Concert Reports


Sammy Hagar

Rival Sons

09/04/2013, Vina Robles Amphitheatre, Paso Robles

Sammy Hagar brought his “Four Decades of Rock” tour with Michael Anthony and Rival Sons to the Vina Robles Amphitheatre in Paso Robles on September 4.


All Photos: Ray Soto/ Central Coast Rocks


Sammy340.jpgBilled as “Forty years of iconic music from the legendary Hall-of-Famer,” Sammy treated fans to a high-octane performance filled with the best of the Red Rocker’s prolific and storied career. Hagar was joined by his Chickenfoot band mate and “other half” of Van Hager, Michael Anthony for Sammy Hagar Four Decades of Rock. Fans were treated to an exceptional night of music as openers Rival Sons more than held their own with their powerful raw delivery of rock n roll. “Its four guys just slugging it out and working as hard as they can. That’s one thing for sure I can say about this band, everybody gives everything they have,” Rival Sons vocalist Jay Buchanan told us when asked to describe his band’s live show. The singer’s words held true as Rival Sons tore through hits “Pressure and Time,” “Keep On Swinging,” and “Until The Sun Comes.” The latter two songs are off their current release Head Down which was released last year to critical acclaim. The band wrote, recorded, and mixed the album in just 20 days, and the band conjured the same energy that made their last album a fan and critical favorite, while time treading new territory altogether. The rawness and immediacy– textured with a myriad of light and shade–produce powerful results. Look for Rival Sons to remain on the road till year’s end then go into the studio in January to make a new record.


When multi-platinum, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Sammy Hagar unveiled his heralded “Four Decades of Rock” show last year, he promised fans a tour would soon follow and the party of the lifetime would continue. This summer he’s making good on that promise with his 12 city “Four Decades of Rock” tour across North America this summer, with select dates featuring his band The Wabos and legendary former band mates, Michael Anthony (Van Halen, Chickenfoot), Denny Carmassi and Bill Church (Montrose).  


Sammy190.jpgFrom “I Can’t Drive 55,” “Your Love is Driving Me Crazy,” and “When It's Love,” to "Oh Yeah!" “Rock Candy,” “Right Now,” and more - Hagar’s concert celebrates four decades of high-octane hits from his prolific and storied career. The tour kicked off with Sammy and The Wabos for “Sammy Hagar Four Decades of Rock” at Tulalip Hotel & Casino in Washington on August 15. This lineup was also intact when the group played venues in Airway Heights, WA, Jackpot, NV, Loveland, CO, and Paso Robles, CA. Hagar was then be joined by his CHICKENFOOT band mate and “other half” of VAN HAGAR, Michael Anthony for “Sammy Hagar Four Decades of Rock with Michael Anthony.” They first rocked Chicago on August 23, followed by St. Paul, Detroit and Toronto. The party continues, as Hagar and Anthony will then hook up with MONTROSE greats Bill Church and Denny Carmassi for “Sammy Hagar Four Decades of Rock with Michael Anthony, Denny Carmassi and Bill Church” in St. Louis, Lake Tahoe and San Francisco.  

Hagar, former Van Halen front man and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, is currently on his fourth platinum run with the supergroup, Chickenfoot. He’s also become a dedicated philanthropist, a New York Times best-selling author and a successful entrepreneur with his CaboWabo Tequila brand, Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum and several successful bars and restaurants.  

After bursting on to the scene in San Francisco as the lead singer of Montrose, and with eight solo albums, Hagar joined Van Halen in 1985. They had four consecutive #1 albums before the band broke up in the mid-nineties. He later returned to Van Halen to lead a triumphant 2004 reunion tour.

Aside from making his mark as a songwriter and vocalist, Hagar has played with a succession of genius guitar players; from Ronnie Montrose and Neal Schon to Eddie Van Halen and Joe Satriani from his current group, Chickenfoot, which also features former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith.  

Hagar’s autobiography, Red: My Uncensored Life in Rock, reached #1 on the New York Times Best Seller List in 2011 as a hardcover and again claimed the same spot in paperback in 2012.  

