Sammy Hagar Says Van Halen Tried to ‘Bury the Van Hagar Era’
Sammy Hagar recently raised the notion that, following his departure from the band, Van Halen attempted to "bury" his work with the group — the material that resulted from his 1985–1996 tenure singing for the former Eddie Van Halen-led act that's referred to as the "Van Hagar" era.
In making the claim, the singer gestured to the band's second reunion with singer David Lee Roth — the one that led to the final three Van Halen tours launched in 2007, 2012 and 2015. He suggested it was around then that they sought to conceal his contributions.
"It seems like since Van Halen did the Roth reunion that they tried to really bury the Van Hagar era," Hagar told UCR in an interview that emerged this week (Sept. 29).
"They wouldn't remaster it; they wouldn't allow it to be in movies," he added. "They wouldn't allow it to be licensed for video games and commercials. They pushed everything from the Roth era because they were doing that reunion" — something Hagar said he "understood."
Still, while the 73-year-old musician known as the "Red Rocker" conveyed his consideration for Van Halen's situation, that doesn't mean he was pleased with it.
After all, he thinks the "Van Hagar" albums are "such great material," he said. "All No. 1 albums. 50 million records. I don't care how proud I am of my own stuff, I can't ignore that. That's the biggest peak of my career, but I don't exploit it too much."
Of course, Hagar can always perform the "Van Hagar" era tunes live with his current band. And that's something he does with some frequency, adding Van Halen fan favorites to his concert sets as he goes.
"Every time we play ["Van Hagar"] stuff, the audience goes crazy," Hagar explained. "We added [the 5150 album cut] 'Good Enough' to the show; we added 'Humans Being' from [the soundtrack to] Twister."
He continued, "We've added some really deep tracks recently and, man, it doesn't matter which song you play — it ain't just the hits. They're not just [the popular 1986 Van Halen single] 'Why Can't This Be Love.' You play 'Humans Being,' and the place goes fuckin' nuts. They know every word. So we're going, Man, this stuff is golden. It's never gonna die, and we're not gonna let it."
Hagar and former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, who performs with Hagar in the singer's Sammy Hagar & The Circle, recently teamed up to celebrate the "Van Hagar" era on social media with their "Other Half" archive. Both musicians will perform during Hagar's fall Las Vegas residency that kicks off next month. Van Halen guitarist and figurehead Eddie Van Halen died at age 65 last year; Van Halen subsequently disbanded.