Tag Archives: Sammy Hagar

Slouching toward Cabo

There are is lot of vinyl in the crates and on the shelves behind me. There are not, however, any Sammy Hagar records.

OK, there is the Montrose record we listened to in Jerry’s basement all those years ago. And I do have a review copy of his last solo CD, released three years ago. But otherwise no solo Sammy Hagar, no Van Hagar, no Chickenfoot.

Even so, Sammy Hagar is one of my favorite live acts. I dig the energy and irreverence he brings to his shows, which are parties in themselves. It’s a bit like a Jimmy Buffett show cranked up … and more irreverent.

This week, those of us who dig the so-called Red Rocker had a little treat. Hagar’s birthday was Oct. 13. He’s 64 and seemingly has the energy of a 24-year-old.

He treated the faithful to live streaming video of four birthday shows from his Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. There weren’t many of us watching on the nights I caught them, maybe 1,200 the first night and maybe 1,000 the third night, but it was something to see and hear.

They used one camera, pointed directly at the stage. They let it rip — visually unpolished and unedited — as Hagar, bass player Michael Anthony and a host of celebrity guests gleefully tore through tunes from all the groups Hagar has been in, plus Led Zeppelin and the Beastie Boys among the covers.

Think about that. Here’s one of your faves having a party with his friends, jamming in a little club, and you’re invited. Watch the streaming video and chat with other fans online if so inclined. Nice.

I’ll probably never make it to Cabo for one of those birthday bashes. I’m neither young enough nor cool enough for the room, nor could I drink enough for the room. So having Sammy’s party streamed all the way to Wisconsin was a nice way to enjoy it vicariously.

So why don’t more acts do this? I’m guessing Reason No. 1 is they don’t want to give away the product.

Somehow, I doubt Mr. Hagar was in any way shortchanged by streaming four shows in real time. That club looked plenty full every night. Nor do I think streaming those shows will cut into his record or merchandise sales in any way. Hagar may be on to something, not that anyone will follow his lead.

This is a little bit of what it was like.

“Dreams/Cabo,” Sammy Hagar, from “Cosmic Universal Fashion,” 2008. It’s a live cut from the 2007 birthday bash in Cabo.

Here’s what he says about this cut on the liner notes:

“We record shows all the time, but the audience in Cabo at the Cantina during the Birthday Bash is a very special crowd. This was ‘07 so if you were there then that’s you singing on Dreams and Cabo. If you go there once you’ll be there twice …”

The latter holds true for his live shows. Trust me.

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Filed under October 2011, Sounds

Going shopping?

As Thanksgiving draws near, I’m thankful for the handful of record and marketing companies who’ve seen fit to share tunes with AM, Then FM over the course of this year.

Their generosity and their willingness to work with music blogs make the following recommendations possible. These are things I’ve heard and liked, and things you might like.

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AC/DC: “Black Ice,” the new record, and “No Bull: The Director’s Cut,” a live concert DVD.

Neither breaks any new ground, but if you like AC/DC, you’ll like these. I put “Black Ice” to the usual Car Test, spinning it several times as I was driving. None of the songs struck me as being great, and its 15 songs are at least five too many, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. The following cut most of all, I think.

“Spoilin’ For A Fight,” AC/DC. from “Black Ice,” 2008.

It really made me want to see them again. AC/DC is best experienced live. “No Bull” gives that a go, with a July 1996 show set against the spectacular backdrop of the Plaza De Toros De Las Ventas in Madrid. This DVD will give you a taste of what an AC/DC show is like, but you really have to be there. The venue is the best thing about this DVD. The production and sound quality leave a bit to be desired.

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Sammy Hagar: “Cosmic Universal Fashion,” the new record.

As I wrote a year ago, Hagar is an acquired taste, but I’ve really come to dig his shows. After listening to this record, I’d really rather see him live. This records is like one of Hagar’s shows — not for everyone, but full of energy, full of attitude, with some new stuff, some old stuff and even a cover of the Beastie Boys’ “Fight For Your Right To Party.” Which, of course, is better heard live.

The following cut has a nice, laid-back vibe to it. The Wabos sing it as they warm up for shows. That’s his bassist, Mona, on the harmonies.

“When The Sun Don’t Shine,” Sammy Hagar, from “Cosmic Universal Fashion,” 2008.

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Lindsey Buckingham: “Gift of Screws,” his latest record.

As I wrote last month, I wasn’t all that familiar with Buckingham as a solo artist, but this one passed the Car Test with flying colors.

“Love Runs Deeper,” Lindsey Buckingham, from “Gift of Screws,” 2008. Worth another listen. Buckingham wrote it with his wife, Kristen.

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Steve Winwood: “Nine Lives,” his latest record.

I am a bit more familiar with Winwood as a solo artist. As I wrote earlier this year, this one also passed the Car Test with flying colors.

“We’re All Looking,” Steve Winwood, from “Nine Lives,” 2008. Lots of nice Hammond organ on this one.

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Alan Wilkis: “Babies Dream Big,” his debut record.

AM, Then FM is mostly about rediscovering veteran artists rather than discovering new indie artists. However, we were part of the first wave of good buzz about this Brooklyn artist when we interviewed him earlier this year. Wilkis takes all kinds of ’60s, ’70s and ’80s influences, throws them in the blender and creates something new, yet it still sounds familiar. He plays almost everything himself and does all the vocals.

“I Love The Way,” Alan Wilkis, from “Babies Dream Big,” 2008. A little blue-eyed soul, anyone?

We exchanged e-mails earlier today, and Alan says he’s “working a lot these days, pluggin’ away on a new EP. Hopefully going to be six songs, hopefully ready in the next two months.” Looking forward to it.

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The Boxing Lesson: “Wild Streaks & Windy Days,” its first full-length record.

If you wondered whether anyone still makes music to get stoned to, the answer is yes. This Austin, Texas-based band does the job quite nicely. Heavy, moody, dreamy.

“Muerta,” The Boxing Lesson, from “Wild Streaks & Windy Days,” 2008.

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Filed under November 2008, Sounds