Sammy Hagar sets dates for 2012 Birthday Bash; reunion with Ronnie Montrose was planned

Sammy Hagar has announced the dates for his 2012 Birthday Bash, commemorating the Chickenfoot lead singer’s 65th. Festivities will again take place at the Cabo Wabo club in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, this time on Oct. 7, 9, 11 and 13.

“We know that a lot of you have been waiting for confirmation on the dates for this year’s Birthday Bash so you can make your travel plans,” Hagar said in a posting on his Web site. “Tickets will be handled similar to last year and further details will be announced as the dates get closer.”

This year’s celebration will be dampened somewhat by the absence of Ronnie Montrose, the hard rock guitar-playing legend who gave Hagar his first break. Plans for a reunion with all four original members of the Montrose band at the Birthday Bash came to a halt when Montrose lost his five-year battle with prostate cancer on Saturday.

“We were talking a lot,” Hagar said, in a remembrance posted at RollingStone.com, “because we were planning a Montrose reunion for my birthday in Cabo this year. Montrose, the whole band, has not been there. Denny’s (Carmassi) been there, Bill’s (Church) been there, Ronnie’s been there – but (the whole band together) has never been there. I said to Ronnie, ‘Come on, man. We’re all getting old. Let’s do this again while we can.’ And he was in, we were all in. On my 65th, on October 13th, I was planning on coming out with Montrose, doing the whole first album, then going in with my other band, and then bringing Chickenfoot out. I was going to try to (cover) my whole four decades for the fans that night, without nobody knowing. The fans don’t ever know what I’m going to do down there. And Ronnie was in. … It’s fucked up that those songs will never be played by those four members again. That’s so weird to me. It’s like the end of an era. Songs can go forever, but we can’t.”

The Montrose band’s self-titled ’73 debut, underrated at the time, has since become a touchstone recording in rock — serving as a reference point, for instance, in the mid-1970s work of Van Halen. Hagar was then part of a second edition of Van Halen, beginning in 1985.

Here’s a look back at our recent thoughts on Sammy Hagar, Van Halen and Chickenfoot. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: CHICKENFOOT’S KENNY ARONOFF: When superstar drummer Kenny Aronoff — on tour now with Chickenfoot — starts recalling his sideman projects, they spill out with no rhyme or reason. He’s, almost literally, played them all. Of course, today it’s Chickenfoot, an all-star rock group featuring vocalist Sammy Hagar and bassist Michael Anthony, late of Van Halen, and sizzling guitar hero Joe Satriani. Aronoff is filling in for Chad Smith, who did the record but is now on tour with his main band, the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Chickenfoot announced a new U.S. tour this week, after a string of successful European stops in January. Chickenfoot is just the latest stop in a dizzyingly diverse career for one of music’s most in-demand drummers. Aronoff starts listing them off then stops himself, taking it all in: “I mean, are you fucking kidding me?”

AFFABLE MICHAEL ANTHONY SAYS HE WON’T PURSUE ROYALTY CASE OVER NEW VAN HALEN ALBUM: When David Lee Roth confirmed that Van Halen returned to the band’s vaults in search of old pieces of music and existing lyrics for a much-anticipated new album, it brought up the question of royalties for original bassist Michael Anthony. Van Halen had a policy, back then, of crediting all four members equally for each song — meaning Anthony could potentially make a case for a cut of the cash when it comes to A Different Kind of Truth. That won’t happen, though. Anthony, who was ousted from Van Halen along with singer Sammy Hagar in advance of this reunion with original frontman Roth, says he won’t be lawyering up.

SOMETHING ELSE! FEATURED ARTIST: VAN HALEN: A long-waited reunion with original lead singer David Lee Roth has Van Halen back in the news … and us digging through some old albums. Here’s a look back at a few favorite moments with Roth — and yes, Sammy, too — including “Runnin’ with the Devil,” “Hot for Teacher,” “Jamie’s Cryin,’” “Good Enough,” “And the Cradle will Rock” and “Ice Cream Man.” Let’s start shredding!

THE FRIDAY MORNING LISTEN: VAN HALEN – WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST (1980): Maybe the best thing about this Van Halen deal is the reemergence of the great Roth vs. Hagar debates. What cracks me up is when guys (and let’s face it, it’s mostly guys) start plastering the opposition (because face it, they are now “the enemy”) with all sorts of nasty labels. Gees guys, it’s only rock ‘n roll, you know? OK, so I’m not trying to make this sound like I don’t have an opinion on this matter. It’s just that people tend to get “stuck” in the way they think about these things. So while I vastly prefer the original Van Halen lineup to the Sammy years, I tend to think about them as two completely different bands, with the latter being more pop-oriented. In my mind, this makes defending one band over another kind of pointless.

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The Something Else! webzine, an accredited Google News affiliate, has been featured in The New York Times and NPR.com's A Blog Supreme, while our writers have also been published by USA Today, Jazz.com and UltimateClassicRock.com, among others. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.

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