Song List for “Dance of the Electric Hummingbird”

Here are the songs mentioned in DANCE OF THE ELECTRIC HUMMINGBIRD and the links to purchase them:

“Dreams” – Van Halen

“Pages” – 3 Doors Down

“Nothing Else Matters”  – Metallica

“Crush” – Dave Matthews Band

“Love Walks In” – Van Halen

“Can’t Stop Lovin’ You” – Van Halen

“Rock Candy” – Montrose

“Looking For Your Face” – Jared Harris from “A Gift Of Love: Deepak & Friends Present Music Inspired By The Love Poems Of Rumi”

“Imagine” – John Lennon

“Eagles Fly” – Sammy Hagar

“Poundcake” – Van Halen

“Top of the World” – Van Halen

“Live: Right Here, Right Now” – Van Halen

“Open” – Sammy Hagar**

 

 

**This song was released only on iTunes as a single. It is no longer available, however, there may still be some videos of it on Youtube.

 

“The Foot” Comes Down in Denver

Concert Review—Chickenfoot at the Fillmore in Denver, Colorado

September 11, 2009

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I am a writer. And when one is striving to maintain professionalism, it is one’s duty to present an unbiased account of the subject matter, is it not?

I tried. I really tried, but I just couldn’t do it. I was swept “Down the Drain” and it was so, so fine…

I first saw Chickenfoot perform at the Fillmore in San Francisco on May 17, 2009. It was their third live performance as a band; their debut CD had not yet been released. That show blew me away.

The Denver show topped it.

Chickenfoot was tighter than ever. And they delivered the kind of rock music that’s timeless and unforgettable.

The thing that continually amazes me about this band is that none of them upstages the others. They are all top-notch musicians in their own rites but they complement one another beautifully and it seems so effortless.

That evening, I had a backstage tour ticket. Our group was escorted into the venue to watch Davy Knowles and Back Door Slam, the band who would be opening for Chickenfoot, do their soundcheck. Davy is only 22 years old, but he has the soul of an old blues man. His music is in the same vein as that of Jonny Lang. Rock and the blues will never die as long as there are talented people like Davy keeping the soul alive.

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We were then escorted into Chickenfoot’s dressing area, a room a little larger than a closet, where all the trunks of clothes stood open and waiting for the band. I think Sammy’s trunk had more shoes than shirts! Michael Anthony’s still had the “VH” logo on it from his Van Halen days.

We were then taken to the hospitality room where the band hangs out before the show. There was a small drum set for Chad Smith, guitars, amps and equipment for Joe Satriani and Mikey, including Mikey’s signature Jack Daniel’s bass with two small shooters of JD stuck in it, a portable wine trunk stocked with about two cases of wine for Sammy, and platters of fruit, sweets and snacks. And of course, Sammy’s bottle of Cabo Wabo tequila was chilling in the refrigerator.

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They then took us onstage and showed us all the guitars in sectioned crates, the sound board, the snakes of cords, floor lights all in position, amps and Chad’s drums. What a strange feeling being up there and looking down at the empty room which would soon come to life with music and screaming fans. The Fillmore has huge glass chandeliers hanging from the ceiling over what used to be its massive dance floor.

I couldn’t help but think about the many people it takes to put on a show of this caliber and how hard their lives must be.

After the tour, those of us who wanted to participate were given a digital recorder to record the song “Sexy Little Thing.” Apparently the band wanted audience footage to use for an upcoming video for their website. What a great way to get the fans involved! I took one but couldn’t figure out how to use it until about half-way through the song. But it was fun anyway.

We were then allowed into the venue to wait for the show.

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Joe’s guitars onstage

When Chickenfoot came onstage—with their square peace sign logo lit up above them, lights flashing, their energy tore from them like an avalanche breaking loose. “The Foot” had been unleashed!

“Avenida Revolution” was just as powerful and exciting as it was the first time I heard them play it–thundering, brazenly grabbing you by the throat and never letting up.

After a few songs, Sammy joked about the altitude, saying: “You only have to smoke one joint and do three shots and you’re f—ed up in Denver!” He also said that the last time he was here, it snowed and he and Mikey were hoping that didn’t happen again. You never know in Denver.

