Joel Selvin of the San Francisco Chronicle recently conducted an interview with Sammy Hagar. A few excerpts from the chat follow:
On VAN HALEN's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:
"Would you have ever guessed? I wouldn't have either. I think I carved out a real stupid career in the sense that I was never loved by the press. I've received some awards with VAN HALEN. We got a Grammy, an American Music Award, MTV Awards and all that stuff. But Sammy Hagar is not the Bruce Springsteen kind of guy.
"I don't know how I screwed up. I haven't screwed up actually. I always had the reputation as a goofball, no respect as an artist, things like that. I never earned that. I told my band when I left VAN HALEN: 'I'm going to warn you guys about one thing — the venture we are going into now, this party we are throwing, we are never going to get respect from anyone. But the fans are going to love us. The fans are going to flock to us. We're going to be as big as anyone, but no one is going to respect us for doing it.' And, sure enough, I was right."
"If I was ever a genius at anything. I found everything I like to do and where I want to live and I rolled it all together. I got a business. I can play music at my business. I love tequila and that whole lifestyle, the Mexican food. I've got a Mexican restaurant. I have the tequila that goes with it. I have the whole lifestyle rolled into one. I love that Cabo Wabo lifestyle, which is beach all day, party all night."
On his Cabo Wabo tequila:
"No one can do what I do because to everyone else, it's a business. For me, it's become a business, but originally rock 'n' roll was my business. And so when I made tequila, I could do everything the right way. I could waste product. I could throw a lot away. You drain off the barrel. The bottom of the barrel is worse. You want the middle cut. We've always done it that way.
"For me, it was like a hobby. I had rock 'n' roll money. So I did it as a luxury and that's half the reason why Cabo Wabo is so good and pure because, like I said, I never had to make any money with it. I just got lucky. I didn't have to. I just wanted to make the best tequila in the world — big ego trip. It's like the Rothchilds of wine. Like the Rothchilds need money. They try to make the best frigging wine in the planet. They raised the bar is what they did."
On former VAN HALEN bassist Michael Anthony:
"He's my good buddy. It's not him and us against the others. He got thrown out of the band, too. I don't think Ed and Al are going [to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction]. The word I got from our management is that now they said they're not going. Roth'll be there. S -- , he's there right now. He's already got a room. I'm fine with him. I'm fine with Ed and Al. I don't talk to Eddie. I'm not mad at Eddie. I still love the guy. He's just hard to get along with.
"When we were all going, when they were gonna do their tour with Roth that just blew out — I could have told you that; I bet money that would never happen. I would love to see it. They owe it to the fans. They should do it. I believe it's the right thing for VAN HALEN to do is to do a David Lee Roth reunion. Look how long it's been. It's never worked. This is the fourth abortion. There's a lot of fans out there and they've been waiting a long time for this. And it's gotta happen someday. We did it — they should do it. Before it blew out, everybody was going. But the word now was, from Ed and Al, 'we're not playing.' "
On the other 2007 inductees:
"I'm really happy about PATTI SMITH. That's one thing I like about the Hall of Fame. I never expected to be inducted. I really didn't. I knew VAN HALEN would eventually somehow, someway, but it was still hard for me to imagine Sammy Hagar being part of it. But it is. I'm so honored. But someone like PATTI SMITH, who really had such a short, intense career. She did it so cool. She really deserves it for being such a rebel and being a girl at that time. She was cool. I think it's cool that they honor those kinds of people. Some awards shows don't. They go with the most commercial. Half the people don't know who PATTI SMITH is, but I think it's awesome. She was a true artist, a Neil Young kind of artist, where, s -- , man, you do it my way or forget it. I like that. I'm almost that kind of artist. For some reason, my art doesn't project that. But I'm that kind of person. I never cop out. I never sell out. I never endorse things. It's so funny. What did I do wrong? Or right?
"R.E.M. — another artsy band. I like R.E.M., they're not my kind of band, but they made some great records. GRANDMASTER FLASH. I don't own a GRANDMASTER FLASH record, but he was really the innovator. I like who they're recognizing this year. The RONETTES. How long have they been waiting? For Sammy Hagar to be a part of that crazy, eclectic group, I like that part of it. If it was BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, U2 and Sammy Hagar, I'd be this thin, little guy — oh, man, I'm going to get no respect at this thing. But with this eclectic group, I kinda fit in, quirky-wise."
Read the entire interview at the San Francisco Chronicle.