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Red: My Uncensored life in Rock
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Red: My Uncensored life in Rock

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  2,696 ratings  ·  358 reviews
Loud rock, fast cars, and Cabo.

This is the life of Sammy Hagar.

For almost forty years, Sammy Hagar has been a fixture in rock music. From breaking into the industry with the band Montrose to his multiplatinum solo career to his ride as the front man of Van Halen, Sammy's powerful and unforgettable voice has set the tone for some of the greatest rock anthems ever written, s
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ebook, 272 pages
Published March 15th 2011 by HarperCollins e-books (first published January 1st 2011)
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Dutch
I have to be honest, this book bored me up until Sam speaks of joining Van Halen.

I really didn't care about how he earned his first ten cents, how he met neighbours to jam with, and his idiotic girlfriend who would later become his first wife. I just didn't care. Why? Because I'm a Van Halen fan.

Of course, Sam has had nothing to do recently in the way of big-time fame. It's clear in the book he blames the Van Halen brothers for this, but downplays the original goal to be big and famous to just b
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Matt
Most rock star autobiographies are pretty much the same. Guy grows up in a dysfunctional house in bad neighborhood (The father in this story was the town drunk and the city is Fontana, CA, known to some as Felony Flats), guys falls in love, gets married, has a kid all the while struggling to keep a career as a musician going. Guy has limited success for awhile. There are ups. There are downs. Finally guy hits it big. Joins an existing successful rock band and makes it even bigger. Now either the ...more
Mark
Reading this book is akin to sitting in a room with a highly energetic, slightly ADD, person who is telling you their life story. The structure is a rambling mess at times and makes you double-check what part of his history you're reading. His co-author is a well-respected writer, so I'm surprised that this went to print the way it is. It almost reads like a direct transcription of the interview tapes and left as-is.

I certainly appreciate the evidence of his strong work ethic. Sammy Hagar is bas
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Chip'sBookBinge
I'm a huge fan of Sammy Hagar. Now, if you had ask me during the Van Halen days when Roth and the boys were at their Apex if I would ever accept anyone, let alone Sammy as the new lead singer I would have told you to "fuck off". Come to think of it, that's exactly what I did say.

But ever since 5150 dropped, I have been a fan of his. The guy just brings so much raw energy to whatever he does and on top of that he gives some of the best interviews out there and is a likable guy. After reading the
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Craig Machen
Have just started, and already I fear this will send me on another rock star memoir bender.

Please pray for me!

UPDATE

I have seen Sammy Hagar up close and I probably liked him better from a little further back.

He definitely has admirable qualities. It's hard not to like a guy from a poor, abusive home who makes something of himself against all odds. He is, in my opinion, a total over-achiever. Not really a freakish talent or an especially magnetic performer, and yet, 40 years later he's still her
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Scott
This was a pretty good read. I've been a Sammy fan since Standing Hampton came out. I saw him on a midwest tour when I was in 8th Grade and he put on an amazing show. The only person I've seen put on as energetic a show was Lenny Kravitz when he opened for the Cult at Hampton Coliseum.

This book managed to capture his energy. It's not always a coherent account, but it flows well.
I read it in one sitting and it was like spending a night sitting there listening to him tell the story of his life.
If
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That70sheidi
Everyone knew that the Van Halen brothers were repugnant, alcoholic psychos, but the stories in the book are awesome and drive home how crazy they really are. Musical talent doesn't remotely make up for the utter contempt I have always had for them (and Roth... what a freak).

I loved the first part of the book because I'd been a fan of Hagar long before VH ever entered my radar. It was great hearing about his life and where he got his work ethic (mom) and it was astounding hearing how diverse his
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Book Him Danno
I was in High School when 1984 came out and when the Roth/Hagar switch took place. While I loved early Van Halen, and had all their albums (well, cassettes in my day), I really liked the Hagar version more. The album 5150 was phenomenal, way beyond anything that had come before. So I really wanted to read this book as soon as I heard about it; to get the inside scoop on what took place within the band over the years, and to see if Sammy really was that nice of a guy.

Typically in a memoir I judge
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Richard
Listened to this on audio book read by Scott Shepherd, who does a great California dude accent. Hagar doesn't achieve the heights of debauchery witnessed in The Dirt (the high water mark for dumb rocker biographies), but he exhibits a unique craziness which had me either cringing or laughing out loud. Hagar is pretty compelling as an unreliable narrator. The obvious consequences of his shitty behavior are never his fault (when he leaves his long suffering wife and 5 year old at Christmas she is ...more
Chris
I give this one a 5 because I couldn't put it down. I didn't know anything about Sammy Hagar except he replaced David Lee Roth, in Van Halen. He had a bad childhood, with an alcoholic and abusive parent, started petty crimes, and did drugs, and somehow found a mentor, who got him interested in the guitar, and he gave up the drugs, and turned to music, and never looked back, so to speak. If you love Van Halen, this is not the book for you, because Sammy doesn't mince words about the two brothers. ...more
Bryan
As a music fan, my tastes typically run to heavier fare than Van Halen. I've spent time with their early albums, but was done with them by the time "Jump" came out, and then never bothered with the Hagar years. Likewise, I know a few of Sammy's solo songs, but beyond an obscure compilation called "Cruisin' and Boozin'" I've never bought any of his stuff. (Hmmm... I did have HSAS on vinyl though.)

