How Sammy Hagar Bonded With Pink Floyd

A chance meeting at a Los Angeles recording studio helped Sammy Hagar and members of Pink Floyd forge a friendship built around fast cars and fine wine.

Hagar was on a short break from his Van Halen duties, working on songs at A&M Studios for what would become his next solo album, 1987’s I Never Said Goodbye. Pink Floyd was in a separate room at A&M, engrossed in sessions for their first post-Roger Waters effort, A Momentary Lapse of Reason.

Even though both camps were busy individually, they made time to socialize. “Nick Mason was there. Every day I’d drive one of my different Ferraris [and] they are Ferrari collectors themselves,” Hagar tells UCR. “So they’d be waiting for me and we’d have long chats about my various cars.”

Next, “David Gilmour and I discussed fine wines,” Hagar adds. “We both had collections.” (He teases a “great Bordeaux story” from their time together.) Rumors circulated that Gilmour subsequently guested on I Never Said Goodbye, but Hagar says that didn’t happen: “He was never asked to play on the record.”

Still, there was some overlap between the two sessions. Pink Floyd was having difficulties capturing the right drum performance for “The Dogs of War,” Hagar shares. “It was a shuffle, and I guess Nick wasn’t playing it right,” he says. “I tried to get [Montrose and Hagar drummer] Denny Carmassi on it.” Vanilla Fudge and Rod Stewart drummer Carmine Appice was ultimately tapped to play the part instead.

Listen to Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dogs of War’

Decades later, Hagar remains a diehard fan of Pink Floyd — and he can see how their music impacted his career. “If you listen to my Red album, the song ‘Red,’ it’s got all of these changes. It goes through all of these [moments]. I’m a prog guy. I have a hard time simplifying things,” Hagar explains. “I like to keep going. They say, ‘Well, you don’t need all of those parts,’ and I’m going, ‘Yeah, I do!’

“I’m a Pink Floyd nut,” he concludes. “To me, my favorite band in the world ever has got to be Pink Floyd, and maybe Tool. Two dark, weird-ass bands.”

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