‘Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock’ by Sammy Hagar with Joel Selvin – Book Review

I know, I know. I am a little late to this book as it came out way back in 2011. But I’m finally here, I’ve finally drenched myself in to the pages and I am ready to tell you all about it. Thanks for being so patient with me. Sammy Hagar! What is there to say about Sammy. I remember seeing “I Can’t Drive 55” on MTV and really starting to discover who he was. I found out he was the lead singer of the band Montrose from the 70’s and then around 1985, I remember he was named the new lead singer of Van Halen. That was when I really started to find out who he really was. I picked up some Sammy albums and definitely bought the Van Halen albums and I really liked him. Then in the 90’s after leaving Van Halen, he started up his solo stuff again. Eventually he turned in to what I felt was the Jimmy Buffet of Rock & Roll. He had this laid back, surfer dude, all sunshine, relaxation and Tequila. He has always seemed like such a cool dude! And this book proved that to be the case, but I discovered so much more.

The book has Sammy really focusing on his rock & roll life with nuggets of his early childhood, but thankfully he stuck to the music mostly. Well, almost thankfully, as I would’ve loved to hear more about his business side as he only touched on it (except for Cabo Wabo and the Tequila) a little and that seems to be the area where he made most of his money and let me tell you, the man looks like he made more money on the business side of his life then the music side and I find that fascinating. Hell, he sold his Tequila brand for around $100 million…DAMN!!! He had a fire safety sprinkler company before there as really such a thing. He’s had his bar Cabo Wabo which is now bar’s’ with an ‘s’. He seems to invest in the right things at the right time and I have never been that lucky.

But the main reason to read the book for any Sammy fan is the Va Halen stories and they don’t disappoint. I’ve heard that he was really harsh on Eddie Van Halen and he regrets that a little, but I don’t think it was that harsh. I don’t think it is anything we didn’t expect or know. Eddie was an addict and his behavior over the years has shown that. I think Sammy was being honest with how he interpreted the stories and that is what I want in a book. I can read other people’s books to get their side and then draw my own conclusion, but Sammy’s seemed authentic to me. The sunshine and roses of how he got with the band seems to coincide with what Ted Templeman said in his book which is all good. But the downfall is where it got interesting. The little things they did to each other, the backstabbing, the drugs and alcohol and just the shitty way things went down was outright riveting to me. Sammy laid it all out there for you to read. So go do it.

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