Sammy Hagar: Red Rocker, Crue-Shaming Sex Machine

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Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock
By Sammy Hagar with Joel Selvin
It Books, 256pp., $26.99

During the tour to support Van Halen's For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, singer/guitarist Sammy Hagar certainly took the record's title to heart. Because just about every night during Eddie's 20-minute guitar solo, Hagar would retreat to a hidden tent beneath the stage.

There, he would find five or six pre-selected completely naked female audience members, waiting for Sammy to fuck them. In fact, Hagar says he had so much sex on that tour that for a while he actually wasn't able to climax anymore - no matter how hard he tried.

In Red, Sammy Hagar has written what is at times the bluntest, funniest, and jealousy-inspiring rock-star memoir in many years. It's tale of guilt-free sex, drugs, and rock and roll, without the sleaze factor (and overdosing) of Motley Crue's The Dirt.

"Once I discovered rock and roll and pussy," he writes, "I barely made it through high school. And once I finally got high, it was really all over."

Thanks to a lengthy excerpt in Rolling Stone and numerous interviews Hagar has given on his promotional tour, many of the book's biggest stories and anecdotes are already out there. That includes his feelings about UFO-surfing aliens (he says he was mentally abducted by some), David Lee Roth ("I couldn't stand the guy...he's not a great singer and he acts like the coolest, hottest guy in the world when to me, he looks gay"), and Eddie Van Halen's mentally unstable behavior and heavy drinking during the 2004 reunion tour ("He turned into the weirdest fuck I'd ever seen, crude, rude, and unkempt...I asked him where the glass was for his wine, he held up the bottle and said 'here it is!'").

There's also the time a drunk Alex danced barefoot - then fell - on a sizzling Benihana grill, with predictable results. Only bassist and Hagar's current Chickenfoot bandmate Michael Anthony comes off as a thoroughly decent guy all the time. Granted, there are times of actual musical and personal caring between the four members, but it's these other anecdotes that stick with the reader.

Hagar also tells of a rough-and-tumble early life of gypsy-like meandering for his mother, father, and three siblings. Not helping matters is that dad was a belligerent alcoholic who favored fighting in and out of the ring--at one point trying to throw punches at firefighters who had come to save his house after he passed out with a lit cigarette, burning it down.

A Hagar family camping trip might include grandma trying to hit Hagar Sr. with a rock, only to accidentally bean her husband instead. Bobby Hagar would eventually die in the back of a police car, homeless and drunk.


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