Sammy Hagar: “What It Would Take for Me to Reunite with Van Halen”

(Image credit: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images)

It’s been more than a year since Sammy Hagar sent Eddie Van Halen a birthday greeting via Twitter, signaling a thawing in their frosty relationship and leading fans to wonder if a Van Hagar reunion could be possible.

But Hagar, who recently reunited with his group Chickenfoot, tells Billboard he sees little chance of that happening.

“Let’s put it like this,” he says in a new interview with the magazine. “When it came to my birthday, I didn’t get a message, so obviously that camp, him and Al [drummer Alex Van Halen], still have some kind of trip against me.

“I’m certainly not looking to get back in that band when I’ve got Chickenfoot sitting in my lap, and I’m scared to grab the reigns of that one. Van Halen would be twice the nightmare of the workload and the anxieties about getting along or being worried about being stabbed in the back again or something. I don’t want to put myself in that situation, that’s for sure.”

In other words, don’t expect that reunion to happen anytime soon.

But wait, Sam says—there is one potential opening here. Hagar says he could be persuaded if Van Halen would go back on the road with him and current singer David Lee Roth as well as founding bassist Michael Anthony, with the two singers trading off songs.

“That’s really the only way I would be interested in a Van Halen reunion,” Hagar says, though it’s doubtful Ed would be willing to leave his son, and current bassist, Wolfgang out of the picture.

Hagar is even proposing to do just such a tour and donate the proceeds to charity.

“Everybody’s saying, ‘Well, what would it take?’” he says. “For me, no money, man. I don’t need money. I would do that for the fans and give the money to food banks or something. I’m not sure anybody else would agree with me, but that would interest me enough to sit down across the table from everybody and work that one out.”

Hagar and Anthony’s last outing with the Van Halen brothers was for a 2004 U.S. summer tour. Reportedly, Anthony agreed to a pay cut and signed away his rights to the band name and logo in order to perform.

For now, both Hagar and Anthony are busy with Chickenfoot, the group they formed with Joe Satriani and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. The band just released Best + Live, a collection that includes their new song, “Divine Termination.” The song, streaming below, is the band’s first new material in five years.

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Christopher Scapelliti

Christopher Scapelliti is editor-in-chief of Guitar Player magazine, the world’s longest-running guitar magazine, founded in 1967. In his extensive career, he has authored in-depth interviews with such guitarists as Pete Townshend, Slash, Billy Corgan, Jack White, Elvis Costello and Todd Rundgren, and audio professionals including Beatles engineers Geoff Emerick and Ken Scott. He is the co-author of Guitar Aficionado: The Collections: The Most Famous, Rare, and Valuable Guitars in the World, a founding editor of Guitar Aficionado magazine, and a former editor with Guitar WorldGuitar for the Practicing Musician and Maximum Guitar. Apart from guitars, he maintains a collection of more than 30 vintage analog synthesizers.