Sammy Hagar said his next album won’t sound “remotely country,” despite working with famed Nashville country producer Dave Cobb.
The Red Rocker shacked up inside Nashville’s RCA Studios — whose A and B rooms have welcomed Elvis Presley, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, B.B. King and countless other music icons — to make his new LP, Crazy Times, which is tentatively set to come out this year. “It’s great, my best songwriting ever, best production ever, and we made four videos already,” Hagar recently boasted to Forbes.
Although Cobb is best known for his work with country and Americana artists like Chris Stapleton, Brandi Carlile and Sturgill Simpson, Hagar said the producer was determined to make a hard rock record. “David Cobb said, ‘I’m not gonna do anything that even sounds anything remotely country on this record,’ ’cause I wanted to make an Americana record, a little bit less hard rock,” the singer explained. “He goes, ‘I wanna make Standing Hampton. I wanna make the record I grew up on, I wanna hear you and Mikey [Anthony] sing like you did in ‘Top of the World’ with Van Halen. That’s what we’re gonna get out of you guys.'”
Hagar was in good company, as Cobb recently produced 4, Slash‘s newest album with Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. “I’m sure Slash found out the same way, this guy wants to rock, he don’t want to make no country record with Sammy Hagar,” the rocker added.
Hagar was also pleasantly surprised to see several country artists digging his music during the recording process. “Chris Stapleton, the guys from Big and Rich, Big Kenny came down to hear some stuff,” he said. “My Nashville friends, Ronnie Dunn, these guys are coming down wanting to hear my record, and wanting to see what I’m doing, because these country guys are rock fans. … All these guys that live in Nashville now, they all go, ‘Man. We grew up on Van Halen, on early Sammy Hagar.’ I couldn’t believe it. Ronnie Dunn stood there singing, ‘Come on baby, finish what ya started.’ And I’m going, ‘Wow, these guys are legitimate want-to-be rock stars.'”
A new album is just one of several current projects for Hagar. The singer will embark on the Crazy Times tour with George Thorogood from June through September, and he recently released a mixology book titled Sammy Hagar’s Cocktail Hits. Hagar drew parallels between his new album and book, saying the LP is “like this book, it’s a hybrid of everything I’ve ever been involved with musically. David Cobb is the reason because he squeezed it out of me.”
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