Sammy Hagar Continues To Slam The New Van Halen

Sammy Hagar has been making a habit of slamming the new Van Halen album, something the Red Rocker did for months before the record was even out.

Ultimate Guitar

Sammy Hagar has been making a habit of slamming the new Van Halen album, something the Red Rocker did for months before the record was even out.

Now that he's heard some of it, Sammy still thinks the band missed the mark.

"I don't listen to much new music unless I hear a new song on the radio, and the last bands that did that to me were The Black Keys and Kings Of Leon," Hagar tells the Boston Phoenix. "When I heard 'Tattoo', that single - and I saw the video because everybody kept sending it to me like, 'My god, have you seen this?' ... 'Oh my god, you must be laughing your a-s off!' - it wasn't a song that made me run out and buy their record. And so I haven't heard it. I haven't downloaded it, I haven't done anything."

Hagar didn't discuss why he's had a change of plans on this in recent months: he told Rolling Stone last fall, "I'll be the first guy waiting in line at the record store, if I could find one anymore. I'll be really curious [to hear the new VH]."

"I heard another one that was kinda goofy too," Sammy continues, "and then I heard, on the radio, 'She's The Woman', and I thought that was kinda cool. That one sounds like what I would expect from Van Halen, a little closer to it. The other stuff didn't sound like what I was expecting, that's for sure."

As for the matter of today's Van Halen playing only songs from the David Lee Roth catalog while on tour, Hagar says that it must be hard for Eddie and Alex to have to ignore a gaping section of their career. "The difference between Dave and I in that band, besides all the other million things," says Sammy, "is that he can't sing any of the Van Hagar-era songs. Maybe he could do 'Finish What Ya Started', possibly - so that makes it kind of weird for [Alex and Eddie] I think to take 11 years out of that thing."

Hagar's experiencing a convenient memory lapse here: during his tenure with VH, he would regularly agree to perform only four (4) songs from the entire Roth era (and one of those was a Kinks cover) the one that made the band a household name before his arrival. In other words, Sammy did his best to ignore a dozen years of VH history himself.

Now that the Hagar-led Chickenfoot are preparing to embark on a spring tour more than six months after the release of "Chickenfoot III" he discovered the band has a date in Los Angeles bookended by a pair of Van Halen shows, something that initially had him pissed at the promoters.

"First I said, 'What the f--k are you doing putting us the same time as Van Halen?'" Hagar says now. "It's just gonna cause a needless competition between the fans, and I don't like that. I want the fans to feel like they can love Van Halen and that they can love Chickenfoot totally the same. I don't have any way of competing with those guys; you can't compete with Van Halen. I'm part of that legacy, how could I go out and compete with something I'm part of? I don't look at us like that, but I know some people do. You want to go see Van Halen one night and see us the next and compare us, you want to do that? Roll up your sleeves and come on. I welcome it, because I think this band is smokin'."

Now with Chickenfoot, Sammy Hagar has been slamming every aspect of the group's efforts to move forward without him, seemingly still reeling and angered over his 1996 and 2004 splits with the Van Halen brothers.

At the other end of the spectrum is Gary Cherone, another former VH singer, of both Extreme and Hurtsmile, who recorded 1998's "Van Halen III" with the group and performed on tour with them.

"This record, for me, it's the best thing since 'Fair Warning'," Cherone tells the Boston Phoenix. "[First single] 'Tattoo' is the only misstep. You wait 28 years to hear Van Halen, and in the context of the record, it's not the best song by far. Off the top of my head, I'm thinkin' of 'China Town', if that was the first thing you heard, or 'As Is', or 'Honeybabysweetiedoll'. Any of those three? People would've been like, 'Are you f--king kidding me?'"

"The starting point [for 'A Different Kind Of Truth'] was the old demos," says Gary, "but to me, a riff's a riff. Eddie's added new things to it - this stuff is on fire. Of course you miss [ousted bassist Michael Anthony]; he was one of the four food groups. But Wolfie's no slouch. Alex is a machine, and Eddie is playing better than he's ever played. I love the record. It's kind of inspiring, it's like the king just took back his crown."