This time the setlist was arranged differently and I liked how they changed it up so that it didn’t follow the same sequence as their album.

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Chad Smith demolition squad

Throughout the evening, Chad must have thrown out at least six dozen drumsticks into the crowd. He even pulled a woman out of the audience and had her sit next to him during Hagar’s “Bad Motor Scooter,” inserting drumsticks into the front of her low-cut top, pulling them out one by one, playing a few beats and then tossing the stick into the audience. Drumsticks were bouncing all over the stage and landing in the audience. At the end of the show, he kicked his drums over, then grabbed his high-hat cymbal and held it over his head before tossing it to the ground. The man is a maniac! The way he pounds those drums shakes the entire earth. He doesn’t sit obediently behind the drums and keep the beat like all the other drummers I’ve seen. Chad messes with your mind. He’s all over the stage; he gets up and sits on the speakers or his drums, and he teases Sammy: “You’re f—ed up when you come out of the dressing room, Sam, and when you come out of the hotel!”

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He also announced that the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) had officially certified that Chickenfoot’s self-titled debut album had gone gold! (Sold over 500,000 copies) 

Satriani outdid himself. He was such a pleasure to watch, as he made his guitars move mountains, sing ballads and erupt in ferocious blazes with ease. Then he just stood there and smiled while Sammy and Chad hammed it up. This man has more talent than anyone I’ve ever heard and yet he remains humble. At one point, Joe took out his video camera and filmed everyone onstage and off.

Mikey was more outgoing than in the past—he walked to the edge of the stage and interacted with people in the audience. He sang an occasional lead vocal—and did a great job of it. His backing vocals and signature bass style are well-known in rock music and that night he did not disappoint. His vocals were spot on and his playing better than ever. Rarely is he as front and center as he’s been in Chickenfoot and he deserves to be! At one point, Mikey brought Sammy a cup with booze in it. Sam took a swig, then Mikey finished it off, and went over and screamed into the microphone. Crazy!

Sammy’s voice never wavered; it was strong and solid, yet melted into velvet for “Learning to Fall.” He delivered a stellar performance from the first note to the last. He jumped, danced, pranced across the stage, reached out and acknowledged the audience and had them singing along, fists in the air and jumping up and down. The Denver crowd really seemed to love his performance of Montrose’s “Bad Motor Scooter,” which he played on his slide guitar, and “Oh Yeah,” in which he had them all fully engaged and joining in.

He asked the crowd how well the Denver radio stations were playing their music and the audience booed. I have to agree–Chickenfoot needs more air time in Colorado.

Their rendition of “My Generation” by The Who and a teaser of Led Zeppelin’s “The Immigrant Song” were a real treat. I wished they would have played the whole thing because what they did play sounded phenomenal. I think Sammy sang “My Generation” even better than Roger Daltry. Apparently these guys can play anything.

Notably absent from the setlist was “Running Out.” Don’t know why they didn’t play this.

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I lost it again during “Learning to Fall.” I’d seen them perform this live before, but I just couldn’t help myself. There is something about the music, Sammy’s voice, and the harmonies in this piece that takes over and rips me apart. I couldn’t stop the tears. There was however, a moment where Joe usually plays a note that rises up out of the music like a fast-forward video of a rose blooming, rising out of the ashes into its glory. For some reason, Joe chose to change the notes he played this time; he didn’t take it all the way up like he did before and the impact wasn’t as great. It was still an awesome song and a great performance, though.

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“Sexy Little Thing” exploded. The band was so tight on this—I think this had to be one of my favorites of the night. Also “Get It Up,” where the lights flashing on and off accented the sheer muscle of this band, who were all over the stage.

“Down the Drain” was dirty, nasty and solid. It made me feel like I was being sucked into something forbidden, glorious, dark and full of soul. Joe’s guitar solo went over the edge—a wild and wonderful trip into his heart. 

Through this entire concert, I tried to maintain a professional approach, to be able to relate this experience to my readers in a professional manner, (which I’m obviously still not doing) but how can you remain professional when the music is so captivating that it pulls you in and forces you to lose control? (Because that’s what it’s supposed to do!) Where do you draw the line for the sake of objectivity—maintain an equitable distance as opposed to becoming so involved in the moment that you don’t even care who you are anymore?

