Sammy Hagar
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Buy *Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock* by Sammy Hagar online

Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock
Sammy Hagar
It Books
256 pages
March 2011
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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There have been a surfeit of rock autobiographies, and regrettably most of them fail pretty terribly. Either they are littered with historical holes and lapses of memory or simply so surface in their approach that you'd be better informed reading an excerpt from Wikipedia. But Sammy Hagar's book neither skips history nor attempts to rewrite it. Indeed, the singer pulls the scabs off of some pretty deep emotional wounds here.

Hagar is best known as the vocalist who replaced David Lee Roth in Van Halen, but his history both predates and succeeds that. He grew up in a broken family and had to endure the terminal failures of an alcoholic father. He turned to the guitar and singing as a way of finding his way in life, and through a sterling work ethic and a lot of self-confidence ended up as the singer in Montrose, from there working his way up the ladder to eventually become a member of Van Halen.

Here, Sammy recalls one of those moments.

"I had been waiting at Eddie's 5150 Studios for more than an hour when he finally showed up. I hadn't seen him in ten years. He looked like he hadn't bathed in a week. He certainly hadn't changed his clothes in at least that long. He wasn't wearing a shirt. He had a giant overcoat and army pants, tattered and ripped at the cuffs, held up with a piece of rope. I'd never seen hm so skinny in my life. He was missing a number of teeth and the ones he had left were black. His boots were so worn out he had gaffer's tape wrapped around them and his big toe still stuck out."
The true Van Halen legacy - what happened behind closed doors - has never really been revealed until this moment. Hagar isn't afraid to look behind the curtains and write about what he witnessed. His recollection of working with Van Halen for 11 years is fascinating and a testament not only to the strength of his convictions about wanting to divulge the truth but also willingness to share some pretty awful secrets.

This is one of the best musician autobiographies out there. Hagar has told it all - including things that rattle his own legacy - and it's worth the read.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2011

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