Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock

( 236 )

Overview

For almost forty years, Sammy Hagar has beena fixture in rock music. From breaking intothe industry with the band Montrose to hismultiplatinum solo career to his ride as thefront man of Van Halen, Sammy's powerful andunforgettable voice has set the tone for some ofthe greatest rock anthems ever written—songslike "I Can't Drive 55," "Right Now," and "WhyCan't This Be Love."

In Red, Sammy tells the outrageous story ofhis tear through rock 'n' roll. From the decadenceof being one ...

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Overview

For almost forty years, Sammy Hagar has beena fixture in rock music. From breaking intothe industry with the band Montrose to hismultiplatinum solo career to his ride as thefront man of Van Halen, Sammy's powerful andunforgettable voice has set the tone for some ofthe greatest rock anthems ever written—songslike "I Can't Drive 55," "Right Now," and "WhyCan't This Be Love."

In Red, Sammy tells the outrageous story ofhis tear through rock 'n' roll. From the decadenceof being one of the world's biggest rock stars tothe unfiltered story of being forced out of VanHalen, Sammy's account spares no one, leastof all himself. His is a tale of a true rock 'n'roller—someone who's spent decades bringingthe party with him wherever he goes but alwaysheadin' back to Cabo for más tequila.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Sammy Hagar has had a long run and it isn't over yet. After a brief attempt at professional boxing, the singer and guitarist known as "The Red Rocker" began his music career in Southern California during the late sixties, then rocketed into fame as a solo star and a key member of several top bands, most notably Van Halen. Stories of his stormy years with that group and its notorious leader Eddie Van Halen form a central part of this anecdote-filled memoir. Unforgettable stories about fame, feuds, and offstage frenzy. (Hand-selling tip: Van Halen is one of the most successful bands in rock history. To date, they have sold more than 80 million records.)

Associated Press Staff
“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.”
Ted Nugent
“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.”
Whoopi Goldberg
“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.”
Michael Anthony
“Sammy’s no bullsh*tter. If Sammy says it happened, it did. There’s nobody else anywhere like him.”
Toby Keith
“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.”
Kenny Chesney
“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!”
Jimmie Johnson
“Sam’s the man. Tequila, fast cars, rock ‘n’ roll—my kind of guy.”
Emeril Lagasse
“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.
Associated Press
“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.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062009296
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/13/2012
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 210,846
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Sammy Hagar

Sammy Hagar is the multiplatinum Red Rocker, the outgoing, bombastic front man of hard rock champions Van Halen, currently embarked on his fourth platinum career with his supergroup, Chickenfoot. In addition to his legendary status among rock stars, he is the masterful entrepreneur behind Cabo Wabo tequila. When he's not on the road, he splits his time among California, Hawaii, and Mexico.

Joel Selvin is an award-winning journalist who has covered pop music for the San Francisco Chronicle since 1970. He is the author of the bestselling Summer of Love and nine other books about pop music.

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Read an Excerpt

Red

My Uncensored Life in Rock
By Sammy Hagar

HarperCollins

Copyright © 2011 Sammy Hagar
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-06-200928-9