How can you be disciplined when Sammy is so into the music that he’s standing on his tiptoes, holding the microphone in both hands, bending backward and screaming: “it’s all… down… the drain… Yeahhhhhhhh” and Joe is cranking out sounds on his guitar so fast and furious that you can’t even see his fingers moving over the strings, Mikey is pounding his bass, Chad is owning the night and it’s all blending like one big fusion of music and spirit?

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As spectators, we have no ammunition. We are blown to smithereens.

It doesn’t get any better than this.

Sammy Hagar’s Birthday Bash 2009

Oct. 22, 2009

The crowd and balloons

Sammy Hagar recently celebrated his birthday at his Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with five days of rock ‘n’ roll, commencing on October 7 and culminating with his birthday “party” on October 13. You’d never guess by looking at him that he’s 62; he looks at least 20 years younger and has more energy than most 30-year olds—still touring around the world with his latest band, Chickenfoot.

The final concert of the birthday bash was almost cancelled due to the rain, which fell nearly every day and flooded the streets. Luckily it held off long enough for the show to take place, resuming its incessant misting (it doesn’t really rain down there, it mists heavily) by the time all was said and done.

I was fortunate to be able to acquire tickets to each show, a feat that’s becoming increasingly difficult to do. This is because the requirement for getting tickets is having to wait in line all night on the cobblestones of Mexico’s cockroach-ridden, dusty sidewalks, and this time there was an added bonus—it was raining.

Each year my body convinces me that I won’t do it again next year. And yet I do. Why?

Because there is something magical about Cabo. And because in Cabo Sammy lets his hair down a little more than he does while on tour. And also because you never know who might show up to jump onstage and join the party. In the past, there have been such music legends as Ted Nugent, Jerry Cantrell, Billy Duffy, Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney, Chad Kroeger, and many others. This year the bash was in full swing as Sammy and Michael Anthony (former bass player of Van Halen) repeatedly snagged other people’s drinks off the trays of passing waitresses and helped themselves to a swig. They then replaced the drinks, but not before refilling them with tequila from the bottles chilling in the buckets onstage.

The first two concerts were laced with some of Sammy’s older songs: “Plain Jane,” “Your Love is Driving Me Crazy,” and “Turn Up the Music.”

Craigs photo Sammy pouring

There was also a nice mix of his more recent work, such as “Cosmic Universal Fashion,” and “Loud.” A real treat was Sammy’s performance of “High and Dry Again.” I had never seen this performed live and for me, it was one of those rare moments where I couldn’t help but let go and become completely lost in it.

They played a lot of Van Halen tunes during the last two shows: “Best of Both Worlds,” “Poundcake,” and “Dreams,” a few tributes to Led Zeppelin and a bit of Sammy’s more famous songs such as “Rock Candy,” “I Can’t Drive 55,” and “There’s Only One Way to Rock.” Of course no Hagar concert would be complete without the performance of “Mas Tequila” and “Cabo Wabo,” and this week’s bash was no exception.

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Another highlight for me was “Let Sally Drive.” I guess this is why I also love the music of Janis Joplin—there is something so animal and soul-baring-raw about the screams.

During show #2 on Oct. 8, The Wabos, Sammy’s band consisting of Hagar on vocals, Vic Johnson on guitar, Mona on bass and David Lauser on drums, started out with an unusual version of “Rock and Roll Weekend,” with Dave and Sammy switching places: Dave sang lead and Sammy took up the drumsticks. It wasn’t long before Sammy announced, “I don’t know how you do it!” and Dave handed the mic to Sammy while asking the audience if they wanted to hear the song done right. The Wabos had been on “hiatus” while Sammy toured with his new supergroup, Chickenfoot this summer, so I’m sure it felt good for them to be onstage together again.

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The most memorable show of all was when Chickenfoot took the stage on October 10, with Joe Satriani on lead guitar, Sammy on vocals, Michael Anthony on bass and Chad Smith (drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers) on drums. That afternoon, the gift shop suddenly had “Puttin’ the Foot Down at the Cabo Wabo” tee shirts for sale and the fans were asked to wear their Chickenfoot gear because the show was going to be recorded.

