The Issue Is: Sammy Hagar
This week on The Issue Is, an exclusive sit-down with the Red Rocker himself, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and former Van Halen front-man, Sammy Hagar.
Hagar speaks with FOX 11 anchor Elex Michaelson at the new Cabo Wabo Beach Club at The Waterfront Hotel in Huntington Beach, the first Beach Club location in Hagar’s Cabo Wabo restaurant chain.
In a wide-ranging conversation, Michaelson and Hagar discuss Hagar’s life story, from growing up in poverty in the Inland Empire, at times on the brink of homelessness, to a rocker and wildly-successful business tycoon.
They also talk Hagar’s charity work, donating proceeds from his restaurants and concerts to local charities and food banks, his time in Van Halen, his possible alien abduction in the 1960s, and much more.
THE ISSUE IS: THE CABO WABO BEACH CLUB IN HUNTINGTON BEACH
HAGAR’S CENTRAL TAKE: "We're in Huntington Beach, California... this is my first beach club. You know, I started the Cabo Wabo brand way back in '88, wrote the song 'Cabo Wabo' with Van Halen, and I said, I'm going to build the place called the Cabo Wabo. And I did. And then I said, I'm going to have my own tequila, and I did. It's like all these crazy things that I never dreamed of that I was going to do, you know, until it just like one door opened...
"It's not just about eating at the restaurant. No, you got the beach all day. You're going to a great shopping down the street. So Huntington Beach is a really cool area and there's a lot of music around here, there's a lot of clubs and bars, you know, they've got bands there that play and it's a cool place…"
THE ISSUE IS: GROWING UP IN POVERTY AND THE VALUE OF THE BEACH
HAGAR’S CENTRAL TAKE: "When I was growing up poor, everyone knows that, if you don't know, I was poor... almost homeless at times, we slept in cars with my mom, had an alcoholic father, and I was raised by a single mom from the time I was 5-years-old. Four kids, too…
"We'd go to the beach. It's like, you know, our splurge was Mom's going to put dollars worth of gas in the car and we're going to go to the beach and we could bring our friends. And it was, it's the free thing that you can do, and it was just such a joy to me growing up in Fontana, which is, you know, 60 miles from from the beach…
"The beautiful thing about the beach is, to me, it's still my favorite place in the world, you know, I have to be on a beach. I have multiple homes, and there all in beach areas, you know, in Mexico and stuff, I'm so in love with it. So I just really promote the fact that you can be laying next to Oprah Winfrey and, you know, Warren Buffett, right, and be broke on your ass and you're going to breathe the same air, getting that same water, getting the same sun and laying on the same beach. And that's for free…"
THE ISSUE IS: DONATING TO LOCAL FOOD BANKS AND CHARITIES
HAGAR’S CENTRAL TAKE: "The result is the thing that gets the hook in the mouth, because when you do it locally, you get to see the results and you get to meet some of the kids and the parents. And you can go down to the local food bank that you just donated money to and you can hand out food and you can really talk to the people and feel what you're doing…
"Every city I played for for 15 years, every city I played, every country, I mean, I do sometimes 100 shows a year. I donate money to the local food bank in that town, and it's awesome for 15 years. That's I recommend more artists do that…"
THE ISSUE IS: VAN HALEN AND THE ROCKSTAR LIFESTYLE
HAGAR’S CENTRAL TAKE: "It's like the King-for-a-day, every day... In those days in Van Halen, especially in the eighties, where you were just rich, famous, and you had everything going, It was like you could have anything you wanted. And thank God I'm kind of a conservative guy, the fact that I always cared more about my health and the music, that I was able to get on stage and sing, so I didn't party all night. I'm a singer, you know, it's like, you can't do that to your voice, you know, the guys that did, you can hear them, you know, they can't sing today…
"So I was always like, so tempted, I did plenty of it, trust me, but it would be like midnight or 1:00 in the morning, and I'd say 'I'm out of here.' I would make my tour manager, my bodyguard, whoever I was hanging out with, I'd make him, I'd say, 'now look, I don't care what I tell you, you take me to my room and if I come to your room in the middle of the night and say, Hey, you know, don't let me'... I had a couple of good guys that really, really took care of me…"
THE ISSUE IS: AN ALIEN SIGHTING?
HAGAR’S CENTRAL TAKE: "I was sleeping and it was in the 1960's, so there was no wireless things, and I was wirelessly contacted and I felt like I was being downloaded, either something was uploading or downloading, I don't think they were downloading information, I think they were uploading to see what I knew, so I feel like I was like an experiment, you know, like a lab rat…
"When I woke from it and I caught it happening, I could actually see the guys, cause we were connected... and they were exactly these things that these guys are talking about, this flying saucer with a little dome, these two little guys sitting there, and it was like, 'wow,' my mind expanded, that's all it did, it just made me think, 'wow, there's something else out there, there's something going on'..."
THE ISSUE IS: LESSONS FROM COVID THAT IMPACTED HAGAR’S MUSIC
HAGAR’S CENTRAL TAKE: "We all went through this together and guess what, wake up, start caring about other people, care about yourself. I think we have to take care of the planet and take care of each other, and just really be careful, just get your head out of the hole and really start looking around and look up in the sky and realize it's a delicate system, man, and I think we've just got to be more conscientious, that's all I can say, everybody wake up…"
THE ISSUE IS: LESSONS FROM SAMMY HAGAR’S SUCCESS
HAGAR’S CENTRAL TAKE: "You can do anything you can put your mind to... I don't even have a high school education - I'm not proud of that - but I got thrown out of school my senior year and I just didn't go back. You just have to have passion, a good idea, have passion, and it usually has to have a higher meaning, you have to want it for all the right reasons, You know, being wanting to be rich and famous, everybody wants to be richer and more famous than they are, you know, but that isn't the real goal, the real goal is because you want to accomplish something and you just set your mind to it and I swear you can do it. Anyone can do it. I'm no special guy whatsoever, I just have good ideas, a ton of passion, and I'm willing to work my butt off…"
The Issue Is: with Elex Michaelson is California's only statewide political show. For showtimes and more information, go to TheIssueIsShow.com.