Sammy Hagar Admits He Is A Better Frontman When He Doesn’t Play Guitar
During a recent interview with Paulo Baron and Regis Tadeu, Sammy Hagar recalled the time when he was the vocalist of Montrose and unveiled how he decided to work with other guitarists to be a better frontman in his performances instead of both playing and singing at the same time.
Sammy Hagar started his professional musical career as a vocalist of Montrose. He gained great popularity and proved his talent which drew the attention of Eddie Van Halen while he was looking for a new frontman for Van Halen. Later in his career, Hagar distinguished himself with his unique voice even though he both sang and played guitar in the first years of his career. Apparently, during his time in Montrose, Ronnie Montrose wanted Hagar to only sing even though he was also a talented guitarist.
Hagar went back to play guitar and formed his solo band with Gary Pihl after he had left Montrose. He realized that being both the guitarist and the lead vocalist of the band made him lose his focus on his singing performance at that time. Thus, he decided to collaborate with talented guitarists such as Joe Satriani, Vic Johnson, and Neal Schon to be a better frontman.
In the recent interview, Hagar explained the reason behind his decision when the host asked him why he preferred to work with other guitarists even though he was also a very talented guitar player. According to Sammy, if he focused on playing the guitar in the hard parts, he wouldn’t continue to be a successful lead vocalist. Therefore, he chose to work with other guitarists. He also added that his passion for playing guitar will never end.
The host asked about his choice saying:
“You have always worked with the biggest guitarists. You have Satriani, Eddie, and you are also a great guitar player. So, how do you think that why you always choose to have a really good guitar player? Do you see this is the success in a band?”
“I think I am a better singer than a guitar player. So, if I try to sing and play guitar all the time, they will suffer. I don’t sing very well when I’m trying to play a hard part. I prefer to have a guitar player with me but he has to be better than me. Otherwise, I have the guy but then I have to play the stuff. I need a guy that can play the stuff that I can’t play and sing. They were Neil Schon, Vic Johnson, Joe Satriani, and Ronnie Montrose. Because I was a guitar player and singer.
When Ronnie discovered me, he said ‘you don’t have to play the guitar’ but I wanted to play the guitar. I’ll just sing with Ronnie Montrose, he’s famous and I learned how much better I sang than when I was playing all the guitar parts. I kind of liked it and when I left Montrose, I wanted to play guitar again because Ronnie didn’t want me to even touch a guitar.
He didn’t even want me to look at it and didn’t want people to think even I played guitar. Because he was really strict about being the guitar player, the bass player, the drummer, and the singer. That’s it. Like The Who and Led Zeppelin…”
“So I said I went along with it but I was really horny to play a target but then when I started my own band with Gary Pihl who made all the records back then. I was like the lead guitarist and I shared the duties with Gary but after a while, we started performing in big places such as stadiums and arenas. I realized that I’m better off without the guitar. So, I invented using a headset microphone and I was the first guy who used that, and then Peter Gabriel and the rapper started doing it.
I used it because I didn’t want to be stopped. I wanted to perform for all of those people. How can I get to those people? I got to be running all over the place so I did that. However, the headset microphone sounds like shit. So when I play guitar, I’ll use a real microphone with a chord, not even a wireless one. Then, I’ll not play guitar in a lot of songs.
I started doing that again. I realized that I’m a really better frontman when I don’t play guitar all the time but when I pick it up, I like to shred and I practice. I got it this Les Paul sitting here and I got guitars all over the house. I play all the time and every day.”
You can check out the interview below.