Sammy Hagar Scoffs At David Lee Roth’s “Embarassing” Vocal Performance
The former Van Halen singers are feuding again — or at least Sammy Hagar is trying to start one. As Blabbermouth points out, the Red Rocker went on Steve-O’s Wild Ride! podcast to talk shit about David Lee Roth, who fronted Van Halen as the band rose to superstardom before Hagar took over in 1985.
Roth and Hagar toured together back in 2002; the above photo is from that year’s VMAs, where they made an appearance to promote the tour. Reflecting on that era, Hagar told Steve-O, “At that time [Roth] didn’t have a solo career, really. I mean, he did, but he wasn’t selling out. I was selling out arenas. I was selling out amphitheaters as Sammy Hagar with the WABOS. And I had a solo career.”
Ask Mick Jagger. Ask Robert Plant. You can be the biggest band in the world and you can’t necessarily have a solo career. But I had a solo career. So when I joined the big band, I went back to my solo career, I’m good. I still sell a lot of tickets. Dave, he had that sort of a big album, one kind of a big album, but he didn’t have a solo career. He was playing small places. So when he came in with me, he was making, like, 25 grand a night, I was making 150 grand a night, and they said, “Oh, you guys are gonna make the same money. Dave gets to make 150.” I said, “He ain’t fucking made 150 in his life except in VAN HALEN.” But I said, “I’ve gotta do this.” So I bent over backwards. And he still always tried to fuck with the rules. He’s not a fun guy. He doesn’t play well with others. I’m not sure what his problem is… He just always is about, “How can I make this guy look bad?” And not just me — in life. He’s a chest-beating motherfucker. And God bless him, ’cause the early stuff is frickin’ great. I personally, I’ve tried to say… [I thought] he’d be a fun guy to know. But he ain’t like that. He ain’t like his persona. When you get around him, he ain’t that guy. He’s some other cat.
Hagar also had this to say about Roth’s “embarrassing” recent vocal performances:
He’s a showman. Hey, listen, I’m a showman too. But that’s his gig. He doesn’t care about singing. If he did, he’d take care of his voice or he’d take voice lessons and get warmed up and do something. ‘Cause the guy sang so bad last time he was doing shows, it was embarrassing… But he’s a showman. Everything’s show, show, show, show, show, show, show. And he doesn’t care about his voice, which drives me nuts, man. I care more about my voice than I do my dick. If my dick didn’t work a couple of times, I’d be okay with it — I’d be bummed out — but if my voice fucks up onstage, I’m fucking bummed, man.
Noted, Sammy! Hagar also discussed his ongoing conflict with Alex Van Halen (who won’t license Van Halen songs for Hagar’s TV appearances) and his desire to get his version of Van Halen back together with a new guitarist now that we’re a few years removed from Eddie Van Halen’s death:
He won’t license the songs. Because we cowrote everything and we owned our publishing as a team. Even though Eddie and I wrote everything, Mike [Anthony] and Alex were one quarter. And our publishing company, Yessup Recording, was owned by all of us equally. So Ed and Al, when I left the band, they — I mean, I could sing anything I want in the street, at a concert, but if a TV show said, “We’re gonna film ya,” “Oh, you wanna be on the Grammys this year? We want you to sing ‘Right Now.'” Or “Why Can’t This Be Love.” They’d boo-hoo it. They said, “No, we’re not going to license.” But I said, “That’s it. Fuck this shit. It’s been 100 years, Alex.” And I tried to call him. Wouldn’t pick up the phone.
And I’m going to tell this story now. This is the first time this has been heard. There is a documentary on the origins of rock, and it’s done by the MTV people, and it’s gonna be like one of those Netflix deals, right? And I’m on the first series of it. It’s about my rock ‘n’ roll career. It’s coming out probably June or July, maybe? I don’t know when it’s done, but I know my episode’s done. And Alex wouldn’t OK any of the Van Halen stuff. He said, “I don’t like the way Sammy’s talking about us.” And he wanted it taken out, the likeness. And wouldn’t let the song “Right Now” or “Why Can’t This Be Love,” our two biggest hits, he wouldn’t let ’em license it. This is my biography, this is my life story, and they backed off. But it’s just so fucking childish. I mean, get out of here! I wrote the song! It’s like, if I was just the singer, and they wrote the song and hired me as a hired gun — I wrote the fucking songs with Eddie. So it was really chickenshit.
But I wish Alex was user-friendly. Do you realize what a great thing we could do with Michael Anthony — still sings and plays his ass off. He’s in my band! I can still sing and play my ass off. Alex can still play his ass off, you know? And we just need a guitar player. And we can go out and play the biggest, best setlist. We’d play 50/50. I’ve already said it. I’ve presented it to him. We’ll play 50/50. We’ll go to Vegas and do a residency. We’ll do one big stadium show and give all the money away. All of it! I’ll take not one penny on the whole tour. Let’s do this!
I’d give mine away. I’ll just give mine to charity. Every fucking town we go to I’ll give it to the children’s hospital. Every fucking town. Let’s do this thing. Let’s do 20 shows. Do 10 shows. Do 100 shows. I don’t care. But we gotta do it for the fans. It’s like, those fans have just been fucking pissed on.
You can watch the full interview below.