Chapter One

When I was growing up, Fontana, California, was all
orange groves, grape vineyards, and chicken ranches. I
could eat oranges, grapefruits, and tangerines all fucking day if I
wanted. I had to walk through an orange grove just to go to my
next-door neighbor's house. There really was no neighborhood.
It was long before tract homes. At the corner of each of the long
country blocks, there were these big, ten-foot-tall cement tanks
with open roofs on them, called water weirs, which fed water
to the houses from clean, clear Lytle Creek in the foothills. The
water weirs had a float on them, and when the water got too low,
the float would kick on and they'd fill back up like a toilet. Each
one had a ladder going up so guys could ser vice them, and kids
would drown in them all the time. We always heard a rumor that
some kid got polio from one of them. But it was our drinking
water and it was ice-cold. In the summer, we used to jump in and
swim. Not swim, but dunk down, get cooled off, and climb out.
I don't want to say we'd piss in them, but we did.
My dad moved to Fontana because he heard the steel mill was
hiring. When I was born in Monterey County Hospital in Salinas,
California, Dad and Mom had been picking lettuce in the
fields and living in a camp where everyone else was Mexican. The
Kaiser Steel Mill—the first steel mill west of the Mississippi—
pretty much made Fontana. Growing up, every kid in Fontana
was just trying to get through high school to get a job at Kaiser
Steel. We thought it paid great. Originally, you didn't even need
a high school diploma, but, as Kaiser Steel built up, and other
plants opened up, making pipes or big beams, you needed a high
school diploma. Unless, of course, they got a big order and needed
the people. Then they'd hire anybody, and lay you off when they
got the job done. But everybody was happy to go there and make
whatever they were paying.
It was a brutal job though, working at a steel mill in a 160-
degree heat, pieces of hot metal flying out at you. My dad worked
in the open hearth, the hottest, hardest work in the plant, where
they pour the ingots into big troughs and make steel. Molten
fucking steel. He came home with his clothes drenched from sweat,
and he used to take salt tablets every day before he went to work.
He had probably the lowest job on the totem pole, and they moved
his schedule almost every week. He would go from swing shift to
graveyard shift to day shift. Sometimes he'd come home at mid-
night and go to work again at six in the morning. He got burned
real bad one time—the side of his face was completely taken off.
Just from the heat. It wasn't steel hitting him. It was that he got
too close or there was a flare-up or something and it just fucking
ripped the skin off his face.
My dad's parents had been migrant farm workers who came
out from Kentucky on a covered wagon. They'd picked cotton all
the way through Texas, and my dad was born in Texas. Two kids
were—that's how long they were in Texas. They had thirteen kids.
He had a younger sister, but he was the youngest boy. My dad was
handsome and athletic, but he was a bad little fucker. He would beat
the shit out of his big brothers. My uncle told me my dad chased his
big brother, my uncle Charlie, up a tree. My dad sat there, smoking
a cigarette, waiting for him to come down to beat his butt. Charlie
slept in the tree rather than take an ass-kicking from my dad.
My mom, Gladys, was born in Los Angeles. Her dad came over
from Italy when he was eleven years old and never learned to speak,
read, or write English. He and my grandma—she was Italian, too—
never owned a house. They lived in a trailer and were always on the
move. He was a chef and he went where the work was. He cooked in
Yosemite and went up to Klamath when the salmon were running.
He would hunt and fish and work only when he had to. During the
winter season, he would cook in Palm Springs, make these huge
buffets at the lodge where President Eisenhower stayed. But when
the season was over, he'd pack up, take all his money, steal every-
thing he could out of the restaurant, and take off in the middle of
the night. The guy was a complete thief—a real crook, my grandpa,
and a prick, too. Once in a while he was nice. I'm named after the
fucker, Sam Roy. They raised my mom and her sister that way. She
grew up in a tent and didn't finish seventh grade.
Mom and Dad got married when she was fifteen. Mom always
said all the girls liked him in high school. My dad had dreams. He
wanted to be a big-shot kind of guy. He liked hanging around big
shots. Bob Hope used to let him caddy on weekends, when he was
growing up in Palm Springs. She was sixteen years old when she had
my oldest sister, Bobbi. Practically the day she had the baby, as soon
as she came home from the hospital, she got pregnant again with
my other sister. My sisters Velma and Bobbi are nine months apart.
My father could beat up anybody. I was so proud of that, growing
He was such a bad-ass. When he was younger, Bobby Hagar
fought bantamweight. He won his first eight fights by knockouts.
He was a little guy, five foot eight, same size as me, but that son
of a bitch could hit—he could have been something. But he got
drafted during World War II, shortly after he'd gotten my mother
pregnant again with my brother, Robert. My father shipped out as
a paratrooper. He'd never even been in an airplane and suddenly
he's jumping out of them. On his first jump, over a battlefield in
France, his parachute went way off course. He tangled in trees and
smashed his face into a tree trunk. He had a Tommy gun and, as he
was coming down, he was scared, so he sprayed the ground with
bullets. He banged into the tree and broke his jaw. He cut himself
down. He dug a hole, and stayed in a foxhole for a few days. His
jaw was killing him. He was disoriented, obviously all banged up
from hitting this tree, but he had his gun. Nearby was a German
soldier, also separated from his unit, and they played a fox-and-
mouse game until my dad killed him in a shootout. I think it really
screwed up his head. Killing someone one-on-one isn't like shooting
people you don't know. My dad lived with this guy for a couple of
days, sneaking around, not sleeping at night, really not wanting to
mess with each other, but every now and then, taking a potshot.
When he returned to his company, he was crazy. He was freaked
out that he shot the guy. Plus he was a bad-ass anyway. He emptied
his magazine in the ground in front of his commanding officer.

