Sammy Hagar Recalls the Time David Lee Roth ‘Flipped Out’ on Tour
Sammy Hagar insisted that the rivalry between him and David Lee Roth was “totally played up” – except for one night in 2002.
The former Van Halen singers were on the road together under the banner Song For Song, the Heavyweight Champs of Rock and Roll Tour, also known as the Sam & Dave tour, but the experience was less than perfect.
Asked whether the “fractious” reputation had been for real, Hagar told Classic Rock: “It got totally played up. There wasn’t any animosity. Well, there was one crazy moment in Raleigh, Carolina where Dave flipped out. … [W]e were flip-flopping as headliners. When Dave opened he was much better off. I had Michael Anthony in my band, we played four or five Van Halen songs… Dave did all his ’83/84 stuff with the scarves and stuff. It was like a karaoke band compared to what we were doing. He’d be in a bad mood when he was headlining, because you cannot follow us.”
Things came to a head when Roth and his band prepared to go on after Hagar. “[H]e’s walking to the stage, all dressed up, and my drummer (presumably David Lauser) went: “How’s it going, ladies…” He meant to add “…and gentlemen”, but it came out too late. Dave fucking flipped: ‘Fuck you, you motherfucker.’ His bodyguards started pushing people around. I come out of my dressing room, naked apart from a towel, like: ‘Damn, Dave, you need to settle down and have a good show, brother.’”
He continued: “So they ended up building a barricade between us. But yeah, it was overplayed. Dave and I don’t hate each other. If we saw each other we’d hug and buy each other a drink. I don’t know how long we’d hug for, but we’d hug.”