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Chickenfoot’s performance seemed less passionate compared to the two previous shows I’d seen, (see my concert reviews dated May 20, 2009 and Sept. 15, 2009). Even so, I love the heaviness of their sound and the sheer power it puts forth to the audience. My favorite Hagar songs are like that too, the ones with a darker feel, like “Serious JuJu” and “Psycho Vertigo,” where there’s a deeper, cutting edge. It’s music that bites you in the ass—hard—and leaves its mark on your soul. Chickenfoot accomplishes this with every note.

Between songs, Satriani smiled and sipped his waborita while Anthony chugged tequila straight from the bottle. Chad Smith seemed a bit tired and he didn’t interact with the audience like I’d seen him do in the past, but he managed to pound the drums with the exuberance he’s famous for, and he tossed out a few drumsticks into the crowd.

“Get it Up” was by far the best performance of the night—the vocals and the relentless explosion of the music was a throbbing, intimidating force.

“Oh Yeah” also seemed to be a favorite, as the band had the entire audience singing along, cheering and raising their drinks above their heads.

Throughout the show, Joe just stood there so cool, so collected and cranked out a storm, like Tropical Storm Patricia that was wreaking havoc outside that night. At one point, he started to play Robin Trower’s “Bridge of Sighs.” Mikey and Chad joined in, with Mikey singing lead. They only played a teaser of this, but it sounded magnificent—psychedelic and rich, and I desperately wanted to hear more. I swear Satriani can play  anything; and he makes it look as effortless as breathing.

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During the show of the 12th and 13th, drummer Matt Sorum, from Guns ‘n’ Roses, The Cult and Velvet Revolver stepped in, joined the party onstage and played drums for a few songs. Way to go, Matt!

Matt Sorum

On the 12th, as Sammy consulted the six foot long setlist taped onto the stage speakers, Mikey quickly jumped in and began to play the opening bassline to “Runnin’ with the Devil” with his teeth. The Wabos soon joined in, but Sammy didn’t seem too pleased as he stood in the background with his arms folded across his chest, allowing Mikey to sing lead for the duration of the song.

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“I think I pissed him off!” Mikey said afterward with a huge grin.

Chef Emeril Lagasse opened the show on October 13 and also played percussion for a song or two.

At the end, as everyone sang “Happy Birthday” and balloons floated down from the catwalk above the crowd, Sammy’s face was shoved into a chocolate cake, which he then proceeded to fling, whole, into the crowd. I was glad I wasn’t within firing distance.

Vinnie Paul, drummer for Pantera was there one night, but he didn’t perform, also magician Criss Angel.

I would like to have been able to provide you with a more comprehensive concert review, but I didn’t take notes during the shows. As it was, Sammy already scolded me for taking pictures while everyone else was clapping to the beat, saying “Put your f—ing camera down and clap your hands, dammit!” with a big smile on his face. So I guess taking notes would have been out of the question. I know, I know, I know, who takes notes during a rock concert? Um, writers…

Great music, great party, as always.

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Chickenfoot “Owns” San Francisco’s Fillmore

May 20, 2009

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My body hurts all over; it’s wrung out like a wet rag. My right ear hasn’t quite come around yet either.

Chickenfoot’s performance at the Fillmore in San Francisco, CA on May 17, 2009 was the concert of a lifetime.

I knew I was in trouble when the first song, “Avenida Revolution,” a balls-to-the-wall song about the perils of Mexican immigrants, pounded from the speakers like an iron fist slamming down hard on the stage. Or maybe the biggest erection known to humankind.

I was already overpowered.

Joe Satriani on guitar, Sammy Hagar on vocals, Chad Smith on drums and Michael Anthony on bass came onstage in a burst of sonic boom that felt like the world was splitting open, its internal organs shooting upward to the stratosphere like a volcano OD’ing on testosterone. It bounced off the back walls in some sort of sweet rage/euphoria and rolled like breeding thunder through the audience.

And it never let up. 

This was not Hagar fronting a band, Satriani fronting a band, or even Smith or Anthony fronting.

