The Circle, which includes Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, drummer Jason Bonham, and guitarist Vic Johnson, has been Hagar’s primary touring band since 2015. Their debut LP Space Between arrived in 2019. Crazy Times marks their first collaboration with Cobb (Chris Stapleton) and features nine new songs and a cover of the 1978 Elvis Costello classic “Pump It Up.”
“Working with Dave Cobb for the first time was enlightening,” Hagar said in a statement. “We went into the studio to record in the fall of 2021, when the world was starting to come out of the pandemic bubble we’d all been living in. The lyrics for ‘Crazy Times’ just came from that new freedom we were feeling, the freedom felt unbelievable, but a little uncertain, too. We had to ask ourselves ‘what are we doing here and what do we want?’
“Going back in the studio, creating and being with the music is just what felt natural,” he continued. “And it was just so different from any record I’ve ever made. There was joy in the hard work, catharsis and the camaraderie we’d craved. It was like those two years of not being able to do very much fell away and we really all came together and let it out in the music and lyrics. We were able to express what we all felt.”
Hagar and the Circle are in the early stages of a tour that will take them all across North America over the next few months, culminating in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, in October for Hagar’s three-day birthday celebration. Their set is a mixture of original Circle songs, Van Halen classics, Led Zeppelin covers, and selections from Hagar’s solo career. Earlier this year, they began playing “Ain’t Talkin’ ’bout Love” and “Runnin’ With The Devil” with Anthony on vocals. Prior to that, they had never played songs from the David Lee Roth era of Van Halen.