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'Sammy Hagar And Friends'

Nik Underwood

nik underwood

def leppard viva hysteria

After nearly 40 years screaming, strutting and shaking his barnet all over the world it seems Sammy Hagar is in a good place. With Sammy it's all about hanging with your buddies and drinking and jamming in the sun. His new platter, 'Sammy Hagar & Friends' is the soundtrack for just that.

The eponymous 'friends' include collaborators spanning Sammy's long and varied career, with bandmates from Montrose, HSAS, Van Halen (no, not the brothers - the other one) and Chickenfoot. Also popping up are Kid Rock, Taj Mahal, Heart's Nancy Wilson, Toby Keith and Ronnie Dunn of Brooks and Dunn.

Opener 'Winding Down' is a country/blues footstomper that finds Hagar in fine voice as he Taj Mahal lament this crazy world, the state it's in and it's slew of bad news.

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'Not Going Down' was written for Sammy by Rival Sons' Jay Buchanan and has a dirty grungy riff, some sweet slide and a pugnacious vocal channelling some Raging Bull-esque brio.

Ever wondered what Depeche Mode's 'Personal Jesus' would sound like with some gospel style backing vocals and the Red Rocker's trademark rasp? Wonder no more! As a bit of a novelty it's interesting but adds nothing to the album and comes nowhere close to the original. Next track 'Father Sun' has an overpowering accordion (really) that doesn't gel with the rocking parts of the song and one get's the feeling that this album is beginning to lose it's way.

Never fear, for here comes 'Knockdown Dragout' to kick us back into the ring with Kid Rock and Joe Satriani to provide some bark and bite to accompany Sammy's snarl. Bob Seger's 'Ramblin' Gamblin' Man' gets a rocking treatment with the original's organ replaced by a guitar that is reminiscent of Gun's cover of 'Word Up'. This is a good thing, trust me.

sammy hagar

After a brief jaunt through the Southern states with Ronnie Dunn for 'Bad On Fords And Chevrolets', a rollicking tale of ne'er-do-wells with a love of fast cars and fast wimmin, Sam is back at the beach for a couple of Hawaiian-style tropical sundowners. Firstly with Toby Keith on 'Margaritaville' then with Nancy Wilson for sweet duet 'All We Need Is An Island' which will have you yearning for the sand between your toes and a drink in your hand.

Tenth and final track is a live in the studio cover of well trodden Don Nix song 'Going Down' (also covered by Albert King, Jeff Beck, Pearl Jam to name a few of many) belted out with gusto and perhaps some of Sammy's Cabo Wabo tequila in their bellies by the revamped HSAS which comprises Hagar, Journey's Neal Schon with Michael Anthony and Chad Smith replacing bassist Kenny Aaronson and drummer Michael Shrieve. So it's basically Chickenfoot with Neal Schon instead of Joe Satriani whose surname initial could have also made Chickenfoot HSAS! Weird eh?

All in all 'Sammy Hagar & Friends' is somewhat patchy stylistically but Hagar's distinctive voice and personality carries it through the odd bump in the road. Sammy's having fun and that's all he cares about right now so pour yourself a tall one and join in! Bottoms up!

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Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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