For more information on the Sammy Hagar Four Decades of Rock tour ticket information and all things Sammy Hagar, visit




Long Beach band Rival Sons are a raucous, maximum-blues-infused, rock ‘n’ roll band that explode with the rhythm and thrill of some of the greatest live acts of all time. From their 2011 album Pressure & Time to this year’s breakthrough Head Down the strength of their live performances has gained the band major attention everywhere. Recent accolades include, a stint opening up for Guns ‘n’ Roses last year, plus legends like Judas Priest, AC/DC and Alice Cooper, and playing the likes of Download festival, Rock Am Ring, Sonisphere, T in the Park, to name a few European festivals. Head Down charted at number 1 in the UK rock charts for several weeks and number 31 in the UK national chart. The band’s intense work agenda (with an aim to release an album a year), plus their grueling live schedule, have won the band a reputation for hard-graft. In the studio the band commit themselves to creating an experience that closely matches the attitude and excitement of their live performance. Right off a four-week stint on the road, Rival Sons wrote, recorded, and mixed the album in just twenty days; ensuring rawness for both the listener and the band.


In October 2012, Rival Sons finished up their UK leg of the sold out European “Head Down” tour with a fantastic show at the Electric Ballroom, introduced on stage by legendary presenter Bob Harris (of the Old Grey Whistle Test), and with Jimmy Page in the audience.  


Interview with Rival Son’s Jay Buchanan


Central Coast Rocks: You guys are from Long Beach and have varied musical backgrounds, tell us how you all came together and how your varied Musical Backgrounds somehow mesh into your awesome Rock Sound


RSSinger30.jpgJay Buchanan: Well, it was late summer 2008 and the guys had been playing together for a little while and they had somebody else singing and it just really wasn’t clicking, it wasn’t really taking off. So they called me up and I jammed with them and it just fit as soon as we got together. It was the last thing I was looking for, I was really busy. Because I had never been in a rock n roll band and never really had any interest in doing anything like that before. But the energy was so evident and it was so good that I had to come back. I think initially whatever special quality there is about our band I think it comes from our disparate influences. I’m much more of a soul singer-songwriter guy, Scott (Holiday-Guitar) is definitely garage rock straight up rock n roll, and our recently departed bass player (Robin Everhart) he was definitely a Jazz guy and Motown. (Mike) Miley comes from rock n roll and is a huge Jazz guy and Latin percussion all of this different stuff. So I really feel like if there’s a point of distinction with the band it’s really the sound of that friction, of all of us coming together.


Central Coast Rocks: You digitally self released your debut “Before The Fire” after leaving Atlantic Records. Tell us about that decision to leave the record company and self release the debut


Jay Buchanan: We get hit up about this pretty often and I think that’s because of our Wikipedia Page. The band was never on Atlantic, the band was on EMI. Scott was on Atlantic and I was in negotiations with Atlantic a couple years back but it was totally independent of anything this band was doing. So it was never Atlantic, it was EMI that we had gotten the first record together with so we were going to do the record with them but then they shelved it. The band wasn’t going to get the attention that it needed and that’s fine because Atlantic’s had like four different presidents in the last eight years, always changing hands. So for us we decided that we wanted to take up a much more independent approach after that where we could really be our own bosses and oversee everything we were doing.


Central Coast Rocks: Were the songs written for your current release “Head Down” fairly recent to recording or do some of the ideas go back a ways?

RSGuitarist40.jpgJay Buchanan: We go into the studio with nothing. And we give ourselves just under three weeks that we book, so we have to get in there we have to write everything on the spot. That way as soon as we get done writing it we’re recording it. It’s very immediate and we do that very intentionally to try and capture the energy. Because if you’ve played it out on the road and toured with the song, everybody knows exactly what they’re doing. Everybody has the identity down pat and then that spontaneity is lost. It’ll sound really good, it will sound like a band that has toured and knows exactly how the song goes. But if you leave it up all up to chance that way and if you make it so that everyone in the band has to rely on instinct because we just wrote it, it’s gonna have that energy. There are a lot of songs on that record (Head Down,) and the previous record as well (Pressure and Time) where what the listener is hearing when they put the record on they’re hearing us play it for the first time. So the listener’s first time… it becomes like a shared experience. I don’t know that we’ll always make records that way but that’s the way we’re doing it right now.


Central Coast Rocks: Tell us about working with Producer Dave Cobb (Jamie Johnson, Shooter Jennings) and Grammy-winning engineer Vance Powell (The White Stripes, Kings of Leon)


Jay Buchanan: I think that Dave is definitely the producer for this band. He totally understands who we are, what we’re trying to do. He can be hands on when we ask him to. He’s really good at capturing the snapshot of who the band is and capturing our energy. Vance is great, he’s got a great repertoire and very professional and very direct.


Central Coast Rocks: Describe your live show


RSDrummer10.jpgJay Buchanan: Its four guys just slugging it out and working as hard as they can. That’s one thing for sure I can say about this band, everybody gives everything they have. Nobody’s phoning it in and we’re playing for the song. Even in terms of playing for these larger audiences on this tour and especially playing for someone else’s audience. We’re coming in as an opener for an Iconic (Sammy Hagar) band, you’re definitely guilty until proven innocent, you know?