Told him to dance. That earned him a dishonorable discharge,
to say the least, and by the time he came back to California, he
was a complete alcoholic and madman. The war had really fucked
him up. My mom said when he got home from the war, he used to
jump up from bed in the middle of the night and shout, "Where's
my Tommy gun? Where's my Tommy gun?"
I was born a few years later, on October 13, 1947, and by that
point we were bone fucking poor. But even as I got older, I never
knew just how bad off we were. My mom was a great cook and
she could make do with things, so we always ate good. I went
around hungry a lot because I never had any money. If I wanted to
eat, I had to go home and either wait for Mom or cook something
myself. I was cooking for myself when I was eight years old. I saw
what my mom did. I could boil spaghetti and take canned tomatoes-
or fresh tomatoes out of our garden. I could make tomato
sauce. It didn't seem poor to me. My mom was clean as a pin.
Our house was spotless. Our clothes were always laundered. She
ironed them, stayed up until four in the morning doing ironing for
other people and then ironed our clothes.
My mom always had a chicken coop and we always kept chickens.
Whenever we moved (which was a lot), we took the chickens.
We never owned a house, and we were always leaving my dad be-
cause he was a terrible alcoholic who beat up my mom. When my
dad would come home drunk, we'd sneak out of the house in the
middle of the night and go sleep in the orange groves. Mom hid
blankets wrapped in plastic bags, a flashlight, and little stashes of
water and food out in back, ready for the times we had to jump
out of the window in the middle of the night.
It was always on payday. He got paid on Thursdays, and when
he wouldn't come home directly after work, Mom would begin
making plans. He'd come home drunk, start yelling and screaming.
He never beat us kids, but he'd thump my mom around.
Everybody in the family hated my dad, but they were all scared of
him. My sister Velma hit him over the head with a baseball bat
one time, because he had my mom on the ground. She came up
behind him—she was about twelve years old—and bashed him in
the head and bloodied up the place bad. My mom got up and we
ran. We got out of there.
So we'd leave my dad, and once he was left alone, he would
lose the house. He'd stay there, wouldn't go to work, and wouldn't
pay the rent, until he'd get kicked out of the house by the cops.
He usually got thrown in jail. That was the standard end result of
his binge. Sometimes he'd get in the car and get thrown in jail for
drunk driving. We'd have to go find a new house every time and
move, or my mom would borrow a trailer that her father owned.
But somehow we'd always end up with my dad again.
Right before I was born, my mom had a miscarriage. She didn't
want to get pregnant. She hated my dad by then. She knew he was
crazy and didn't want another kid. She just wanted to raise the
kids she already had and get the hell out of the marriage. She had
known that for a long time. She had a miscarriage and immediately
got pregnant again. She was bumming. She didn't like to tell
me that, but later on in life she pretty much told me. "You're lucky
to be alive, boy," she said. "If I'd have had that other baby, if it
wouldn't have been a miscarriage, I never would have had you." I
loved my dad, but he was crazy.
For some reason, my dad was tough on my older brother,
Robert. Dad would call him "flea-brain" and my brother would
start crying, which only caused Dad to make more fun of him.
"Wahhhhh," he would say. "You sound like a damn siren, you
little shit."
He hated my sisters, too. When they turned into teenagers and
started seeing boys, that was when the whole thing blew out. He
got so drunk he beat up one of my sister's boyfriends. That was the
end of the deal for him and my mom.
I was his favorite. I was the king. I was "muscle-brain." He called
me Champ, like I was the next champion of the world. He would
introduce me to his buddies. "Hey, here's Champ," he would say.
"He's got a left hand on him." He was going to make a boxer out
of me. Every day, I'd come home from school, and if my dad was
there, he'd make me train. He'd make himself a BLT—he was a big
BLT man—and sit there in his work clothes, ready to go to work.
"Put on the gloves," he'd say. It wouldn't matter if I'd brought
a friend home; my dad would say, "Put on the boxing gloves with
your buddy here." He'd make my brother get on his knees to box
me. He made me box every day. He'd put on the gloves with me,
and teach me. He would take me to gyms and make me hit the
heavy bags. "Step into it and twist your body," he would tell me.
My dad was left-handed, so he could pop you totally unexpected,
like southpaws can. Even if you know how to fight a little
bit, lefties come backward at you. Plus, he was a hard puncher.
Some boxers have that gift. There are just guys who can punch.
There is something to the magic of timing, how you put your
weight, and all these things. Being a southpaw and knowing how
to punch, he just knocked people out. He was a one-punch wonder.
Because my dad hit so hard, I learned how not to get hit. By the
time I was eight years old, I was getting really fast. I would stand
on the outside and move in. He'd try to hit me once in a while and
I'd weave. He loved that. He used to really brag it up about me.
My brother was bigger than me. He could hit harder. I didn't want
to get hit by him, either, so I just kept becoming faster. In and out,
in and out. I had a great left jab for a little kid. I used to beat up
my neighbors, my buddies. I'd give them bloody noses and my dad
would give me a quarter.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Red by Sammy Hagar Copyright © 2011 by Sammy Hagar. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Michael Anthony IX