But I really liked this book, and because of it I'm now buying the Chickenfoot cd releases (and reall
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Shawna
I really enjoyed this book and was so excited to read it. I grew up listening to a lot of Van Halen/Sammy Hagar tapes because of my father. He loved them and cranked their music up all the time. The Van Halen story always fascinated me as I always loved Sammy Hagar with them. His voice is incredible!

The book revealed a lot about Sammy's past and how he went from growing up poor to being a very successful rocker and also, businessman with his Cabo Wabo tequila and restaurant/bar.

There were only
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Sarah
I like to read biographies and other similar types of books in the summer, so this year I started with this one that had been on my shelf for a while. I'm not a Sammy fan, but this book got a lot of press when it was released, so I decided to check it out.

Sammy has had a busy and interesting life, but the book was pretty horribly written. There is enough of a story here to keep me from giving it even fewer stars, but otherwise I would. Thank goodness it was pretty short, otherwise I may have giv
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Chris Mcgowan
A quick read. I am a fan of VanHalen music with Roth and Hagar so I knew it would be enjoyable. There is the typical sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but Sammy goes into the business side of things more so than other rock biographies. One of his early managers set up a publishing company for him so he did not get "screwed over by the music business' like so many other musicians claim to have been (Skid Row comes to mind).

You can see how driven and opportunisic he was. Having funds allowed him to
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Jake Caldwell
I read Sammy Hagar's auto-biography, "Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock". I never thought I would enjoy an auto-biography, until I found one written by a rock star. Sammy's life was like a movie, involving a guy who grew up rough and made it big-time after going through so many obstacles. I believe Mr. Hagar wrote this book to let people know that he worked for what he has. He was definitely not born into money or fame. He did that himself. There is also a constant theme in this book. Throughout ...more
Jason
I was surprised how good this was versus other rock autobiographies. I like Van Halen (more with Roth, but some Hagar songs were good, too) and saw the "I Can't Drive 55" about a thousand times, but I am by no means a big fan.

Hagar dives deeper into the business deals he cut throughout his career, as well as the politics of the music business than most other books do. And I appreciated that, as someone who has worked in the music business in parts of my career. Even when he talked about his teq
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Mysterium
Of course there are 3 sides to every story, so keep that in mind when you read Sammy's book about his career in the rock business as well as the distillery end of things. I personally think that he was the boost that Van Halen needed at the time. He is a solid performer and a damn great singer. He paints a clear portrait of how drugs, booze, and greed can ruin lives and relationships.

Looking at how the cards were played now, one can easily see that much of what Sammy shares is pretty accurate re
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Nycdreamin
I always kind of liked Sammy Hagar. Not a huge mega-fan or anything, just always enjoyed his music, starting way back when I was about 13 years old or so - at least a few a few years before he joined Van Halen. I remember picking up a few of his early 80's releases on cassette at my local drug store where they were usually in the $2.99 bin. Then he did that HSAS project with Neil Schon of Journey, Kenny Aaronson and Michael Schrieve. I still LOVE that album - hugely underrated project. Then he r ...more
James Jr.
I just bought and devoured Sammy’s autobiography, Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock. It only took three evenings for me to finish that book. I grew up with the listening to man, so I was keenly interested in everything from his stint with Montrose, Van Halen, Chickenfoot and all of the solo work that he has done. I have seen him perform in the Fresno, California area four times: the For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge tour with Van Halen, the Balance tour with Van Halen, the Marching to Mars solo tour a ...more
Brian
I am a sucker for rock memoirs--not only of rock and roll stars who I am a fan of (like Hagar) but nearly anyone in the rock world. I dunno...call it a guilty pleasure. Or maybe it's something to do with my love of rock music and I am always looking to know and learn more. Especially since I am no musician and have no musical ability whatsoever--I figure I need to appreciate the music in SOME way!

Sammy Hagar's memoir interested me. I remember being 12 years old and hearing that "SAMMY HAGAR JOIN
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Tony Bertauski
The problem with celebrity autobiographies is they often don't actual write anything. Instead, they tell a ghost/"co-writer" his or her life story to transcribe and take out the wrinkles. It reads conversational. That's not a big deal, it just loses an element of enjoyment. I realize Sammy isn't a writer, so it is what it is.

