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Sammy Hagar Says He’s Over PTSD From 2004 Van Halen Tour

As he readies himself to honor his old band with this summer’s Best of All Worlds Tour, Sammy Hagar feels he’s finally moved past the PTSD from the tumultuous 2004 Van Halen reunion tour. This difficult period in his life was thoroughly chronicled in his memoir Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock.

The motivation for this year’s tour came from the 20th anniversary of that 2004 reunion tour, which had been a commercial success, covering 80 shows from June to November. Hagar recalls a moment of realization during a casual hangout with Michael Anthony in Cabo Wabo. They were in the dressing room, sipping tequila and preparing to play music when someone reminded them of the 20-year milestone since the reunion tour. Hagar and Anthony both reacted with surprise and enthusiasm, and the idea for a new tour focusing heavily on Van Halen songs was conceived on the spot.

The 2004 tour marked Van Halen’s first tour in six years and the first reunion with Hagar since their 1995 tour for the album Balance. Despite impressive ticket sales and the release of a new compilation album, The Best of Both Worlds, tensions flared, primarily due to Eddie Van Halen’s struggles with substance abuse. In his book, Hagar depicted Eddie as “unkempt, hunched over, and frighteningly skinny” and shared the distressing backstage atmosphere, including occasional fights. Hagar insisted he would not go on stage unless he was sure Eddie was already there. Their disagreements even extended to Hagar’s promotion of his Cabo Wabo tequila.

Another significant upheaval during this period was the treatment of bassist Michael Anthony, who was reduced to a hired touring musician instead of a full-fledged band member. Anthony’s inclusion in the tour was largely due to Hagar’s insistence.

Now, Hagar feels a sense of peace regarding the past. He mentioned that he’s “way over it — I don’t even remember it.” He and Eddie Van Halen had made some amends before Eddie’s passing in 2020, and Hagar expresses a deep fondness for Eddie, even suggesting that, if given the chance, he would relive the 2004 tour just to play alongside him again. “Our creativity when we were on was spectacular,” he reminisced.

As Hagar prepares for the upcoming tour, he reflects on the positive memories during rehearsals. The tour, starting on July 13 in West Palm Beach, Florida, will feature Anthony, drummer Jason Bonham from Hagar’s The Circle, Joe Satriani on guitar, and Rai Thistlethwayte on keyboards and second guitar as needed.

Hagar has been sharing rehearsal snippets on social media, delighting fans with previews of Van Halen classics like “The Seventh Seal,” “Summer Nights,” “Judgement Day,” “5150,” among others. The shows will also feature music from Montrose, Chickenfoot, and Hagar’s solo career. He finds revisiting these Van Halen songs to be an enlightening experience, marveling at the enduring quality and significance of the music they created together. “These songs are classic! These songs are lifers,” Hagar exclaims.

Hagar emphasizes that this tour is not just a tribute to Eddie Van Halen but a celebration of the collective music created by Eddie, Sammy Hagar, David Lee Roth, Michael Anthony, and Alex Van Halen.

Source: UCR