Sammy Hagar has been entertaining fans since the early seventies, but the 71-year-old is stepping back a bit. He plans on releasing what may be his final album in January 2019. The LP Space Between, by his band Circle, features greed as a central theme.
“It’s about the misconception that money is the root of all evil, because the truth of the matter is, that it isn’t money at all,” Hagar explained during an interview with the Broward Palm Beach New Times. “You can feed the poor, you can heal the sick, you can make people happy, you can stop a war with money, but it’s greed that is the problem. … It’s what I discovered by being both rich and poor.”
Hagar knows quite a bit about poverty. While he was massively successful as both a solo artist and singer of Van Halen with hits such as “I Can’t Drive 55,” “Love Walks In” and “Right Now,” he came from humble beginnings. He was homeless when he was just four years old, and his mother struggled to make ends meet while his alcoholic father spent time in jail. At one point, Hagar and his three siblings lived in a car.
“Looking back, it was horrible, but at the time, we were having a great time,” Hagar revealed. “My mom was such a great mom, and she was such a great cook. I never felt like we were starving to death. We used food banks, and now that’s why I support them so much.”
These days he gives back to the community by donating to local food banks in each city where he performs. “I see poor people in the street, little kids, and I have to stop the car and go help them,” he said. “I cannot just drive past somebody that needs help. It’s not in my nature.”
Hagar’s priorities shifted long ago away from the stereotypical rock ‘n’ roll, hard-partying lifestyle. Happily married, he explained that the most important thing in life is “giving love.” He’s happiest when he’s hanging out at the beach.
He also admitted he would like to win a Grammy for Space Between, which will likely be his last album. “That’s my bucket list: to have one more credible musical experience in my life,” he said. “I think I did it, and I hope it’s as good as I think it is. I’ve been double-parked in the rock ‘n’ roll business for 40 years, and I want a stamp on my validation so I don’t have to pay to get out.”
He is currently touring with the Circle, which includes former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, Vic Johnson of the Busboys, and late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham’s son, Jason Bonham.