Thanks for the report to

29 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Glad you got through the first two tracks before forming an opinion Sam!
    a drummer
    That's cool to see Gary Cherone saying good things about them, considering VH3 was pretty bad
    The title to this article sucks because he's not actually "slamming" Van Halen. He's just saying he didn't like "Tattoo" but he did like "She's The Woman." I think we can all agree on that one.
    Van Halen's "A Different Kind of Truth" - "Tattoo" = Great album. Come on Sammy I'm losing respect for you. Why trash a great album.
    I used to like Hagar. But he just can't keep his mouth shut about Van Halen and can't be satisfied with Chickenfoot. I didn't like Tattoo either; the other songs on the album are way better though.
    WTF Sammy is getting obnoxious, to the point where I dont want to hear his voice any more. I saw VH in Chicago. Eddie was so on his game that I can say he has never been better. Every single review from journalists in each city where they have played loved the concerts. They are not a rehash of old rockers. This tour and album are fresh and propel VH in the forefront of the rock kingdom, again. Tattoo may not be their best cut. But, I think its a wash when you compare them to Sammys sophomoric lyrics. No criticism, he just isnt the best. I think he is hurting the rest of the Chickenfoot members. Who, by-the-way, have been very complimentary of Eddie and VH's new music (same with other rockers like Slash). The rest of A DIFFERENT KIND OF TRUTH absolutely rocks. NO album is perfect. This one comes close.
    I haven't heard it. I haven't downloaded it, I haven't done anything
    Therefore, you are not allowed to pass judgment. Sammy, you realized you just publicly stated you're trolling the band for no reason, right? (Not that I expect him to ever see this)
    IMO, UG is getting really ****ing annoying with this whole thing. we get it. you like DLR better, but it seems like they're going out of their way to make Hagar look like a douchebag. He doesn't ever slam them in this article, that's just UG trying to twist the story and force their opinions on everyone.
    RapeFace McGee
    sorry to spoil your fun UG, but at what point does he actually "slam" Van Halen? all i read was the he liked "she's the woman", he hasn't heard the whole album yet, and that Diamond Dave isn't able to sing the Hagar songs (which is true, he can barely sing his own songs for ****s sake).
    I want the fans to feel like they can love Van Halen and that they can love Chickenfoot totally the same.
    Fair enough, and I'm sure there's many who enjoy both Van Halen and Chickenfoot. For me, I got Chickenfoot's albums recently but I still haven't had the opportunity to give'em a spin.
    And so I haven't heard it. I haven't downloaded it, I haven't done anything.
    And this. I probably read another article, but my interpretation of Sammy's words is that he's not bashing anyone, just saying that he still hasn't listened to the new album... And also that he apparently changed his mind since last fall...
    Heard Tattoo on the radio, made the know it all teen STFU so I could hear it. Turned up the radio...made it about 30 seconds turned the radio back down continued conversation. Very unimpressive and not a very good single to release to radio. I'm glad other people think the music later in the CD is better, I'm not going to bet my hard earned money on it.
    Maybe he's pissed that Chickenfoot can barely fill 5,000 seat stadiums (sometimes can't!) and Van Halen can sell out Madison Square Garden two nighhts in a row? Maybe he is missing out on a high grossing tour? Maybe he thinks he should be an elite rock Legend like Ronnie Montrose or Eddie Van Halen?
    Why not play the VH shows with Chickenfoot? They have Eddie, you have the Satch. Put your money where your mouth is.
    I love how all the news reported on UG is stuff I've already days before on This is OLD news for god sake.
    yeah he's got a good thing with chickenfoot but his constant bitchin is makin him look like a puss
    I like how he only expressed tattoo. did you ever even listen to as is, big river, or beats workin? those are better than shitty ass "up for breakfast, it's about time, and learning to see" those sounded like ass, along with your corny lyrics. hang up the towel.
    Oh look Sammy Hagar is still butt hurt because when he was in the band they were a Pop Rock abomination. New Van Halen is better then anything Hagar did with the band period and he's pissed that he will always be remembered aa giant, whailing pussy in that regard. This article is evident that he still is.
    judging a book by it's cover
    Maiden95 wrote: Glad you got through the first two tracks before forming an opinion Sam!
    I'm guessing his opinion was based on behind the scenes experience. Interviews with mediaclowns aren't going to provide us with anymore actual information, than if they interviewed you about people you know and your interactions with them. Depth like that doesn't exist in the media, only juicy stories to sell ad-space for. This isn't a drama, nothing to see here, just move along.
    Dang it, Sammy! Quit being so whiny! You're ruining my plans of Van Halen and Chickenfoot touring together so that people can hear both sides of Van Halen in one totally awesome show! BE COOL MAN.
    Really. He must be joking. Roth could out-sing him with the flu. Hagar can't even hit the high notes when he tries to sing Dreams anymore. I don't hate him, but he is really starting to look bitter especially in light of the fact that he replaced Roth at one point. I guess he isn't so happy now that the shoe is on the other foot