The MarketWatch Q&A: Van Halen’s Sammy Hagar on making music, managing money…and drinking $80K bottles of wine

by | Feb 20, 2023 | Stock Market

Sammy Hagar says he still can’t drive 55. But it’s difficult to tell if he means that literally, or if he’s speaking about his take-no-prisoners philosophy of life as a whole. Hagar — aka the Red Rocker — is the Rock & Roll Hall of Famer best known for his stints as lead singer of Van Halen over two periods (yes, he’s the guy who followed David Lee Roth). He’s also worked extensively as a solo artist, with his 1984 song, “I Can’t Drive 55,” being his biggest hit.

But Hagar, now 75 years old, is a musician who’s found equal footing in the business world, almost like a hard-rocking equivalent to the entrepreneurial Jimmy Buffett. He scored a major success with his Cabo Wabo tequila brand, which he sold to Gruppo Campari for $100 million in 2008. Today, his empire covers spirits (he’s got a new tequila called Santo); canned cocktails (he launched Sammy’s Beach Bar Cocktail Co.); and restaurants (his Cabo Wabo Cantina, located in Mexico, has been in business since 1990, plus there’s his Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill chain). He’s even written his own mixology book, “Sammy Hagar’s Cocktail Hits.” Somehow, in the midst of all this, Hagar also keeps making music. He now heads up a group called The Circle, which released its latest album, “Crazy Times,” in 2022. MarketWatch caught up recently with Hagar to learn about his frenetic life and career, and to get his views on key matters of personal finance. Here are edited excerpts from the conversation. MarketWatch: You’ve had a very successful career in music, but you just keep branching out. Is there a logical thread that connects your career in music with all t …

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