In a brand new interview with Forbes.com, legendary rocker Sammy Hagar was asked how he decides what bands he should join and which bands to avoid. "I was asked at one time to be in MÖTLEY CRÜE," he replied. "I was asked at one time to be in PANTERA by their managers. I was asked to be in VELVET REVOLVER when Scott Weiland quit and went back to the STONE TEMPLE PILOTS. I was waiting to be asked to be in LED ZEPPELIN to say no, since they were the greatest band on earth and no could replace Robert Plant. I was asked to be in AEROSMITH and I said no. Certain bands and certain frontman singers are more difficult to replace than others. Steven Tyler and that band have stayed together for forty years and you don't to walk into something like that. They had one moment years ago, when they replaced Joe Perry, but it's still always been Steven at the front of AEROSMITH. You don't replace that. When I came into VAN HALEN, it was easy because Dave [Lee Roth] wasn't a great singer, but he was a good frontman. In those times, I was selling out the same arenas they were, so it was like the combination of two forces and it worked but it's a rare thing. We were all lucky that the fans accepted it and it got bigger. I would avoid bands that are going to break up pretty soon."
When asked how having a strong band behind him in VAN HALEN helped him establish his brand, Hagar said, "Certainly the exposure of a band like VAN HALEN for 10-11 years, we were one of the biggest bands in the world and walked out into sold out crowds every night. The way I dressed and presented myself, the fact that I wrote every lyric in that band, and every song I sang was pretty much exploiting who I am to the audience. The exposure of the band helped promote my tequila company. Lots of people are coming up with tequilas, but you're going to have to come up with 5-10 million dollars a year to promote to break a new brand. If you're not Sammy Hagar or someone on that level who can go out and promote it as part of your job, it's going to cost you a lot of money. If you're me, you don't have to spend a penny on it. I promoted it on tour, saving five million dollars and made money on my shows. It was a great crossover; rolling my brand into my business. It works the best when you're a real person, having a TV show like Jay Leno, or being a rock star playing for thousands of people every night. It's not cheap if you own what you're doing and it's all about you. If you're promoting someone else's product that way, you're cheap. A lot of celebrities endorse products that they don't give a crap about, just trying to pretend like it's theirs. That doesn't work so well. . . If you don't own it, and just endorse it, people can read through that and you become phony. The crazy thing about it is you're spending all that time for a small amount of money and it's their thing, and when they're done with you, they spit you out. That's the way the media is and the way most corporate people think. Probably, my guess is that it would be very hard for me to get an endorsement right now. I'm an aging rock star, over the hill, and they're looking for the young current guy. That's cool and all but it so much better than doing your own thing. It has more value. The biggest stars right now may not have longevity, like Charlie Sheen. If someone representing your brand does something like that, your brand goes down the toilet. It's much better to leave that complicated thing out and start your own business."
Read the entire interview at Forbes.com.