Chickenfoot has their own sound.They’re not a “supergroup” who will dissolve after one album. God Ihope not. They have too much to offer. Their personalities and talents meld as if they  should have been a band a long time ago.

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I expected to be wowed by Satch. And I was. Years ago, after having watched Eddie Van Halen perform live, I described his guitar as being his arm—an extension of him. And I was duly impressed.

But Satriani’s guitar was not an appendage. For lack of a better term, and I hate to use this because it’s cliché, he was one with it. The guitar was Joe and Joe was the guitar. The sounds he created through its body with unparalleled ease were beyond what I’d hoped to see. He added a new vision to the music—quenched a thirst for the extraordinary.

The one who really surprised me was Chad Smith. I had previously thought that the drummer’s job, along with that of the bassist, was primarily to hold the rhythm together, to keep everyone on beat. I was sorely mistaken. Chad did not politely keep time; he was not merely background noise, he was a voice demanding to be heard from the first explosive thud, an integral element. His contribution to Chickenfoot raised the bar many notches.

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Sammy’s voice never sounded better. It was full of depth, and yet maintained the huskiness that makes a rock singer great. He looked amazing. He sounded amazing. He demonstrated new techniques with his voice that gave Chickenfoot a fresh and innovative sound.

And Mikey hammered his bass, never missing a chance to make his personal statement with his distinctive backing vocals, the ones that helped make Van Halen famous.

Not one of them overpowered the others, and each gave 200 percent. They were dripping with sweat before the first song ended.

From the moment they took the stage, Chickenfoot commanded the sound with the expertise of professionals who had risen above that title to the point where their art flowed naturally; it was not contrived. They had earned the right to enjoy themselves while allowing us a peek into their secret passions.

The music dumped into me with such intensity and felt so damn wonderful, it was almost agonizing. There’s a fine line between pain and pleasure anyway, isn’t there? Especially in rock ‘n’ roll.

When they played “Learning to Fall,” my body felt like it was being wrenched by some out-of-control dictator. And I couldn’t stop the tears. The music was phenomenal; the harmonies impeccable. It sounded like there was an entire symphony surrounding me.

It is both glorious and infuriating to be manipulated by an outside source like that.

Mikey Chickenfoot cropped

Another highlight was Chickenfoot’s rendition of Deep Purple’s “Highway Star.” It transported me back to my teen years when life was filled with the joy of listening to captivating rock music with good friends. “Machinehead” was one of the first albums I’d ever purchased.

Sammy did a fantastic job singing Ian Gillan’s incomparable lead vocals.

Chickenfoot’s entire performance tore me up bad. And yet, I felt like I was the contender who’d won the match. I knew at the time that I was going to be hurting afterward; I just didn’t care. It was so worth it.

I think the critics who have dissed Chickenfoot have based their opinions on the 30-second snippets on the Internet or perhaps from the teasers on Chickenfoot’s website.  These samples do not showcase the brilliance of their material. Not even close.

If hard rock music is in your blood and you are presented the opportunity, you owe it to yourself to see Chickenfoot.

You’ll regret it if you don’t. Sammy Chickenfoot cropped

 

Setlist:

Avenida Revolution
Soap on a Rope
Sexy Little Thing
Oh Yeah
Runnin’ Out
Get It Up
Bitten By The Wolf
Down the Drain
My Kinda Girl
Learning to Fall
Turnin’ Left

Encore:
Future in the Past
Bad Motor Scooter
Highway Star

What a crazy name for a rock band!

May 14, 2009

Maybe their name is crazy, but their music will knock your socks off.

Chickenfoot is the new band featuring musicians already famous for their memberships in other groups: Sammy Hagar on vocals, guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani on guitar, Michael Anthony (former bass player for Van Halen) on bass and Chad Smith, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer on drums. They’ve taken a lot of heat for their name, which started out as a joke and stuck.

I first heard them play in Las Vegas in 2008. The concert was supposed to be Sammy & the Wabos.

Chickenfoot Las Vegas 08

But toward the end of the show, Sammy announced that he had special guests waiting offstage who were dying to come on and play. That’s when Mikey, Joe and Chad made their entrance.

