Last year, Sammy Hagar hit the road with a new backing band called the Circle, which features original Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony, drummer Jason Bonham and guitarist Vic Johnson. “We call ourselves the Circle because this band has kinda taken me full circle in my career,” he told Rolling Stone. “I can play from every era, from Montrose to Van Halen to solo, Chickenfoot and some Led Zeppelin.”
On May 19th, the group is releasing the live album At Your Service, featuring Van Halen hits like “Right Now” and “Dreams,” solo cuts such as “I Can’t Drive 55,” Zeppelin classics like “Whole Lotta Love” and “Rock and Roll” and the Montrose oldie “Rock Candy.” “We’re a brand new band,” said Hagar. “And our first record will be a greatest hits record. Top that!” Above, watch their video for “When It’s Love,” which originally appeared on Van Halen’s 1988 LP OU812.
You can catch Sammy Hagar and the Circle on the road beginning April 11th in Las Vegas. The current incarnation of Van Halen are playing 39 amphitheaters this summer without a lot of time off, but Hagar prefers a more leisurely pace when he goes out. “I credit myself with having somewhat of a preserved voice,” he said in the earlier interview. “I can still sing all these songs, but if I tried to 100 shows a year that would probably be my last one. I’d rather stretch it out and do 20 shows a year and do that for another five or six years.
Hagar’s focus on the Circle means that Chickenfoot, his supergroup with Anthony, Chad Smith and Joe Satriani, has been put on the back burner. “I love making music, but doing it on Chickenfoot’s level means spending a half-million on a record,” he says. “We write and record for six months. It’s a lot of work, and then to not sell many records. It’s disappointing. I don’t like being disappointed. I like winning.”