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Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock Hardcover – March 15, 2011
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“Sammy’s no bullsh*tter. If Sammy says it happened, it did. There’s nobody else anywhere like him.” (Michael Anthony)
“Sammy has maintained his all-star success no matter where his Red Rocker career has taken him. He still can’t drive fifty-five, but hey, he’s the one driving the Mustang. So site back and ride.” (Toby Keith)
“Nobody had to explain the American dream to Sammy. He knew in his gut that there was a better life available to him if he refused to accept the status quo. It’s all here in Sammy’s new book.” (Ted Nugent)
“I’ll admit it: I’ve been a Sammy Hagar wannabe since I heard his voice on a Montrose album...I’m proud to call him a rock star hero, a friend, and a brother in the sun. Rock on, Red Rocker!” (Kenny Chesney)
“Sam’s the man. Tequila, fast cars, rock ‘n’ roll—my kind of guy.” (Jimmie Johnson, five-time NASCAR champion)
“There are not a lot of people I would drop whatever I’m doing to go and see, but Sammy Hagar is one of thouse people...The man rocks his ass off, and vicariously through him so do I. My man—Sammy Hagar.” (Whoopi Goldberg)
“Over the many years I’ve known Sammy, his Red Rocker passion in music has always inspired me. But it’s also his love of cooking great food and sharing a good bottle of wine that has been at the core of our friendship for so long. (Emeril Lagasse)
“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.” (Associated Press)
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.
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But wait there's more.
Paraphrased parts of the book:
"I don't do drugs." And then he talks about all the drugs he did/does.
"They handed me a beer, and I don't drink beer." He proceeds to drink beer. (What kind of weird high horse is that anyway? Dude owns a tequila brand.)
"I cheated so many times. And I'm not a cheater."
Sometimes I was wondering, "Does he realize what he's writing? Is he drunk right now? I understand we're all walking contradictions, but this is in print. It's plain to see and easy to edit."
Anyway, except for all that, this was a fun read. It got repetitive, but it was fairly smooth. Maybe like Cabo Wabo.
You'll notice Hagar has a huge ego, but it's well deserved. He's made a lot of very smart moves in music and in business. And he also wasn't afraid to talk about his failures.
Anyway, I'm not much of a Van Halen fan, but I enjoy reading autobiographies. If you're a Hagar fan you'll probably love this. If you're a Van Halen fan you'll probably like it. If you're a music fan you'll tolerate it. If you're a Roth fan, why are you bothering?
If you have played in a band you can skip the chapters on Montrose, bin there done that. If you have not played in a band read this part, then you can tell everyone you were in a band.
What I found most compelling was his time with VH. I was a VH addict and I'll usually read anything I find on them. I don't think Sammy trashed the brothers too bad in this book. My guess is that to an outsider, just like Michael Anthony and Sammy, the brothers would have seemed like a wild ride at Disney, one that you can only watch. I highly doubt that Sammy was so innocent and not the cause of any turmoil during his time with VH though.
I have to agree with some of the other reviewers - Sammy tries to come across like a regular guy but constantly shoves his inflated value in your face. We are probably all a little guilty of that though.
Sammy Hagar lived a rough life. Alcoholic and abusive father. A mom who tried to shelter him. Grandparents he loved. Then came the guitar and music.
He struggled with being poor. Actually poor is an understatement. He always knew he had it in him to be a musician. Just getting #1 was no cake walk.
With his own band he had to find his signature sound. Then came a chance of a lifetime. Van Halen. Fronting them was good and bad. He had to play babysitter, manage his career, keep his marriage and rock like a God.
I was impressed with how he has overcame adversities. He should go down in history as one of the greatest, best voices singers of all time. Great book!