1 Hard Luck Son of a Bitch 1

2 Mobile Home Blues 17

3 Going to San Francisco 29

4 Montrose 45

5 The Red Rocker 61

6 Can't Drive Fifty-five 75

7 5150 95

8 Monsters of Rock 119

9 Right Here, Right Now 145

10 Cabo Wabo 153

11 Father's Day 163

12 Mas Tequila 181

13 Enter Irving 195

14 Samurai Hair 205

15 Going Home 219

16 Who Wants to Be a Billionaire? 231

Afterword 239

Note From The Coauthor 249

Acknowledgments 251

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 236 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(109)

4 Star

(75)

3 Star

(34)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(10)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 237 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 17, 2011

    A Must for all Red Heads!!! Love it!

    I've had a thing for Sammy Hagar and Eddie Van Halen since I was 15. If you love the Red Rocker as much as I do, this is a must read. It's well written and has great pictures. It gives the reader the sense that the life we envy of the Rock Star isn't always glamorous. They are alot like all of us- human. You get a great visual picture of the music business. It brought back memories of the Van Halen concerts and the heartbreak when I saw the Samuri hair and the bizarre way Eddie was on stage the last concert I went to. Thanks Sammy for sharing with us!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 18, 2011

    Enjoyable, but ...

    RED is a great behind-the-rocker story and will be appreciated by Hagar fans. I have to say that the writing could've been a lot better. A good editor should've caught the misspellings (David Gilmore? Really?) and punctuation problems and added some needed clarity to areas to the book. (For example: it was sometimes hard to follow which "he" was being referred to in some instances and there were transitions in time that weren't set up.) Sammy is a remarkable man and his story is fascinating; it's a pity that the writing bogged down his story a bit.

