Sammy Hagar Says Final Phone Call With Eddie Van Halen ‘Broke My Heart, But Thank God We Connected’

Sammy Hagar says he is grateful that he had one last chance to speak to Eddie Van Halen before the guitarist passed away earlier this year.
Hagar speaks to Variety of Big Sky, Montana, where he launched Santo Reposado, the newest expression in his Santo Tequila line. He regretted the distance between him and Van Halen and is happy that the two finally managed to find a deal.
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"Poor Eddie broke my heart, but thank God we bonded before [he died]," says Hagar. “I heard he was in bad shape and I wanted to get in touch. I finally said, "I'll just give him a call."
However, Hagar said it proved difficult to get a grip on his former bandmate as he no longer had Van Halen's number. "I called his brother, I called his manager, I called his friends and I would say," Hey, tell Ed, give him my phone number. Tell him if he ever wants to speak to me, I really, really want to talk it through, help him, and see what I can do, ”says Hagar. "I [told them]," I want to be his friend, I want to bury the hatchet, "but they never made it."
In the end, says Hagar, it was George Lopez of all people who finally brought the two together. “George is a dear friend and he was Eddie's friend and he said, 'Sammy, Eddie is in bad shape, he loves you brother, you need to get in touch. 'I said,' Give me his fucking number and I'll make sure I'll call him. '"
When Hagar finally reached Van Halen, the singer said there was nothing but love between the longtime music partners. "I said," Why don't you answer? I tried, "Hagar recalls," and Ed said, "Why didn't you call me? Don't fucking call my brother, call me the fuck!" And I said, "I love you, man "and it was like, boom, we were good. It was a nice thing, ”says Hagar.
Van Halen died in October after a long battle with cancer. Hagar confirms that a Van Halen group reunion tour was planned prior to the guitarist's illness. "Eddie and Al [Alex Van Halen] and Irving Azoff, their managers [and] my dear friend, we wanted to do the reunion tour with everyone the way it had to be," says Hagar, confirming that the tour would have both including himself and David Lee Roth, whom Hager famously replaced in 1985. “I've been pushing for it for 10 years,” says Hager, adding that he was willing “to put [all differences] aside. Let's give the fans the greatest band in the world, you know what I mean? "he says." You won't get any bigger than Van Halen and the fans deserve to see it all and hear every song. "
While Hagar enjoyed success as a solo singer and with his band The Circle, he said it was always the Van Halen catalog that fans wanted to hear. "You know, you just walk up to me, I'll sing some of the Dave songs, but I'd never sing enough," he says, "and then he can't sing my songs so they never heard you know that Van Halen hits, the # 1 albums we've had. And so it's not fair. You know, there's always a bitch, ”Hagar jokes. "Every time we meet again, whatever it was, it was a bitch. But yes, that would have been wonderful. "
Although the reunion tour won't take place, Hagar had been touring with The Circle before the coronavirus pandemic brought live shows to a standstill. The 73-year-old admits it was nice to slow down for a while, although he'd like to get back on the road if it's safe to do so. "I'm starting to really miss it now," he says.
Nonetheless, the free time has given Hagar the opportunity to focus on some of his other projects, including Santo, the premium tequila line he co-founded with celebrity chef Guy Fieri. In mid-December, the long-time friends held a socially distant kick-off event at the upscale Lone Mountain Ranch in Montana to introduce their new Santo Reposado. The barrel-aged 100% agave tequila complements Santos Blanco-Tequila and the brand's popular tequila-mezcal blend, the aptly named Santo Mezquila, as part of the brand's range.
Hagar, whose Cabo Wabo Tequila brand inspired a Van Halen song of the same name in the 1980s, said he quickly turned his former bandmates into "tequila guys," and he knows Eddie Van Halen would have loved Santo Tequila too. "Every band member loved tequila," says Hagar, adding, "Everyone on the planet loves tequila - it's just fun."
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