I grew up listening to Sammy Hagar, solo and Van Halen, so I was interested in how his life unfolded. As with most biographies, I found the first half of the book interesti
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JazzRizz
First off, I'm a huge Sammy Hagar fan. I grew up just a hour away from St. Louis, and Sammy's not kidding when he mentioned St. Louis being his biggest market. I'm still disappointed that I've never seen him in concert. When I saw that this book was coming out, I could not wait to read it. It was not a disappointing book.

The life of a rock star is not pretty. If they're successful, and have had a run as long as Sammy has . . . it's going to have a rough beginning and a pretty rough and raunchy
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Eric
Sammy says he believes in God and UFOs. He also says Tone Loc sampled "Rock Candy" for "Funky Cold Medina." And he blames Napster for "ruining everything." Obviously he's off his nut. God is dead, "Funky Cold Medina" rips off Foreigner, and Napster actually saved music. But he's right on the money about UFOs. They're totally real.

He's got a hundred funny stories about the Van Halen brothers too. One of my favorite stories takes place during rehearsals for the Van Hager reunion tour in 2003. At
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David
Sammy Hagar's music has always been a semi-guilty pleasure of mine, and RED provides the same basic thrills offered by his music. Sammy's life story -- from a rough childhood in Fontana, California, to stardom as a solo artist and member of Van Halen -- is truly rags-to-riches, with plenty of entertaining tales of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll along the way. I was surprised at how astute a businessman he is, starting up businesses ranging from restaurants to bike shops to fire sprinkler systems, ...more
Dr. Detroit
For most, godhead here will be the memories of a guy who came up mostly aces with proto-metal outfit Montrose - whose first album generated enough horsepower to change the weather - went on to release some halfway decent air-headed weekend rock (pre-"I Can't Drive 55," that is) while doubling as a matador's cape, and then completely ruined - ruined, I tell you - Van Halen. Let's face it: everybody lives for dirt and with the brothers Van Halen, there's enough here to fortify a sod farm.

Loses one
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Aaron
I will start with saying I have never been a big Sammy fan. I enjoyed his work with Montrose, but never got into him as a solo artist. I am also a die hard Roth era Van Halen fan. I cried for a week when Dave left the band. I never embraced Sammy in the band, and quit listening to them.

A buddy gave me this book, and I finished it in a couple of days. Time for me to give Sammy a listen. Including the Van Halen I ignored. I thought this book was a good look at his life, and gave me an insight to t
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Alexis Vélez
Soy del Van Halen de Sammy. Luego de leer su biografía me reafirmé de mi bando pero cambió un poco la imágen que tenía de la banda, en particular de los hermanos Van Halen. Siempre se ha hablado que Eddie no es nada fácil y Sammy lo confirma con lujo de detalles en este excelente libro repleto de anécdotas e intimidades de su vida personal y musical, en particular el sinnúmero de cosas que pasan backstage. Algo que no pude aclarar con el libro fué el significado de OU812, aunque he escuchado var ...more
Reese Copeland
I loved this book. I've been a Sammy Hagar fan for 20 years at least. It was great to see how he got started, where he came from and his musical journey. I always felt he'd been screwed by Van Halen, and given the number of albums they've put out since he left versus how many he's put out since he left, I'd say Van Halen were the losers in his leaving. It was interesting to see the whole story with the Van Halen's regarding the break-up. I didn't buy their version of the story when it first surf ...more
Lisa Brandt
I am an unapologetic, mainstream, classic rock fan. It's the music I was raised on when it was just simply "the hits". So I love rock autobiographies. Sammy Hagar cowrote this one with a journalist and its style is very conversational and rather simplistic.

Hagar doesn't hold back on his judgments of former bandmates in Van Halen and lays open his own mistakes, of which there were many. I guess I just didn't live the experience of Sammy Hagar as a huge rock icon before he joined Van Halen so his
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Tobin Elliott
As rock star biographies go, gotta say I think this one was better than most, simply because Hagar's voice shone through the narrative. When he's talking about ignoring someone, he "shined them on". When he was burned out, he was "crispy around the edges". Things like that. That was fun. It was like being in the room with the guy.

And overall, it really was like listening to a guy who's maybe twisted up some of the stories, or forgotten and simply rewritten them. Despite Michael Anthony's forewor
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Samuel Roy "Sammy" Hagar, known as "The Red Rocker", is an American rock singer, guitarist, composer and solo artist. Hagar was one of the three singers for Van Halen, as well as the original singer of the early 1970s rock band Montrose. On March 12, 2007, Hagar was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Van Halen. He has had the opportunity to work with some of hard rock's mo ...more
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