Sammy Hagar Recalls Frontman Lessons from Rod Stewart
Former Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar recalled how he’d been inspired to become a rock frontman by Rod Stewart’s time with the Faces.
Hagar regarded himself as a quieter type of performer before joining Montrose in 1973, as he told Uncle Joe Benson on the Ultimate Classic Rock Nights radio show.
“Montrose was a heavy metal band; I was a blues, R&B singer, and then I got thrown into this heavy metal band,” he said. “And I became it, and I dug it. I started trippin’ on guys like Rod Stewart – I was really a big fan of Rod’s. He was a great performer, and I dug the way he sang, and he had a great sense of humor with the Faces.”
That band consisted of Stewart along with former members of Steve Marriott’s group the Small Faces. “I’d been a Steve Marriott fan, and then seeing Rod come in and do that, and take the Faces to a great place,” Hagar said. “They were the party band. … He’s out there drinking champagne on stage, he’s dressing all funny, he’s doing silly moves, he’s making jokes. He really had a fun show, and that really impressed me.”
Stewart’s approach wasn’t popular with Montrose leader Ronnie Montrose. “Ronnie was so serious,” Hagar said. “’Don’t say anything to the audience! Don’t do this! Don’t do that!’ – and I was like, ‘Get outta here! Let’s make an event out of this thing!’ Rod Stewart was one of the first guys I saw really doing that.”
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