Sammy Hagar in Toronto Mar 11/11 as part of Canadian Music Week. He spoke about his new book, Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock (out March 12) and his album out this summer. (Mark O'Neill/QMI Agency)
Sammy Hagar says he had no choice but to write his warts-and-all memoirs, Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock, which hits bookstores in Canada on Saturday (March 12) before Tuesday's official release.
"I started forgetting a lot of early stuff -- I'm going, 'I have to do this now. I don't have a diary. I never kept notes,' " said a tanned Hagar, 63, dressed in a T-shirt, shorts, and plastic shoes in an interview with QMI Agency Friday during Canadian Music Week in Toronto.
"I've been writing this book my whole life though in my head. I'd store things. When something would happen I'd go, 'This is going in the book!' I would always say that. Forty years ago I said that. So I thought, I had to do it and if you're going to do it, then you have to be honest."
Rock fans will eat up all the behind-the-scenes dirt on Hagar's 40-year rise up rock ranks with Montrose, as a solo artist, the tumultuous years as frontman of Van Halen and his ill-fated reunion tour with the band, an equally disastrous trek with David Lee Roth, and now as the frontman of Chickenfoot with Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony.
There is a particularly brutal passage about guitarist Eddie Van Halen, who Hagar hasn't spoken to since 2004, as they prepared to mount their reunion tour and he goes to his house for a meeting.
He describes an unfocused, angry and drinking Eddie as unwashed, shirtless, in tattered clothes and shoes, with teeth either missing or black, and a house full of bottles, cans, cigarettes, spiderwebs, with blankets over the windows and a mattress on the floor a la Grey Gardens: "He was crude, rude and unkempt."
Said Hagar Friday: "It wasn't that he was broke. He just didn't care."
In fact, Hagar said when he first saw the recent TV footage of Charlie Seen, he was reminded of Eddie.
"Charlie Sheen and Eddie, it's the same guy," said Hagar. "First time, I saw Charlie, I don't watch TV much, my wife screams, 'Oh, my God! Sammy quick come here. Look at Charlie! He looks just like Eddie!' The first time we saw Charlie on TV doing his thing, we hadn't been watching. I went, 'Oh, my God, it could be his twin brother!' The same attitude and crazy, well I can't call people crazy, but acting weird. I don't know what he's going through but that's what Eddie went through and it was overnight. Like I hadn't seen Eddie for a long time but man when I saw him, I was like, 'Whoa ... Wow, what happened?'