Review: Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock by Sammy Hagar

Red: My Uncensored Life in RockRed: My Uncensored Life in Rock by Sammy Hagar

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Recently, a fellow tweeter and I discussed what we like to read. She told me she didn’t like biographies; I told her I do if they are well-written. Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock by Sammy Hagar was already in my TBR pile at the time. That conversation inspired me to pick up the book and read. I’m so glad I did.

For almost forty years, Sammy Hagar has been a fixture in rock music. From breaking into the industry with the band Montrose to his multiplatinum solo career to his ride as the front man of Van Halen, Sammy’s powerful and unforgettable voice has set the tone for some of the greatest rock anthems ever written—songs like “I Can’t Drive 55,” “Right Now,” and “Why Can’t This Be Love.”

In Red, Sammy tells the outrageous story of his tear through rock ‘n’ roll. From the decadence of being one of the world’s biggest rock stars to the unfiltered story of being forced out of Van Halen, Sammy’s account spares no one, least of all himself. His is a tale of a true rock ‘n’ roller—someone who’s spent decades bringing the party with him wherever he goes but always headin’ back to Cabo for más tequila.

Red is hands down the best biography I have ever read. I’ll admit I’m a huge Hagar fan and have been since his days with Montrose. For that reason, I feared reading about his exploits; I didn’t want to find out something that would make me dislike him.

Rest assured, he is no saint and he did some crappy things in his lifetime. What makes this book so good is the honesty in which he lays it all out there. It’s like you’re sitting with him and he’s talking to you. He admits his failings and takes pride in his successes.

There were times while reading that my jaw dropped at his candidness and others when I stopped to share passages with my mother. The man said some very profound things about children and the birth of his second son in particular. “When a baby’s born, it is a miracle. You can read the Bible or other books, and you hear about miracles. You want something to affect you and change your life like that. You want to see Jesus walk on water. You want to see someone heal, take a cripple and make him walk. You want to see those things. We all want that. When you see a baby born, you see that.”

He shares a lot of ugliness too. Stories about people he worked with, not just the Van Halen brothers, and the lifestyle of a rock and roll heavyweight. The years he spent with his first wife and her battle with depression. He didn’t gloss over the details. I had no reason to worry; I like him even more now.

I could go on gushing about this book, but I’d rather you read it. Whether you are a fan of Sammy Hagar and his music or not, it’s a terrific read. You’ll find something about the human spirit within these pages. It’s gritty and beautiful. So, go on. Go pick up a copy for yourself. I’m going to pull out some Hagar CDs and take a cruise down memory lane.

“It’s your one way ticket to midnight, call it, Heavy Metal…”

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