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Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock Kindle Edition

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Length: 272 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“There are tell-all books. And then there are tell-all books written by Sammy Hagar. The 63-year-old ex-Van Halen frontman holds back nothing -- and I mean absolutely nothing -- in his autobiography...the Red Rocker’s life look-back doesn’t skimp on the details.”

From the Back Cover

Loud rock, fast cars, and Cabo.
This is the life of Sammy Hagar.

For almost forty years, Sammy Hagar has been a fixture in rock music. From breaking into the industry with the band Montrose to his multiplatinum solo career to his ride as the front man of Van Halen, Sammy's powerful and unforgettable voice has set the tone for some of the greatest rock anthems ever written—songs like "I Can't Drive 55," "Right Now," and "Why Can't This Be Love."

In Red, Sammy tells the outrageous story of his tear through rock 'n' roll, detailing the backstage antics and nonstop touring that have made his voice instantly recognizable. Beginning with his musical coming-of-age in the blue-collar towns of California, Sammy traces his rough and determined rise to fame, working harder than anyone else out there and writing songs about the things he loved—fast cars, loud parties, and lots of good times.

But solo success was just the start, a prelude to his raucous and notorious decade as the front man for Van Halen, one of the biggest-selling rock groups in history. Filled with behind-the-scenes stories from his time with the band, Red offers the Van Halen story as Sammy saw it, holding nothing back about the worldwide stadium tours, the tensions with Eddie, the messy parties, the divided friendships, and, of course, his controversial and widely disputed exit from the band.

After Van Halen, Sammy changed directions again, throwing himself headfirst into the tequila business and creating Cabo Wabo, one of the most successful tequila brands in the world. And all the while he continued to rock, touring the country with his bands the Waboritas and Chickenfoot, and eventually reuniting with Van Halen for a tour that became both a box-office smash and a personal catastrophe.

From the decadence of being one of the world's biggest rock stars to the unfiltered story of being forced out of Van Halen, Sammy's account spares no one, least of all himself. His is a tale of a true rock 'n' roller—someone who's spent decades bringing the party with him wherever he goes but always headin' back to Cabo for mas tequila.


Product Details

  • File Size: 9165 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Reprint edition (March 15, 2011)
  • Publication Date: March 15, 2011
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0042FZVU8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #46,204 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

107 of 120 people found the following review helpful By R. Short on March 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Most rock star autobiographies are pretty much the same. Guy grows up in a dysfunctional house in bad neighborhood (The father in this story was the town drunk and the city is Fontana, CA, known to some as Felony Flats), guys falls in love, gets married, has a kid all the while struggling to keep a career as a musician going. Guy has limited success for awhile. There are ups. There are downs. Finally guy hits it big. Joins an existing successful rock band and makes it even bigger. Now either the author or someone close to the author has substance abuse problems which threaten the success of the band that has made it.

Okay, so in this case Sammy Hagar does have a remarkable story to tell: He was the guy who was crazy enough, in a controversial move, to replace David Lee Roth as the lead singer in Van Halen back in the mid-80's, and at the same time turn his back on a highly successful solo career. As a sophomore in high school, I remember the release of "5150" with nervous anticipation. I wanted to project to work, but the newly released single, "Why Can't This Be Love" wasn't my cup of tea. Needless to say, even if the album wasn't perfect, the record was pretty good.

What makes Hagar's book so intriguing is his story telling style. He's very honest and matter-of-factly. There are several amusing anecdotes throughout the book but sadly the book does deal with the drinking problems of band mate Eddie Van Halen and the fall out that took place ten years into Hagar's tenure as Van Halen singer. Die hard fans of Van Halen will probably be familiar with a lot of the drama written about here, but it's presented tastefully, not in a "I'm good, they're bad" kind of style.
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68 of 77 people found the following review helpful By DRD on March 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
SPOILER ALERT! I cover some of the book's high- and low-lights in the following review.

