For Sammy Hagar, there's still only one way to rock: hard and nonstop.
“I wake up in the morning with my flip-flops on and jump out of bed and go straight to work,” Hagar said by phone last week from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where “The Red Rocker,” as he is known, was in the midst of his 24th Annual Birthday Bash, a series of concerts, charity events and other festivities at his Cabo Wabo Cantina.
“One secret to success and happiness is that you do the things you love to do. ... I would call everything I do more like hobbies. They're hobbies more than jobs. I've turned my hobbies into jobs. That's kind of my genius.”
The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and successful business mogul, who turned 66 Sunday, might be known these days for his tropical, tequila-infused sound and lifestyle, but he's not the type to spend all his time kicking back on the beach. The former Van Halen frontman and his longtime band, the Wabos, are touring in support of his new collaborations album, “Sammy Hagar & Friends,” and his “Four Decades of Rock” trek includes an outdoor show Saturday at Shawnee's Grand Casino.
“Everything you would expect from Sammy Hagar will happen that night. There will be a lot of fun. There will be a lot of hits, an hour and 50 (minutes), two hours, of hits, every era from Montrose through today, to the new album. There'll be four or five new songs. There will be a lot of mistakes and some funny stuff happen,” he said with a laugh. “I guarantee you, it's part comedy, part serious rock 'n' roll. There will be some comic relief throughout the show. And there will be some drinking. And some bad language. Let's see, no fights, no fights, nothing like that, but a lot of pretty girls.”
After four decades of making music, Hagar said he is “having so damn much fun that it's probably illegal, but I'm doing it anyway.”
“I really think that music is festive now. Ever since I started the Cabo Wabo lifestyle thing and I started that tequila company and then sold it for a gazillion dollars — not bragging, I'm saying it made my music what it's supposed to be — I play music for the love of playing music. I don't play music for business anymore,” he said.
Hagar, who was raised by a single mother in a poor household, also uses his music to make a difference. For about the past five years, he has donated to food banks wherever his tours have taken him.
He will give about $2,500 to Mission Shawnee in honor of Saturday's show.
“I'm a big advocate of, yes, do other things with your money, don't just spend it on sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll and fast cars.”
Rock with friends
The rocker counts Toby Keith as a dear friend, and in July, he eagerly joined the Sooner State native at his Oklahoma Twister Relief Concert at the University of Oklahoma football stadium.
Keith returned the favor when Hagar started work on his “Sammy Hagar & Friends” duets album, a project he said came about almost by accident. Hagar was working on a four-CD anthology that would cover his career from his time with Montrose, his early solo work, the “Van Hagar” era and his later Cabo Wabo lifestyle music and wanted to do a new song for each time frame. But he soon wrote two new tropical tracks, “Father Son” and “All We Need Is an Island,” and didn't want to choose between them.