Sammy Hagar is the multi-platinum recording artist known as the Red Rocker, lead singer of hard rock legendary group Van Halen and respected member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Throughout his career he also evolved into the entrepreneurial mastermind behind the Cabo Wabo Tequila brand, a bar and restaurant owner and philanthropist. He continues to rock as an artist and businessman as part of the super group Chickenfoot and with the launch of Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum.
Raised in Fontana, CA, Hagar burst onto the music scene in San Francisco as the lead singer of Montrose, but was truly established as a rock presence when he embarked upon a solo career as a songwriter and vocalist in the mid-70s. He enjoyed immediate success with albums such as Nine on a Ten Scale and hits like “Red,” which led to the creation of his persona as “The Red Rocker.” With the album Standing Hampton, Hagar found his first platinum success in tracks like “There’s Only One Way to Rock,” and the follow up Three Lock Box provided the Billboard Hot 100 hit “Your Love is Driving Me Crazy.” Perhaps best known in his solo career for the wildly popular single “I Can’t Drive 55,” Hagar had his first Billboard #1 record in 1987 with “Give to Live.”
Following a prolific eight-year solo run filled with several platinum efforts and hundreds of national concert appearances, Hagar joined Van Halen in 1985. As their front man on four consecutive multi-platinum #1 albums – 5150, OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and Balance – he steered Van Halen to unprecedented popularity before the band broke up in the mid-nineties. In 2004, he returned to Van Halen for the critically acclaimed sold-out 2004 reunion tour.
Through the years, Hagar has played with some of the most well-respected musicians in the business, including Ronnie Montrose, Neal Schon, Eddie Van Halen and Joe Satriani, with whom he currently records and tours in Chickenfoot. A force to be reckoned with, Chickenfoot is a collection of the best in rock with Hagar, Satriani, Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer, Chad Smith.
Hagar’s business ventures began when he found his first home away from home in Los Cabos, Mexico, where he opened the tourist and local destination staple, Cabo Wabo Cantina. After becoming known for hosting his annual epic birthday parties there, he expanded the Cantina bar and restaurants to Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe. It was at the flagship Cantina that he was inspired to create Cabo Wabo Tequila to serve his customers. After overseeing its development from conception to current position as a global brand, he sold Cabo Wabo Tequila to Gruppo Campari in 2007, but maintains an interest in it today. With the recent imagination of Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, Hagar continues to build on his success in the spirit industry. Conceptualized and produced in his second home away from home, Hawaii, the world class Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum is quickly following the success trajectory of Cabo Wabo Tequila.
From very early in his career, Hagar has been a philanthropist – from donating to local food banks in every city he plays to founding charities. In 2009, he embarked upon a joint business and philanthropic venture with Sammy’s Beach Bar and Grill, from which all profits of the two current locations are donated to local children’s charities. 2011 saw the release of his highly anticipated auto-biography, “Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock,” which reached #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List as a hardcover and again claimed the same spot upon its release in paperback in 2012. Said co-author Joel Selvin of Hagar:
Sammy has always been this guy – he is as authentic a person as the guys in the Grateful Dead, maybe more so. But he’s been underrated in that department and when you read the story… You’re going to understand Sammy is an authentic American working-class hero.”
When not continuing to build upon his success in music, business and philanthropy, Hagar enjoys vintage cars, wine, gourmet cooking and having good friends and considers his number one priority to be a great father to his children and husband to his wife, Kari.