Sammy Hagar goes live with new super group debut

Sammy Hagar is one of rock’s most dynamic and prolific artists. Since breaking into the business in 1973 as a singer-guitarist for the seminal outfit Montrose, the “Red Rocker” has written numerous platinum-selling rock anthems as a solo artist (‘I Can't Drive 55,’ ‘Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy’) and lead singer for Van Halen (‘When It's Love,’ ‘Why Can't This Be Love,’ ‘Right Now’). The leader of super group Chickenfoot has earned a Grammy Award and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and as an entrepreneur Hagar oversees a restaurant chain and the making and distribution of tequila and rum brands he founded.

In addition to fronting Chickenfoot, Hagar’s latest side project is super group The Circle. The band features former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, drummer Jason Bonham (son of late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham), and guitarist Vic Johnson, who was a member of the late ‘70s soul, funk, and R&B band The BusBoys. The Circle’s debut album is a two-CD set on Jimmy Buffet’s Mailboat Records titled, At Your Service. The collection contains live performances of 19 legendary songs that span more than 40 years of rock music history.

Featured tracks on the album include the Zeppelin classics ‘Good Times Bad Times,’ ‘Whole Lotta Love,’ ‘When The Levee Breaks,’ ‘Rock and Roll,’ and Jason Bonham’s turn on his dad’s ‘Moby Dick’ drum solo. Anthony and Johnson also showcase their skills on individual solo tracks. Hagar’s ‘Right Now’ and ‘I Can't Drive 55’ are here along with his ‘There's Only One Way To Rock’ and the Montrose single, ‘Rock Candy.’ The aforementioned Van Halen favorites ‘When It's Love’ and ‘Why Can't This Be Love’ are part of the live set along with other Van Halen cuts ‘Best of Both Worlds,’ ‘Dreams,’ ‘Finish What Ya Started,’ and ‘Poundcake.’

The Circle began touring in February and is back on the road June 19 at Burlington Steamboat Days in Burlington, Iowa. Additional summer dates include Huber Heights, Ohio (June 20), OKCFest in Oklahoma City, Okla. (June 26), Naperville Ribfest/Knoch Park in Naperville, Ill. (July 3), Summerfest in Milwaukee (July 4), New Buffalo, Mich. (Aug. 12), Illinois State Fair in Springfield, Ill. (Aug. 14), Maryland Heights, Mo. (Aug. 15), Tulalip, Wash. (Sept. 3), and Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena in Stateline, Nev. (Sept. 5).

Hagar’s bands typically donate to local food banks in every tour city where they play. He has also established the Hagar Family Foundation to help local community children's charities. In addition, the singer-songwriter-guitarist is headlining the annual Stars & Stripes Tournament fundraising dinner and concert on June 27 in Mexico. Since 1997, the fishing, golf, and music event has raised more than $23 million for U.S.-based children’s charities.

Since making his mark as a hit songwriter and lead vocalist, The Circle is the latest in Hagar’s quest to make great music with great musicians. He’s recorded with and shared the stage with a succession of renowned guitar players including Ronnie Montrose, Neal Schon, Eddie Van Halen, and Joe Satriani, the latter joining Hagar in Chickenfoot, which also features Anthony on bass along with Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith. Hagar’s album discography includes a total of 25 platinum certifications and four gold records, representing sales of more than 30 million units in the U.S. and more than 40 million worldwide.

Watch Sammy Hagar discuss his latest album At Your Service and perform with new group The Circle in a live rendition of ‘When It’s Love.’

As A Matter of Fact…

* Samuel Roy Hagar was born October 13, 1947, Salinas, Calif., and grew up in Fontana, California. His father was a steel worker, and Hagar’s hard scrabble upbringing infused an unstoppable work ethic that’s been the driving force behind his rise to the top as a musician, entrepreneur, and philanthropist.

* Hagar joined the Southern California music scene of the late 1960s by fronting his first band, the Fabulous Castilles, and in 1967 forming the duo Samson & Hagar. He later joined a string of other pre-Montrose bands including the Johnny Fortune Band, Big Bang, Skinny, Dustcloud, Cotton, Jimmy, Manhole, and Justice Brothers.

* Hagar's first major breakthrough came with the group Montrose, which lasted until he launched a solo career in 1976. Hagar enjoyed moderate success on Capitol Records, building a persona that would lead to his reputation as the “Red Rocker.”

* Hagar left Capitol for the newly formed Geffen Records, releasing Standing Hampton in 1981. The platinum-selling release became Hagar’s biggest-selling album behind the success of the singles ‘There's Only One Way to Rock’ and Top 20 hit ‘Your Love Is Driving Me Crazy.’

* Hagar continued to enjoy commercial success in the 1980s with his signature hit ‘I Can't Drive 55’ from the 1984 platinum-selling album VOA. In 1983-1984, Hagar and Journey guitarist Neal Schon formed the supergroup HSAS (Hagar Schon Aaronson Shrieve) along with former Foghat bassist Kenny Aaronson and ex-Santana drummer Michael Shrieve.

* In 1985, Van Halen parted ways with vocalist David Lee Roth and Hagar was brought in as the replacement. The band scored four more multi-platinum No. 1 albums with Hagar, and charted nine No. 1 hits on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock Songs chart. Internal disputes eventually led to Hagar leaving Van Halen in June 1996.

* Since launching a flagship restaurant in Mexico during 1990, Hagar has turned a lifelong passion for great food, music, and spirits into a thriving brand that includes a restaurant chain, beach bars, and a line of tequila and rum. He also topped the New York Times Best Seller List with his 2011 autobiography titled, “Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock.”

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