Central Coast Rocks: You guys are no strangers to touring and playing live. Do any one or two shows stand out for you personally over the years?


Jay Buchanan: I think that we had a really good show in Gothenburg Sweden this last year. There was a few thousand people, we were on a headlining tour so they were our crowd. The crowd was so nuts for us and they were all there to see us, it was a validation you know? We made it here, we’re doing really well. Theres been so many great experiences but you kind of learn to put them behind you so you don’t rest on your laurels. Every night is gonna be new, every audience is gonna be a new audience. For me, I don’t ever wanna fool myself, getting up there and gaining confidence off of something I’ve already done. I’ve got to earn it, I’ve got to earn it in real time. Getting to be the opening band is really exciting because you gotta earn it. You gotta earn the fans one by one, it doesn’t come with the package.


Central Coast Rocks: Tell us how you hooked up on the Sammy Hagar Tour. Was he an influence of yours over the years?


RSSinger120.jpgJay Buchanan: I think professionally a huge influence. Listening to Sammy’s stuff, I was never like a Sammy Hagar collector, it was never like that even though we come from the same home town him as a person and his approach was always very inspiring to me. Watching him, we both come out of this bullshit roughneck, barely blue collar steel town of Fontana, Calif. Watching him get out and transcend was definitely a big deal. I met him once when I was younger before he became a big fan of the band. He asked me to write a song for this new record (“Not Going Down” from Sammy Hagar & Friends) and he ended up really liking it. He’s championed our band from the beginning, we’ve been very, very fortunate. So he asked us to come out and we said sweet, lets do it.


Central Coast Rocks: The Music business keeps changing, what advice would you have for bands just starting out?


Jay Buchanan: Make good music. Make really good music. If you tell someone to make really good music it almost doesn’t even make sense. Make the best music you’re capable of. When you’re in your bedroom and you’re trying to write songs when you’re 12 or 13 you’re doing the best you can. But it isn’t like you’re going to write great stuff. You’re going to write stuff that’s appropriate to where you are artistically. Just always try to reach whatever potential you’re capable of artistically. If you’re a guitar player try to reach you’re potential, drummer the same thing, vocalist the same thing. Just do the very, very best that you’re capable of doing. Don’t let other people set your bar for you. Because if you look around the bar might look like it’s really low, so don’t listen to them, play for you’re idols. Beyond that the industry is changing like crazy so I couldn’t even begin to offer advice but I do know it should begin and end with the music.


Central Coast Rocks: When will you start recording new music?


Jay Buchanan: We’re gonna go into the studio in January and make a new record and we’ll treat it the same way. I write music every day out of compulsion but not for Rival Sons. I don’t want to cheat the band out of the experience of the spontaneous combustion of writing.


Central Coast Rocks: Final Words for your fans?


Jay Buchanan: Yeah, whatever fans we have, the people that buy our records and come to our shows, Thank You. It’s really…. I don’t know how many different ways I can say that, it’s just Thank You because we need to have an audience to play for, that is going to buy our records, that is going to download our single and but our t-shirts and stuff so that we can afford to tour and make new music. Without that support we would all have day jobs and just make music whenever we had time, maybe just on the weekends. Having a fan base allows us to do this full time and to really have the opportunity to see how fast this horse can ride, what we’re really capable of doing. Thank You.  


Very Special Thanks: Bari Lieberman, Jay Buchanan 




About Vina Robles Amphitheatre Welcome to the Vina Robles Amphitheatre, where European Inspiration meets California Character and the stars always shine. Here, two of California's great compositions meet, as exceptional wine and intimate live music are paired to create an unforgettable wine country experience.  

The 3,300 seat boutique amphitheatre is nestled on a picturesque, oak-dotted hillside in Paso Robles on California's Central Coast. With its opening in the summer of 2013, the Vina Robles Amphitheatre became one of the largest outdoor venues for arts and entertainment in San Luis Obispo County. Featuring a style reminiscent of the California missions, guests are able to immerse themselves in a unique and intimate concert adventure as they enjoy modern amenities and first class hospitality. The concert season runs from May through November and features top tier acts from around the world in all genres. Various seating options all within 150 feet from the stage, including regular, VIP and general admission lawn seating, make events accessible to anyone in the community. We look forward to sharing our love of wine and the arts with you soon. For more information about the Vina Robles Winery, Click Here  


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