In a new interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune, Sammy Hagar, who recently kicked off his second residency at The Strat Hotel, Casino & SkyPod in Las Vegas, spoke about what it has been like for him to play shows during the pandemic. He said: “I’ve been very lucky. Nobody in my band has had COVID. I’m not a germaphobe, but I always wash my hands and I am really careful. I’m a big hugger and, nowadays, I hug with a mask [on]. It’s horrible, if you want my opinion. It [expletive] stinks, and I hate to [tell] my fans, ‘Make sure you’re vaxxed and wear a mask,’ but there is no choice. Either I say, ‘Okay, I won’t play (concerts) until this pandemic has gone away’; or: ‘If we’re going to do it, we have to do what we have to do to be safe.’
“I’m the most positive guy in the world, and this [pandemic] is so disheartening,” he continued.
“Everyone tells me I should do a public service message [promoting COVID safety measures]. And I say, ‘I don’t want to be school teacher or principal. You tell them.’ I’d rather just say, ‘I’m playing a show, and here are the rules.’
“I know that all the [safety measures] are starting to wear thin, but it’s even worse when you get sick,” Sammy added.
A little over a year ago, Hagar told Radio.com that he was reluctant to play socially distant concerts, citing the example of a 10,000-capacity venue with 5,000 fans in the room.
“I just know that those 5,000 people are not going to stay in their seats and socially distance,” he said. “The second we start getting it on and I start saying, ‘Are we having any fun yet?’ and holding the mic up in the air and [singing] ‘Right Now’, they’re going to be at the front of the stage, all unsocially distanced. … It’s going get criticized, or I’m going get sued or fined or something.”
In June 2020, Hagar made headlines for an interview in which he said that he was willing to sacrifice himself to COVID-19 if it means saving the economy. At the time, Hagar was one of several musicians interviewed by Rolling Stone about staying at home instead of touring while coping with the uncertainties of the pandemic.
“I’m going to make a radical statement here. This is hard to say without stirring somebody up, but truthfully, I’d rather personally get sick and even die, if that’s what it takes,” Hagar began.
“We have to save the world and this country from this economic thing that’s going to kill more people in the long run. I would rather see everyone go back to work. If some of us have to sacrifice on that, okay.”
Hagar suggested that if the cost of human lives is necessary for the economy to fully recover, he was willing to die from the coronavirus. “I will die for my children and my grandchildren to have a life anywhere close to the life that I had in this wonderful country. That’s just the way that I feel about it,” he continued. “I’m not going to go around spreading the disease. But there may be a time where we have to sacrifice. I mean, how many people die on the Earth every day? I have no idea. I’m sorry to say it, but we all gotta die, man.”
After the Rolling Stone article was published, Hagar released a statement in which he revealed that the interview was done a month and a half earlier and insisted that he would do his part in “getting back to work in a safe and responsible way and getting this economy rolling again.”
Hagar kicked off his 2022 “Sammy Hagar & Friends” Las Vegas residency on February 9, entertaining fans with a high-energy performance of some of his greatest hits, including “There’s Only One Way To Rock”, “Right Now” and “Finish What Ya Started”, and gave fans a preview of a handful of songs that will be on his upcoming album. His Las Vegas Strip residency continued on February 11 and February 12, with subsequent shows on Wednesday, March 23, Friday, March 25 and Saturday, March 26. Fans can expect to hear songs from his MONTROSE, VAN HALEN and CHICKENFOOT days. Every night delivers a different show and in the first six shows, alone, the “Sammy Hagar & Friends” residency performed more than 100 different songs.
Sammy is joined at the shows by his supergroup THE CIRCLE, featuring Hagar‘s fellow Rock And Roll Hall Of Famer and former VAN HALEN bandmate Michael Anthony, drummer Jason Bonham and guitarist Vic Johnson.