But long before the California-born rocker made a splash as a solo artist or fronting Van Halen, he was a teen-aged front man for Montrose, a hard rock band put together by guitar wiz Ronnie Montrose.
(photo courtesy of redrocker.com)
Hagar (front right) was barely out of his teens when Montrose picked him to front the band in 1973. Montrose had already made a name for himself by playing with Edgar Winter and Van Morrison.
In Montrose, Hagar would front a solid band that included Bill Church on bass and Denny Carmassi on drums – both of whom would follow Hagar into his solo career in 1976, The band produced two albums, Montrose and Paper Money, and their tunes included ‘Bad Motor Scooter,’ which Hagar wrote and would continue to play live for years to come.
After splitting with Montrose, Hagar launched a moderately successful solo career, which included the hit ‘I Can’t Drive 55.’
Hagar did a few side projects, including forming a band with former Journey guitarist Neil Schon, ex-Santana drummer Michael Shrieve and bassist Kenny Aaronson, who played with Dust, Richard Hell and others.
But in 1985 he hit the big stage for good when he replaced David Lee Roth in Van Halen, reviving that band during an 11-year run that re-established Van Halen as rock icons.
He left Valen in 1996 and again did some side projects before joining Joe Satriani and former Van Halen bandmate Michael Anthony on bass. And, frankly, it seems like Hagar is nowhere near retirement, so it’s a matter of time before he adds to career resume.
Which, of course, begins as a 19-year-old front man for Ronnie Montrose.
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