”. “Father Time” was a message to himself that he has so much more to do in such little time.
“Crazy Times” was written during the pandemic and is a concept album that Sammy said should be played from start to finish. Among the themes on the album are of course mortality as well as how mechanized the world is becoming and how he fears how his children and grandkids will make a living in a world where most things will soon be done with the push of a button.
Sammy also took a few questions form the crowd. When asked about playing with his The Circle bandmates, Sammy talked about how his famous Birthday Bashes at his Cabo Wabo Bar led to him jamming with different musicians and made him more comfortable with the idea of playing with a bunch of already well-known rock stars that led to the creation of Chickenfoot and The Circle.
Sammy also touched on always ending up being the singer in bands that he joined (Montrose, Van Halen, Chickenfoot, The Circle) when in reality, he just wanted to be a guitarist in a band. He considers himself more of an entertainer. He also talked about how the great song, “Rock Candy” was a last minute add to the first Montrose album because they needed 8 songs and only had 7 ready to go. He said that drummer, Denny Carmassi started out with that intro drum beat and Sammy just started riffing to it and spat out “you’re rock candy baby. Hard, sweet and sticky…” and the song was born.
After the Q&A concluded, Sammy invited Vic Johnson to the stage and they played a short set that included:
Father Time – The Circle
Rock Candy – Montrose
Finish What Ya Started – Van Halen
Personal Jesus – Depeche Mode & Sammy Cover
I Can’t Drive 55 (Partial) – Sammy Solo
Dreams – Van Halen
Little White Lie – Sammy Solo