"I think that was his statement to me": Sammy Hagar took Alex Van Halen's recent sale of his musical equipment personally

Sammy Hagar onstage, raising a drink in salute
(Image credit: Scott Dudelson via Getty Images)

Sammy Hagar took Alex Van Halen's recent sale of his drumming and other musical equipment personally. 

"I think that was his statement to me," Hagar, who had approached Van Halen about joining, in some capacity, his Van Halen-centric The Best of All Worlds tour this summer in North America, tells Classic Rock. "I think that was his way of saying, 'I'm over. I'm done.' It's a shame."

Working with Backstage Auctions in Houston, Van Halen's auction included 350 lots, including "a wide array of memorabilia, such as drum kits, snare drums, kid drums, road cases, drumheads, cymbals, gongs, sticks and mallets, personal items, record awards, autographed pieces, and so much more." Bidding opened on June 1 and closed on June 9. 

Hagar says that once he and original Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony – who plays with Hagar in The Circle and Chickenfoot – decided to do the tour, which falls 20 years after his 2004 reunion trek with Van Halen, he "immediately reached out to Al and said, 'Hey, we're gonna do this. It's been 20 years, Al. We ain't getting any younger. Meet me any time, any place, anywhere -- breakfast, lunch, dinner. My house. Your house. The beach. I don't care. You want to go bungee jumping? Whatever you want to do. Let's go talk about this.'"

Van Halen, of course, has been out of sight and incommunicado since the 2020 death of his brother, guitar legend Eddie Van Halen. And while Hagar had reconnected with Eddie before he passed away, he was met with deafening silence to his entreaties to the drummer -- who is, however, publishing a memoir entitled Brothers on October 12. 

"No response," Hagar says. "I hit him again. No response. I called (manager) Irving Azoff; he goes, 'Al doesn't want to play with anybody. He's still mourning his brother's death... I don't think he's ready.' And I said, 'Well, get him to talk to me.' (Azoff) goes, 'OK, here's his wife's email. Maybe (contact) her.' Nope. Nope. Nope. Not one response. I just said, 'The guy don't want to play. OK.' I don't think he wants to play with me or anybody else. He just sold all his equipment.

"There's a time I was saying, 'Oh, he'll show up. You watch, he'll fuckin' show up at the (Los Angeles) Forum or something.' Mike and I had this running joke that we were gonna put him on the guest list every night of every show, just for fun. But, no, after selling his drums, he ain't showing up nowhere, I can guarantee you that."

The Best of All Worlds tour is going on, however, with Hagar and Anthony joined by Circle mate Jason Bonham on drums, Joe Satriani on guitar and Rai Thistlethwayte on keyboards and guitar. The 28-date tour kicks off on July 13 in West Palm Beach, FL. and runs through August 31 in St. Louis, MO, with Loverboy opening (full dates below). 

Hagar has been posting social media videos from the rehearsals, thrilling fans with snippets of Van Halen songs that haven't been played live in many years as well as favourites from his solo career and the Montrose and Chickenfoot catalogues – a Hagar spin on Taylor Swift's Eras Tour, if you like.

"I've never had a set list this good in my life, how about that – including in Van Halen?" Hagar says. "We have cherry-picked both eras (of Van Halen, including David Lee Roth material). We have cherry-picked my solo career. We have cherry-picked Montrose, and we've cherry-picked Chickenfoot, and it doesn't get any better. I'm sorry – this is the best setlist in rock'n'roll right now, in my opinion, because it's all the eras and all the different bands.

"I like calling it not just The Best of All Worlds, I like calling it the Thank You Tour. It's thank you to the fans, thank you for everything you did for us and we’re gonna do this for you now and we're all gonna have fun and live happily ever after."

Sammy Hagar: The Best of All Worlds tour

Jul 13: West Palm Beach iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre, FL                       
Jul 14: Tampa MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre, FL
Jul 16: Alpharetta Ameris Bank Amphitheatre, GA
Jul 19: Charlotte PNC Music Pavilion, NC                                     
Jul 20: Bristow Jiffy Lube Live, VA                                        
Jul 22: Saratoga Springs Broadview Stage at SPAC, NY                        
Jul 24: Bridgeport Hartford HealthCare Amphitheater, CT
Jul 26: Mansfield Xfinity Center, MA                                    
Jul 27: Holmdel PNC Bank Arts Center, NJ                                                                       
Jul 29: Cuyahoga Falls Blossom Music Center, OH                                                        
Jul 31: Toronto Budweiser Stage, ON, Canada
Aug 02: Clarkston Pine Knob Music Theatre, MI                                     
Aug 03: Tinley Park Credit Union 1 Amphitheatre, IL                                    
Aug 09: Las Vegas MGM Grand Garden Arena, NV
Aug 11: Morrison Red Rocks Amphitheatre, CO                                                  
Aug 13: Spokane Airway Heights BECU Live at Northern Quest, WA
Aug 14: Ridgefield RV Inn Style Resort Amphitheater, WA                                  
Aug 16: Wheatland Toyota Amphitheatre, CA                                  
Aug 17: Concord Toyota Pavilion, CA                                                  
Aug 19: Los Angeles Kia Forum, CA                                
Aug 20: Phoenix Talking Stick Resorts Amphitheatre, AZ
Aug 22: Dallas Dos Equis Pavilion, TX                                            
Aug 23: Houston Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion , TX                                         
Aug 25: Rogers Walmart AMP, AR                                                               
Aug 27: Cincinnati Riverbend Music Center, OH                                   
Aug 28: Nashville Bridgestone Arena, TN                                                                
Aug 30: Noblesville Ruoff Music Center, IN                                    
Aug 31: St. Louis Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, MO                                      

Tickets are on sale now.

Sammy Hagar tour poster

(Image credit: Live Nation)
Gary Graff

Gary Graff is an award-winning veteran music journalist based in metro Detroit, writing regularly for Billboard, Ultimate Classic Rock, Media News Group, Music Connection, United Stations Radio Networks and others. Graff’s work has also appeared in Rolling Stone, Guitar World, Classic Rock, Revolver, the San Francisco Chronicle, AARP magazine, the Detroit Jewish News, The Forward and others. Graff has co-written and edited books about Bob Seger, Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen. A professional voter for the Grammy Awards and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Graff co-founded the Detroit Music Awards in 1989 and continues as the organisation’s chief producer.