It's true that this book seems remarkably candid, so much so that I think some passages reveal more than Sammy may have ever intended. Particularly his attitude toward his first wife, Betsy. My jaw hit the floor when, after her mental breakdown during the recording of "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" and his taking a year off to care for her, he basically came out and said he felt like he'd finally done enough to justify leaving her.

As his fame grew, he'd first subscribed to the Bill Clinton definition of cheating while on the road, but eventually succumbed to full-frontal temptation. All the while claiming sex with his wife was still great. I know, we expect this kind of behavior from rock stars, but the first Mrs. Hagar married the guy before he was famous and probably didn't know what she was walking into. His characterization of her as mentally unstable and "weak" also shocked me.

Meanwhile, his current wife is carrying on w/ him knowing full well he's married to No. 1.

Describing the birth of his first child with wife No. 2 as more meaningful than that of a child with his first wife also was a stunning admission. I give him points for candor, but he sure comes off as something of a dirtbag. (I also wonder how friend and foreword-writer Michael Anthony feels about being called a "loyal dog.")

Finally, unrelated to personal ethics, his descriptions of EVH as, at best, a drunk and, at worst, completely certifiable, made me wonder how the heck the band was ever able to craft some of those classic songs. If Eddie can barely stand, how is he able to even understand verse/chorus/bridge structure?
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I liked Sammy's solo music, but when he joined Van Halen, it raised him up a notch in my book. Although the prose isn't that great, the book is an easy read. Sammy is pretty balanced in explaining his triumphs and problems. He's pretty hard on the Van Halen brothers, especially Eddie, but his criticisms appear accurate. The book really portrays Eddie as a troubled genius, battling some form of inner demons. Sammy doesn't give enough credit to the band overall, though. The songs he co-wrote with Van Halen are so far superior to his solo stuff that it's not even a close call. Yes, he made lots of money and became famous as a solo artist, but "I Can't Drive 55" and "Heavy Metal" can't compare to "Dreams" or "Judgement Day" just to name a couple examples.

There's alot to admire about Sammy: his work ethic, refusal to quit, love of family, business acumen. However, he's not perfect, with his infidelities, drug use etc. All in all, he comes across as well grounded despite his substanital wealth and fame. He's mostly objective, but no autobiography can be 100% so. Bottom line: easy read, some fun stories, but it's not going to win any awards.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By stodgers on June 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There is a lot to like about Sammy Hagar and his rise to prominence. Primarily a self-made man, Hagar comes across as genuine, likable, and fan-focused in his autobiography. While there is a lot to like about his story, there is a lot *less* to like about this book.

I was actually shocked at the end to find he had the assistance of a journalist to write this, because the book is rife with editing and continuity mistakes that would be understandable if this were just Sammy's take with no other involvement. But in one chapter Sammy says "I never had to work again" and in the very next chapter is scraping away in a mundane job. While these examples seem minor at face value, they leave the reader going back in several instances to re-read paragraphs and even entire pages that just don't make sense. I would not want this reporter handling my story, that's for sure.

As for the content, the best parts are those up through his joining Van Halen, as Sammy has a lot of great things to say about his ascent to stardom and offers advice to those who might want to follow. But after the 5150 section, there is a cynicism and defensiveness that belies Sammy's insecurity about all that surrounded his time in that band. Some of it he admits to, but much of it comes off as sour grapes ("I didn't want to be in a cover band" as an excuse for not singing Jump for instance). But it really gets bad when he starts to criticize David Lee Roth's lyrics: I'm sorry, but line any Roth-era song up against Good Enough or Source of Infection and they'll do just fine. And then the eventual post-VH decline kicks in, and you sense that though Sammy says he's happy with where he is, he still longs for the top.

Overall, I've always liked Sammy and felt he was better for VH than they were for him. Its nice to see a good guy do well for himself from such humble beginnings. Just too bad he couldn't have had a better co-author to help make sense of it all.
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