Just before the count-off, Sammy Hagar turns to a visitor and cackles. "This is like test-driving a new car," says the man whose pre-Van Halen fame is inextricably linked to his autobiographical 1984 single, "I Can't Drive 55". "With a new band, before you start it up, you're really not sure where it's going. But it's exciting."
From the first thunderous notes of Led Zeppelin's "Good Times Bad Times", it's apparent that this latest Hagar-and-pals machine is firing on all cylinders. That's good news for fans planning to hit Sammy Hagar: A Journey Through The History Of Rock, the group's upcoming run of summer shows, which kicks off Thursday at Rock Fest in Cadott, Wisconsin., and wraps up August 16th in Stateline, Nevada.
When the band puts the final cymbal crash on "Good Times", Hagar, 66, can't contain himself. "That was powerful, guys," he says to three compadres assembled at his private Northern California studio for the group's first rehearsal, which USA Today
was invited to attend. "This is going to work. Man, I love singing Zep tunes."
It doesn't hurt that pulling drum duty is Jason Bonham, son of iconic Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, while the bass lines are anchored by founding Van Halen member Michael Anthony. The note-perfect guitar riffs are supplied by Vic Johnson, longtime member of Hagar's house band, The Wabos.
For the next few hours, the foursome rips through a classic-rock mix of Zeppelin (Ramble On, When the Levee Breaks), Hagar-era Van Halen (Why Can't This Be Love, Best of Both Worlds), Chickenfoot (Big Foot) and Wabos (Mas Tequila).
There's a lot of good-natured banter back and forth, much of it focused on who will take which solos when and how Bonham should telegraph the wrap-up for each tune with a drum flourish.
Read more at USAToday.com
Check out more rehearsal photos, shot by Brad Starks, at this location
Hagar brings his Beach Bar Rum to Ontario (Canada) with an in-store appearance and product launch on July 22nd from 1:30 to 2:30 PM, at The LCBO at Yonge & Summerhill. "One sip and you'll surrender."
Hagar, known for the creation and overwhelming success of the Cabo Wabo Tequila brand, continues his success in the spirits industry with Sammy's Beach Bar Rum. In its first year on the market, the world class silver rum has consistently garnered praise and awards including Best of Show Winner at the 2012 DrinkSpirits.com Night Club & Bar Show, The 2012 San Francisco Spirits Competition Double Gold Package Design and the recipient of 94 points - the highest score ever given to a silver rum - by The Tasting Panel Magazine. Most recently, Sammy's Beach Bar Rum was named 2013 Beverage Industry News (BIN) Magazine Editor's Pick - Award of Excellence. To find a local retailer or for more information visit SammysBeachBarRum.com