    That said, this is a fascinating tale from an engaging guy. From a very humble upbringing (to say the least) to his tireless pursuit of living his dream, RED is a good story with a happy ending.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 30, 2012

    True To Life Sammy...a must read

    Sammy presents his life, in a way that only he could, from beginning to present day. While it may not be a Whiting Award nominee, this book quickly rose to become one of my favorites. My only regret was that the last page came too quickly. If you're a Red Rocker fan - or even just curious - you'll need to read this to hear it from the man himself in his own words.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2012

    Confusing but good

    I enjoyed reading and watching the videos. I found that following the time lines confusing. They were going back a forth for different stories, so I wasn't sure when somethings were happening. I had a problem with one video not playing. I archived the book, then unarchived, that cured the problem.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 7, 2012

    RedRocker Rules......

    If you like the RedRocker (Sammy Hagar), Van Halen or Chickenfoot.... This book is great, I could not put it down. Love his bio, so honest and a all around Great Guy ..

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 5, 2011

    Highly Recommended - you must check it out!!

    This book was an amazing look behind at the life and career of Sammy, from Montrose through Van Halen and Chickenfoot. If you're a fan of Sammy this is a must read. There are spelling and grammatical errors but it's written as if he were telling the story himself rather than through a separate writer. He writes songs not novels so I cut him some slack. Excellent read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 2, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good Read!

    I started this think it was just another jumble of some rock star, but I was wrong. This was actually a pretty good read. It explains his life as well as his stardom.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 22, 2011

    Loved this book and now i am in love with Sammy!!

    Excellent book that i had a tough time putting down! It made me want to go back and listen to his music. Definitely worth the money!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 3, 2014

    Great Read!!!

    I'm not a big Sammy Hagar or Van Halen fan but this is a great book. Sammy Hagar is a surprising character and a great business man and entrepreneur. What a surprise!!!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2013

    I enjoyed this book. Sammy's writing style was a little offputt

    I enjoyed this book. Sammy's writing style was a little offputting to me at first - I don't like to read profanity unless it is in dialogue. It just seems a little too much like the writer is trying to impress me with how rebellious he is or something. Still, getting over my initial dislike of his style, I stuck with it and it really is enjoyable reading about his solo years as well as his years with Van Halen. I think Duff McKagan's book (gave that one 5 stars) is better but this book is also quite good. Would recommend it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 12, 2013

    Really liked this book.

    Great read. Couldnt put it down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2013

    Awful!

    Waste of time n money!don't buy this book!turn bsck now while you still can

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2013

    Good book from one of the nice guys of Rock and Roll

    Sammy is a very personable guy and it comes through in this book. He is one of those guys that has his hands in a dozen things at a time and brings energy and charisma to everything he touches. I get the impression that many of his former bandmates and collabirators are imtimidated by that, hence his many struggles with Montrose and VH. I feel bad for Eddie already, but some of Sam's insight makes me feel worse for him. Eddie seems like a real Howard Hughes now. Anyway the book is a good read and a look into the life of an actually nice guy rock and roller and an underated vet of the industry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2013

    Dsnny

    How am i a cheater?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2013

    Jace

    Perhaps four down? I'd rather not get flagged by a bunch of preteens.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2013

    Go Sammy

    Easy read. Nice depiction of his high values life in the music business.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2012

    Nichole to jayson

    Wat you doing im doing nothing

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 27, 2012

    A good read.  Sammy gave a very good insight into the glam and n

    A good read.  Sammy gave a very good insight into the glam and not so glam side of rock and roll.  
    What I mean is he gave it a human side that even though he's a rock and roll star along with the Van Halan
    brothers and montrose they all make mistakes like everyone else.  Felt like I got to hang out with 
    Sammy Hagar for a few hours.  

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 11, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    I am a Sammy fan and a rock fan. I looked forward to reading hi

    I am a Sammy fan and a rock fan. I looked forward to reading his story and finished the book quickly. I had always thought of Sammy to be someone us "regular" folk can relate to, but was a little let down in that regard. I think he did a really good job of painting a positive picture and casting a golden glow over his life experiences.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2012

    Not happy

    Well not happy purchased sammy book then my nook had to be rrplace 3 times in a moth so purchased a different device now i cant reed the book i purchased

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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