September 1, 2009
Gibson, maker of some of the most-recognized guitars in the world of rock, recently interviewed Chickenfoot frontman Sammy Hagar. In addition to the guitar talk that would be expected, Hagar was asked some questions about his thoughts in the differences between his experience with Van Halen and his experience with Chickenfoot.
Hagar has gained himself a reputation as someone who does not hold back when it comes to his opinions, and this interview was no different. Regarding his motivation to start up a new band, the most influential factor seems to be that he wanted to “to play with the best players in the business.” He then goes on to refer to each other individual member of Chickenfoot as “the best” at what they do.
Those kinds of comments are somewhat reminiscent of his infamous statement made during the lead up to the group’s public debut when he said they could “rival Zep.” A statement Hagar later blamed on the consumption of a little to much tequila.
Everyone has their preference, but referring to to his band mates as “the best” comes across more like bravado and less like reality. Has Hagar never heard of Neil Peart, Terry Bozzio, Geddy Lee, Jack Bruce or Stevie Ray Vaughan? That’s partly a rhetorical question since he actually mentions Jack Bruce and Stevie Ray Vaughan during the interview.
No Hagar interview would be complete without a few words about Eddie Van Halen, whom Hagar refers to as slow compared to guitarist Joe Satriani when it comes to writing. Although he regards both Satriani and Van Halen as “phenomenal” players, in the end he says he thinks Satriani comes out on top when it comes to “a straight-up player, who can play anything, and plays perfect every time.”
You can read part one of the interview at the Gibson website.
Van Halen is in the news again for reasons that may not please them very much – to say nothing of their fans. According to the Wall Street Journal, the group became involved in Ticketmaster’s efforts during 2007 to increase their profits by teaming up with ticket brokers (also known as “scalpers”) . It was also reported to be an effort by Ticketmaster to thwart concert prompter Live Nation’s plans to enter the ticket business.
Ticketmaster’s CEO, Irving Azoff, also happened to be managing Van Halen, which created an opportunity for Ticketmaster to test their new strategy. During the fall of 2007, as many as 500 of the best seats for 20 Van Halen shows were not offered on the Ticketmaster system and were passed on to the brokers for sale to the public.
The brokers were able to keep 30% of the inflated price of the tickets they were allotted while the remaining 70% was shared between Ticketmaster, Van Halen, and their organization. The band reportedly netted at least an extra $1 million as a result. There was nobody available for comment from the Van Halen camp.
Since then Ticketmaster has decided they didn’t care to share a bed with the brokers and have decided to go to war against them instead, using new software that it hopes will make life difficult for them by blocking automated processes that some brokers use to obtain tickets in the highly competitive online grab for tickets the second they are made available for sale.