Sammy Hagar has told how he tried to rebuild his friendship with Ronnie Montrose in the months leading up to his suicide – but that the troubled guitarist doubted the singer’s motives.
He shot himself dead at home in California in March 2012, weeks before the former Montrose bandmates were to stage a live reunion. It’s thought he was suffering from depression, and that he took his own life while four times over the drink-drive limit. He was 64.
Hagar says in a press conference video: “I had just started talking to him. He was going to come to Cabo for my birthday and play with the original Montrose.
“He was saying, ‘I don’t know, Hagar.’ He was always accusing me of trying to do stuff for my own good, like, ‘What do you want from me?’
“I’m like, ‘I don’t need anything from you, Ronnie. I want to thank you. I want to do something for you.’ He was a hard guy to get along with.”
But the guitarist had finally agreed to the plan. “He said, ‘Yeah – while we’re still alive,’ Hagar recalls. “I said, ‘Great!’ And a month later I got the phone call: ‘My God, Ronnie just shot himself in the head.’”
The Chickenfoot and former Van Halen frontman insists he has no regrets from his end, however. “I tried and tried and tried to be friends with him. Not to put Montrose back together, but to be friends, to hang out, and have him come to my birthday bash.
“I loved the guy. He was hard to get along with. He obviously couldn’t get along with himself.” Referring to the suicide he adds: “How can a guy do that? I don’t even know how something could do that.”
Hagar is currently working with Michael Anthony, Jason Bonham and Vic Johnson in covers band The Circle. They release a live album next week – but he says he has no plans to undertake studio work with the band.