The Only Condition Sammy Hagar Had To Reunite With Van Halen
Sammy Hagar started to gain recognition in the mid-1970s as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the hard rock band Montrose. He contributed to the band’s first two studio albums but later on, he was fired during a European tour due to the conflicts he had with Ronnie Montrose. Encouraged by his successful debut with Montrose, Hagar decided to step into his solo journey.
He achieved to prove himself also as a solo artist and produced some of his greatest hits like ‘I Can’t Drive 55,’ ‘Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy,’ and ‘There’s Only One Way to Rock.’ His last solo studio album before joining Van Halen, ‘VOA,’ was released in 1984. Hagar didn’t stop his solo endeavors during his tenure in Van Halen and released his ninth album, named ‘I Never Said Goodbye,’ in 1987 while he was still a member of the band.
Sammy Hagar Joined Van Halen In 1985
Sammy Hagar and Eddie Van Halen knew each other long before Hagar joined the band. It is publicly known from Hagar’s previous statements that Eddie was a huge fan of his former band, Montrose, as he told him while playing together at a festival. He was heavily influenced by the band’s solos and the chordings. Thus, it is not surprising that Van Halen thought Hagar could replace David Lee Roth.
David Lee Roth unexpectedly decided to leave Van Halen in 1985 to pursue a solo career, and it was a shocking decision for the rock world. Then, the remaining members of Van Halen began to look for a new lead singer. After contacting many potential people, the band auditioned for Sammy Hagar, and he got the job right away. As the band’s lead vocalist, Hagar contributed to four Van Halen albums during his approximately ten years’ tenure.
The albums included many chart hits, which proved that Sammy Hagar was the right choice for the band. However, his tensions with the rest of the band eventually led to his departure from Van Halen. Hagar wanted to take time off after their ‘Balance’ tour, while the other band members wanted to get back into the studio to record new material. Another problem was Hagar’s insistence on recording new music for his solo album, whereas the rest wanted to record new music for their new release. The two sides couldn’t resolve the disagreements, and Sammy Hagar left the band in June 1996.
What Did Sammy Hagar Say About A Possible Van Halen Reunion?
After seven years of break, Sammy Hagar had a brief reunion with Van Halen between 2003 and 2005. Hagar toured with the band in 2004 and took part in the band’s second greatest hits album, ‘The Best of Both Worlds,’ released on July 20, 2004. The compilation includes 14 tracks from the four Sammy Hagar era albums of the band. Sammy Hagar also made three new songs for the album.
The Red Rocker’s reunion with the band didn’t last long as he started to have many problems with Eddie Van Halen during the tour. Eddie had been struggling with alcohol addiction, which increased the tensions between the two. The tour ended the possibility of recording a new album together, and Hagar left the band again in 2005.
Back in 2017, Sammy Hagar gave an interview to Billboard during which he was asked about the possibility of a reunion with Van Halen. Sometime before the interview, Hagar had celebrated Eddie Van Halen’s birthday with a Twitter post, and later on, Eddie thanked him, which was a big surprise for the fans considering their past conflicts.
Sammy Hagar referred to his birthday celebration during the interview and revealed that he didn’t get any birthday message from Eddie Van Halen, so he thinks that the rest of the band still has some problems with him. Hagar said that he had been pretty busy with his works with Chickenfoot since 2008, and thus, reuniting with Van Halen under these conditions would be very tiring for him.
Hagar explained that he was also worried about his issues with the rest of the band, so he was indecisive about a possible reunion. However, he added that there was one condition under which he would consider reuniting with Van Halen. Sammy Hagar revealed that if the original lineup, including Eddie Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Alex Van Halen, and Michael Anthony, came together, he would be interested in a Van Halen reunion. He would prefer to record with two singers rather than just him.
Sammy Hagar speaking on his only condition to reunite with Van Halen:
“Let’s put it like this — when it came to my birthday, I didn’t get a message so obviously that camp, him and Al, still have some kind of trip against me. I’m certainly not looking to get back in that band when I’ve got Chickenfoot sitting in my lap, and I’m scared to grab the reigns of that one. Van Halen would be twice the nightmare of the workload and the anxieties about getting along or being worried about being stabbed in the back again or something. I don’t want to put myself in that situation, that’s for sure.”
Then, Hagar threw the idea of reuniting with the original Van Halen lineup and said:
“That’s really the only way I would be interested in a Van Halen reunion. Everybody’s saying, ‘Well, what would it take?’ For me, no money, man. I don’t need money. I would do that for the fans and give the money to food banks or something. I’m not sure anybody else would agree with me, but that would interest me enough to sit down across the table from everybody and work that one out.”
The interview was before Eddie Van Halen’s heartbreaking death and the band’s dissolution. Hence, there is no possibility of a reunion anymore, but it looks like Sammy Hagar was willing to come together with the rest of the band despite their long-term problems.