About Sammy Hagar
For almost forty years, Sammy Hagar has been one of rock music’s most dynamic and prolific artists. From breaking into the industry with the seminal hard rock band Montrose to his multi-platinum solo career to his ride as the front man of Van Halen, the “Red Rocker” has set the tone for some of the greatest rock anthems ever written with songs like “I Can’t Drive 55,” “Right Now,” and “Why Can’t This Be Love.” He’s earned the highest respect of the music industry with a Grammy Award and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame alongside Van Halen and is currently on his fourth platinum run with the super group Chickenfoot. Along his journey, Hagar has also become a dedicated philanthropist, a New York Times best-selling author and auspicious entrepreneur.
Raised in Fontana, CA, Hagar’s hardscrabble upbringing infused in him an unstoppable work ethic that’s been the driving force behind his rise to the top as a musician and entrepreneur – and continues to fuel his dedication as a philanthropist. “Being a poor kid is a little humiliating and it instilled in me a desire to be somebody,” Hagar remarked. “It’s where all my drive comes from. I was willing to work hard to ensure I was never poor again. And now, it’s like, I still got that feeling but it drives me to wanna give back and to show kids that if you work hard there’s gonna be an open door out.”
Hagar first burst onto the scene in San Francisco as the lead singer of Montrose. Following a string of eight solo albums culminating in several platinum efforts and hundreds of sold out concert appearances across the country, Hagar joined Van Halen in 1985 and took the band to unprecedented heights, including four consecutive No.1 albums before the band broke up in the mid-nineties. He later returned to Van Halen to lead a triumphant 2004 reunion tour.
Aside from making his mark as a hit songwriter and lead vocalist, Hagar has played with a succession of legendary guitar players; from Ronnie Montrose and Neal Schon to Eddie Van Halen and Joe Satriani and his current group, The Circle, which also features former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, Jason Bonham and Vic Johnson.
Since launching his flagship Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in 1990, Hagar has turned a lifelong passion for great food, music and spirits into a thriving and iconic lifestyle brand that has grown to encompass an empire of successful restaurants, bars and spirits. His annual Birthday Bash has become one of the year’s most legendary jam-sessions for rockstar to play and the party of the year for Hagar’s fans, the Redheads, each October at the Cabo Wabo Cantina. He’s expanded his Cantina brand to include locations in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe and has successfully launched five Sammy’s Beach Bar and Grill restaurants, (from which he donates his personal proceeds back to local charities). In 2011, he partnered with noted celebrity chef Tyler Florence to open el Paseo, which was named by the San Francisco Chronicle among their Top 10 New Restaurants of 2011, and in 2015 he bolstered his restaurant businesses once again, opening the first Sammy Hagar’s Red Rocker Bar & Grill in West Memphis.
Sammy’s foray into the world of spirits began as a personal quest to find a tequila worthy of the Cabo Wabo name and in 1996 he began selling his Cantina patrons a house brand of hand-made tequila he’d commissioned from a local multi-generational family of tequila makers in Mexico. 10 years later, he’d built Cabo Wabo Tequila into the second-best selling premium tequila in the United States – and the rest as they say is history. Now, 15 years after conquering the tequila market, Sammy has turned his attention to rum. As a part-time Maui resident, he again followed his “act local” philosophy, partnering with one of the island’s Master Distillers, Mark Nigbur, to cultivate the very best small-batch distilled silver rum on the planet. In its first year on the market, the “Spirit of Aloha” was on Hagar’s side with Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum garnering praise and awards including being named “Best of Show” at the highly competitive 2012 Nightclub and Bar Show in Las Vegas.
2011 saw the release of his highly anticipated autobiography, “Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock,” which reached #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List. He continues to tour the world with his bands The Circle, Chickenfoot and The Wabos, donating back to the local food banks in every tour city they play. His #1 priority; however, is being a great husband to wife Kari Hagar and father to his kids.