The four of them played a three-song set that included Led Zeppelin’s “Rock ‘n’ Roll” and Traffic’s “Dear Mister Fantasy.” The audience was ecstatic.

Since then, Chickenfoot has recorded its first album, due for release on June 5, 2009.

The band is doing a “Road Test” tour which includes nine small venues around North America before they head off to Europe. They will be back mid-July to play larger venues in the US. For more information, please visit the Chickenfoot website.

True to all the synchronicities that have fallen into my lap since my mystical experience at Sammy’s show in 2003, my husband and I somehow obtained last-minute tickets to the sold-out show in San Francisco on May 17. It was obviously meant to be, for reasons presently unknown to me. But like all the other coincidences on this wonderful journey, I’m sure the reasons will be forthcoming.

Until then, I am honored to be a part of rock music history-in-the-making and will return home with more stories. Stay tuned!

About Sammy Hagar

March 26, 2009

Inexhaustible Performer

 

 

 

 

 

Samuel Roy Hagar was born on Oct. 13, 1947 in Monterey, CA. Sammy’s dad was a professional boxer who held the title in the bantamweight division in the 1940’s. In his younger years, Sammy had planned on following in his father’s footsteps and he took up boxing—until the call of rock and roll seduced him. After performing with several different bands, he joined guitarist Ronnie Montrose and became the lead singer for Montrose in 1972. Their first album, self-titled “Montrose,” was released in 1973, followed by “Paper Money,” in 1974. Some of the most notable songs from these albums were: “Bad Motor Scooter,” “Rock Candy,” “Space Station #5” and “Rock the Nation.”

From there, Sammy went solo. His album “Nine on a Ten Scale” was released in 1976, with Bill Church on bass and Denny Carmassi on drums.

Sammy continued to build a name for himself in the world of rock music as he tirelessly cranked out one album after the other and enthusiastically toured to share his love of the game.

Some of his best known songs from this era are: “I’ll Fall in Love Again,” “There’s Only One Way to Rock,” “Remember the Heroes” and “Your Love is Driving Me Crazy,” along with what would come to be known as his mantra: “I Can’t Drive 55.”

During that time, his song “Red” earned him the nickname “The Red Rocker.”

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A short tour with HSAS (Hagar, Schon, Aaronson and Shrieve), featuring Journey’s guitarist Neal Schon, along with Michael Shrieve on drums and Kenny Aaronson on bass, produced one album, “Through the Fire,” released in 1984.

In 1985, legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen contacted Sammy for a jam session. It went so well that Sammy ended up replacing Van Halen’s departing lead singer, David Lee Roth. The band featured Eddie Van Halen on lead guitar, his brother Alex on drums, Michael Anthony on bass and Sammy on lead vocals. Although fans and critics were skeptical that Hagar could carry such a heavy-hitting rock band, in 1986, the newly-formed Van Halen proved themselves a volcanic force in the world of rock music as their first album, “5150” went to number one.

After more than 10 years together, things between the players began to go sour. Sammy and the Van Halen brothers went their separate ways.10-12-06 (14)

Ever the entertainer, Sammy went on to create his own band with his friend, drummer David Lauser, who had been working with Sammy on his solo projects since 1981. The band also included guitarist Victor Johnson, formerly of The Bus Boys (who kicks ass, by the way), Jesse Harms on keyboards and Mona on bass. Calling themselves The Waboritas, they later became known simply as The Wabos.

Between performing and recording with The Wabos, in 2004, Sammy also did a short-lived reunion tour with Van Halen and in 2007, Eddie Van Halen, Alex Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Michael Anthony and Sammy Hagar were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Sammy and Mikey were the only members present at the ceremony to personally receive the honors.

Sammy’s most recent album, “Cosmic Universal Fashion” was released in 2008.

In June 2009, the supergroup Chickenfoot is poised to release their debut album. With Sammy as frontman, the band boasts guitar virtuoso Joe Satriani, ex-Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and Red Hot Chili Peppers’ drummer Chad Smith.

To date, Sammy has sold more than 60 million records worldwide.

10-9-06-06

Sources: www.redrocker.com, www.billboard.com