Former Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar tells Michael Christopher of The Boston Phoenix that he has yet to hear the band’s entire new album, “A Different Kind Of Truth”, which came out last month. “I don’t listen to much new music unless I hear a new song on the radio, and the last bands that did that to me were the Black Keys and Kings of Leon,” Hagar says. “When I heard ‘Tattoo’, that single — and I saw the video because everybody kept sending it to me like, ‘My god, have you seen this?’ . . . ‘Oh my god, you must be laughing your ass off!’ — it wasn’t a song that made me run out and buy their record. And so I haven’t heard it. I haven’t downloaded it, I haven’t done anything. I heard another one that was kinda goofy too, and then I heard, on the radio, ‘She’s The Woman’, and I thought that was kinda cool. That one sounds like what I would expect from Van Halen, a little closer to it. The other stuff didn’t sound like what I was expecting, that’s for sure.”
Hagar, who took over the singing chores in Van Halen after David Lee Roth left the band, is widely considered the better singer of the two. However, Hagar never managed to dazzle the crowd quite like Roth did. After an 11-year-run with the band, Hagar was fired or he quit (depending on whom you ask).
“The difference between Dave and I in that band, besides all the other million things, is that he can’t sing any of the ‘Van Hagar’-era songs, “Sammy tells The Boston Phoenix. “Maybe he could do ‘Finish What Ya Started’, possibly — so that makes it kind of weird for [Alex and Eddie] I think to take 11 years out of that thing.”
Hagar also admitted that he was initially upset at the promoters when he learned that his current band, Chickenfoot — which also features in its ranks former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony — was booked to play in Los Angeles at roughly the same time as his former group.
“First I said, ‘What the fuck are you doing putting us the same time as Van Halen ?’ ” Hagar tells The Boston Phoenix. “It’s just gonna cause a needless competition between the fans, and I don’t like that. I want the fans to feel like they can love Van Halen and that they can love Chickenfoot totally the same. I don’t have any way of competing with those guys; you can’t compete with Van Halen. I’m part of that legacy, how could I go out and compete with something I’m part of? I don’t look at us like that, but I know some people do. You want to go see Van Halen one night and see us the next and compare us, you want to do that? Roll up your sleeves and come on. I welcome it, because I think this band is smokin’.
For more of Sammy Hagar’s thoughts on Van Halen, as well as extensive commentary by another ex-Van Halen singer, current Extreme frontman Gary Cherone, visit The Boston Phoenix