Classic Rock Revisited recently conducted an exclusive interview with Sammy Hagar. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Classic Rock Revisited: You were quoted [recently] as saying that you wanted to figure out how to play free concerts.
Sammy Hagar: I do because I think it would be the ultimate. I am not sure how possible it is but in the meantime I am working towards it. Cabo Wabo and my tequila have done well. Instead of saying, 'Hey, I'm now twice as rich as I was before,' I go, 'Now I have twice as money to do what I want to do.' What I do is use a lot of that money to underwrite my production costs on tour. If you have seen my shows with the WABOS, I have a first-class production. Bands on tour with similar productions are charging anywhere from $75 to $125 a ticket. Instead of doing that, I take some of that money and I pay for things like my stage. The stage is all about my Cabo Wabos Cantina, so I pay for my stage being built out of the cantina money because it is a write-off as a promotional expense. That frees up a couple of hundred thousand dollars and I design my stage. To drag all that stuff around is expensive so I underwrite it with the tequila company. The tour is sponsored by Cabo Wabo Tequila. Instead of getting Miller Beer to give me a couple of million dollars, which most people take and put right in their pocket, I take money from the tequila company and I pay the costs for traveling around and doing the shows. The end result is that I can keep my ticket prices down. I am trying to get them down as low as $15 to $25 a show. As far as I am concerned, lawn seats are $15 maximum and I won't charge any more than that. I am finding ways to pay for my expenses and I am passing the savings onto my fans instead of putting it in my pocket.
"There is no question about it, and any anyone who knows me, knows that I am fine. These little businesses have done very well for me. I also happen to be one of those guys who didn't get fucked out of all of his money in the music business. I had good management and I still have good management. I have become pretty savvy in business myself. It is not about how to make money but instead it is about how not to get fucked. My whole motto in life is, "I don't want to ever take anything from anyone that doesn't belong to me but I don't want anyone to take from me what doesn't belong to them." I protect myself instead of going around and trying to screw people. I just make sure that I don't screwed in the process."
Classic Rock Revisited: Is VAN HALEN done?
Sammy Hagar: "I don't know. It is right now. They can do whatever they want. If Ed and Al want to get a new singer and a new bass player then they can do whatever they want. I wouldn't complain and I wouldn't say that they shouldn't have done that. What I would say is that I think it is a big mistake to do that. I would never try to run their lives like they do me. They are free to do whatever they want. The way they want to do business and the way they want to mingle with their co-band members and other people who are involved in their organization, I don't want any part of. I am a very happy guy. I have found a happy life. If their lifestyle could fit in with mine then I would have no problem doing it again. I think it is inevitable.
"Honestly, straight up, Eddie has changed a lot. Alex is okay and Mikey and I are best friends. Eddie, for me, is the problem. If you talked to Eddie then I am sure he would tell you that I am the problem. If he doesn't like my lifestyle then I understand that. He wants to be miserable and I want to be happy — it is really that simple. If Eddie wants to be friends again and not do this just for business or for other kinds of reasons — I really don't know why he wants to do it. I don't even know if he even wants to do it. But if he wants to do it and do it for the right reasons and get together on a really good level then I would do it. I thought it was going to be great. I was all for the last reunion and it turned out to be pretty fucking tough finishing that tour out. I have to tell you that there were times on that tour that after a show it was like, 'Get Sammy out that door and get Eddie out the other door.' That ain't no way to do things. I am not interested in yelling and screaming at anybody much less having someone yell and scream at me for having fun. It is like, 'Hey, get the fuck out of my face, dude.' There were too many rules — let's put it like that for me. I was told that I can't do this or I can't do that or I can't say this or I can't say that. Yet Eddie can go say and do the shit that he did? No way. Right now, it is over for me but if they want to do it on real terms and with no rules and no business shit then I am fine."
Read the entire interview at ClassicRockRevisited.com.