Sammy Hagar must continually get asked leading questions about his Van Halen predecessor David Lee Roth, because it's the only way to account for some of the observations/vitriol he comes out with about Diamond Dave during interviews. A recent episode of Steve-O's Wild Ride Podcast is a case in point.
In his defence, Steve-O raises the subject of Van Halen and Roth quite a lot, and Hagar is a straight talker but that also means he doesn't hold back on the subject of Roth and his perceptions of him. "He's not a fun guy. He doesn't play well with others," Hagar told the host and Jackass member. "I'm not sure what his problem is."
"He just always is about, ‘How can I make this guy look bad?’ And not just me. ... He's a chest-beating motherf****r – and God Bless him, because that early stuff is frickin' great. I've tried to say, he'd be a fun guy to know but he ain't like that, he ain't like his persona. When you get around that guy he's some other cat. "
Hagar warmed to the theme of Diamond Dave later in the interview, putting the boot in on his vocal ability after Steve-O's suggestion Roth is more of a vaudeville entertainer. "He's a showman, and I'm a showman too, that's his gig, but he doesn't care about singing," responded Hagar, If he did, he'd take care of his voice, or he'd take voice lessons – he'd warm up, he'd do something," Hagar added. "Because the guy sang so bad last time he was doing shows, it was embarrassing to me."
Ouch. And you think he might have been done there? No way! Elsewhere Hagar was bullish when comparing their respective post-Van Halen / Van Hagar solo careers and their decision to join forces for a tour in 2002.
"I was selling out arenas. I was selling out amphitheaters," Hagar boasted. "Dave, he had that sort of a big album, one kind of a big album, but he didn't have a solo career. He was playing small places. So, when he came in with me, he was making, like, $25,000 a night [on his own solo dates], I was making $150,000 a night, and they said, 'Oh you guys are gonna make the same money. Dave gets to make 150.'
"'He ain't f*****g made 150 in his life except in Van Halen!'" Hagar recalled as his reaction to the request. "But I said, 'I've gotta do this.' So I bent over backwards. And he still always tried to f*** with the rules."
For his part, Roth has remained silent on the subject of Hagar in recent years, choosing to spend his creative energies on, er, rerecording Van Halen classic Unchained.
Neither is arguably a good look. But the records show both singers sold around 46 million albums during their respective legendary tenures with Van Halen. Let's call it a draw!
But the real nugget of the podcast appearance comes around 37 minutes in, when Hagar airs his frustrations with Alex Van Halen and the vocalist hopes to reunite 3/4 of the Van Hagar lineup for shows.
"Do you realise what a great thing we could do? With Michael Anthony – still sings and plays his ass off, he's in my band The Circle – and I can still sing and play my ass off, Alex can still play his ass off," Hagar opined. "And we just need a guitar player, then we can go out and play the best setlist. We'll play 50/50 [we assume he's referring to a set split with Roth here]. I've already said it, I presented it to him; we'll play 50/50, we'll go to Vegas and do a residency, we'll play one big stadium show and give all the money away [to charity]. I'll take not one penny on the whole tour.
It looks like Alex Van Halen won't take the call. For his part, Hagar wants to do this for the fans with charities also benefitting.
"Let's do this thing – do ten shows, do 20 shows do 100 shows. I don't care," he continued. "But we've got to do it for the fans."
Check out Hagar's full podcast appearance above.