Once in a while, I'd go over to his dressing room before the show and see how he was, and the times I did that it was usually great. He'd start playing, I'd start singing, jamming around, like old times. Other times, he'd start telling me crazy shit, like, "I pulled my own tooth -- this thing was bugging me so I got a pair of pliers and pulled it out."
I didn't think he could make it. I kept thinking each week would be the last. He was going to land in the hospital. He collapsed a couple of times. He told us one time that he had been hit by a car. He was lying down, and he was so fucked up, he couldn't get up. "I got hit by a car," he said. "You guys don't understand."
His solo turned into a disaster. It used to be the highlight of every show. Now he would play nothing, just garbage. He would try to play "Eruption," one of his greatest pieces, and screw it up. He would just grab the whammy bar, hit the sustainer, and start making all this noise. The audience wasn't buying it, either.
From the forthcoming book RED: My Uncensored Life in Rock by Sammy Hagar. Copyright © 2011 by Sammy Hagar. To be published on March 15, 2011 by IT Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
For more from RED, click here