It begins with drummer Jason Bonham calling up Hagar to suggest the song. “Give me a call,” he says, while a recording of AC/DC’s “Hell Ain’t a Bad Place to Be” plays in the background. “I think I have an idea for Lockdown Sessions number five. Do you remember the AC/DC song we used to do in Cabo? I’m sure you do, though you may not remember many things that go on in Cabo.”
He’s referring to the band’s October 2016 four-night Birthday Bash at Cabo Wabo in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where they played “Whole Lotta Rosie” at every show. That’s the only time they’ve done the song, but the band — which also features former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and guitarist Vic Johnson — regularly breaks out tunes by Led Zeppelin, Montrose, Alice in Chains and other classic rock icons at their gigs.
The group was supposed to spend the summer playing gigs with Whitesnake and Night Ranger, but it’s very likely that the COVID-19 pandemic will force them to postpone the dates. They have spent their quarantine time teaming up digitally on songs like the Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again,” Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds,” Van Halen’s “Good Enough” and their original tune “Funky Feng Shui.”
Meanwhile, the future of Van Halen remains quite unclear. They haven’t played a show since 2015 and frontman David Lee Roth filled up his 2020 calendar with Las Vegas dates and a stint opening for Kiss on their farewell tour, telling the press that the band is “finished.”
The future of AC/DC is also quite murky, although there were reports (and photographic evidence) last year that the band was cutting a new album in Vancouver. They suggested that frontman Brian Johnson and drummer Phil Rudd had returned to the fold, although nothing is remotely official and the COVID-19 outbreak probably put their plans on hold.
Whatever the future holds for Van Halen and AC/DC, Sammy Hagar and the Circle remain determined to keep their music alive, even during lockdown.