The Red Rocker has enjoyed a charismatic life on the top for more than 30 years. From his days with Montrose to a hugely successful solo career to nearly two decades of Van Halen. Among it all, Sammy Hagar has also found the time to establish Cabo Wabo the #2 premium tequila in the world and a group of successful nightclubs of the same name.
With the help of Yamaha's custom shop in Hollywood, CA, Sammy created his signature guitar based on the award-winning AES620 mixed in with a bit of the Red Rocker's own touches. The AES620 SH features a mahogany body with a figured maple veneer top powered by two humbucking pickups including a Seymour Duncan JB in the bridge. The set-in mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard are enhanced with the world-famous Cabo Wabo logo inlaid at the 12th fret. The custom red color is based on the Red Rocker's favorite translucent red finish.
After spending several years as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for the mid-'70s hard rock band Montrose, Sammy Hagar began a solo career that produced several hits and made him an album rock favorite. Hagar became a true star once he joined Van Halen in 1985, but he was a popular hard rocker ever since his first album with Montrose.
After giving up a boxing career, Hagar began singing in the late '60s, performing with various California bands including Skinny, the Fabulous Catillas, Justice Brothers, and Dust Cloud. During this time, he built up a solid reputation in the Californian hard rock scene. Former Edgar Winter guitarist Ronnie Montrose asked Hagar to join his band, Montrose, in 1973. Hagar recorded two albums with Montrose before going solo in 1976, taking the group's bassist, Bill Church. Montrose's drummer Denny Carmassi later joined Hagar's band, along with keyboardist Geoff Workman.
Hagar's self-titled Sammy Hagar was his first chart entry; it eventually went gold. In 1979, he created a new supporting band featuring Workman, Church, guitarist Gary Pihl, and drummer Chuck Ruff. This lineup played on Hagar's most popular solo album, 1981's platinum Standing Hampton, plus 1982's gold Three Lock Box with only one member missing drummer Ruff was replaced by David Lauser. After Three Lock Box and its #13 hit single "Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy," Hagar played several shows with guitarist Neal Schon, bassist Kenny Aaronson, and drummer Mike Shrieve; the group recorded a live album under the name HSAS, as well as a studio version of Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale." His 1984 album VOA contained the hit single "I Can't Drive 55," which peaked at #26.
In 1985, Hagar replaced David Lee Roth in Van Halen; his first album with the group was 1986's 5150. Hagar released his last solo album, Sammy Hagar, in 1987; the title of the record was changed to I Never Said Goodbye in an MTV contest, but no copies of the record were ever issued with that name. Hagar stayed with Van Halen through the remainder of the '80s and half of the '90s. During that time, the band had four other multi-platinum albums OU812 (1988), For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge (1991), LIVE: Right Here, Right Now (1993), Balance (1995) before tensions began to surface between Hagar and the rest of the band. In the summer of 1996, Hagar either quit Van Halen or was fired; the band had Roth return to sing two tracks on Best Of, Vol. 1 before hiring former Extreme vocalist Gary Cherone as Hagar's replacement. The entire incident became a media sensation, ensuring that Hagar's 1997 solo album Marching to Mars his first in 10 years would be greeted with much media-generated fanfare. It sold surprisingly well, peaking in the Top 20 and re-establishing Hagar as a viable solo act.
With a backing band called the Waboritas in tow (consisting of guitarist Vic Johnson, keyboardist Jesse Harms, bassist Mona, and drummer David Lauser), Hagar followed the success with Red Voodoo two years later; it too sold very respectably on the strength of the single "Mas Tequila," just missing the Top 20. Hagar's resurgence continued with 2000's Ten 13. Not 4 Sale arrived in 2003, followed by his first live album in 20 years, Live Hallelujah. 2006 saw the release of Livin' it Up.
Hagar has also toured frequently in recent years with Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony as well as Lauser and Johnson to form "The Other Half," a side project expected to perform Van Halen songs during Hagar's headlining solo tour.