Sammy Hagar recalls first contact with Eddie Van Halen

Hagar with Van Halen in the 80s
Hagar with Van Halen in the 80s (Image credit: Getty)

Sammy Hagar has recalled the moment he first heard from Eddie Van Halen which eventually led to him replacing David Lee Roth in the band in the 80s.

He was interviewed for TV show Jay Leno’s Garage, where Hagar shows off his 1982 Ferrari which appeared in The Red Rocker’s 1984 video for I Can’t Drive 55.

And while showing Leno the car now worth an estimated $350,000, Hagar reveals if it wasn’t for the vehicle, he would never have met Van Halen.

Hagar says: “I was just coming home from my tour and this car was getting its first major tune up. It was sitting in the shop and Eddie comes in with his Lamborghini and he goes, ‘Whose car is this?’ They said, ‘It’s Sammy Hagar’s – you should call him and get him in the band’ – because David Lee Roth quit a day or two before.

“And Eddie says, ‘You got his number?’ He goes into the damn office, picks up the phone and calls me right from there and says, ‘I’m looking at your car right here, man – why don’t you come down and let’s jam and join the band. After five minutes with those guys, and I went, ‘Yeah, this is good.’”

Hagar would go on to appear on Van Halen albums 5150, OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and Balance before being replaced by Gary Cherone.

Earlier this year, Hagar apologised to his former Van Halen bandmates after years of barbed comments, but insisted he wasn’t looking to rejoin the group.

His latest album This Is Sammy Hagar: When The Party Started, Volume 1 was released last week. It was preceded by a remix of his 2006 track Sam I Am.

Sammy Hagar: "What do you do with $80 million? Anything you want!"

Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers and magazines as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. After initially joining our news desk in the summer of 2014, he moved to the e-commerce team full-time in 2020. He maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott grew up listening to rock and prog, cutting his teeth on bands such as Marillion and Magnum before his focus shifted to alternative and post-punk in the late 80s. His favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Ned's Atomic Dustbin and Drab Majesty, but he also still has a deep love of Rush.