The Son of Sammy Hagar breaks out with From The Other Side
The millennial children of MTV rock legends are all grown up and bursting onto the music scene with fresh and exciting projects that are defining the sound of a new generation.
They’re a little bit outlaw country, and a little bit shredder rock and roll. Mix in some psychedelic americana punk and you’ve got the making of a festival for the ages.
Currently hitting it big are the Nelson Boys. Lukas Nelson, son of Willie Nelson, age 30, is a Grammy contender for his work on A Star Is Born. His band Promise of the Real has performed with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper as well as Neil Young, Kris Kristofferson and Kurt Vile. His younger brother, 28-year-old Micah Nelson,also known as the Particle Kid, has opened for The Flaming Lips, played the festival circuit from Coachella to Lightning in a Bottle, and has appeared on the late shows with Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, and Conan O’Brien. Both of the Nelson Boys were featured in Daryl Hannah’s stoner film, Paradox. Other tremendously successful second generation kids include Bob Dylan’s son Jakob Dylan who at age 48 has racked up multiple Grammys.
In a parallel universe, the Van Halen kids are trying to carve out their own paths. Wolfie Van Halen, son of Eddie Van Halen, age 27, recently completed production of his long-awaited solo album, and Andrew Hagar, son of Sammy Hagar, age 34, who performs as S.o.S, has started to release songs from his upcoming EP, From The Other Side.
I had a chance to talk with Hagar about the journey he’s been on to find his own voice. What follows is an edited transcript of our interview.
Your dad was the lead singer of Van Halen from 1985 through 1996, almost your entire young life. What was it like being around rock royalty as a child?
It was a trip because it was like a double life.
My dad joined Van Halen around the time I was born and exited a few years after the divorce. I was 7 years old when they split. I would visit my dad for the holidays and go on the road with him. Some of my earliest memories are being backstage at Van Halen shows or on the tour bus watching Charlie Brown Peanuts videos. When I started to get a little older, my early teens, I really started becoming cognizant of who my dad was and how big of a deal it was for a lot of folks out there.
I grew up primarily with my mom and lived a very modest, middle class life. We moved all over Monterey County for awhile. We lived way out deep in Carmel Valley, on a ranch in Big Sur, as well as in town. It was primarily a very rustic kind of country living.
When you went on tour with Van Halen, were you friends with Wolfie?
I didn’t get to spend too much time with Wolfie except when he was really young but I have a tremendous amount of respect for him and what he’s doing now. He’s about to come out with his debut album and is a tremendous multi-instrumentalist.
He also has a tough act to follow. I think for everybody that’s in our position, people just assume we were born with silver spoons in our mouths. But everybody has their own struggles dealing with getting out of the shadow, you know, and it’s really hard. There’s a lot of scrutiny, a lot of things people don’t really see. A lot of challenges.
Any plans to play together?
I’m much more of a folk Americana acoustic musician, whereas Wolfie is very much in that rock and roll world. That guy is a ripper, he’s a shredder on the guitar. I am very much not a shredder on anything haha, so I don’t know if it necessarily would be in the same wheelhouse but I’m totally open to working with him in any aspect.
How did you get your start?
I only started playing music seriously three to four years ago.
One of the first things I ever got to do was go on tour with Kris Kristofferson, opening up for Willie Nelson which was incredible. We did three separate mini tours with Willie. Started in March of 2016, went out again in early late summer, capped it off with the Kris Kristofferson tour. I had a duet project with Kris’ daughter Kelly Kristofferson. It was called the Appalachian Murder Bunnies. We sang murder ballads where she played banjo or acoustic guitar and I played acoustic guitar. We were dating at the time and things were going really well. Then we went on tour in Scandinavia with Kris for seven weeks. We got to play for the Danish Prime Minister and across Iceland, Norway, Sweden, even Finland. It was easily one of the best experiences of my life, but when we got back from that tour we realized we were growing in different directions and went our separate ways.
I’ve toured a lot since then and played a bunch of festivals. Performed in shows with my pops, Collective Soul, ZZ Top, Bad Company, Roger Clyne & The Peacemakers, Ian Moore, and Franky Perez of Deadland Ritual.
Have you played with any of the other second generation kids?
Do you think we might see the second generation kids perform together, like in a festival showcase?
I would love to. Right now I’m building a collective of artists with a good friend of mine, King Daniel, who is an up and coming indie folk superstar. We have a mini folk festival every month at the Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles called the Holy Stoned Revival and we’re about to go on the road. We’ll be performing at a number of venues and ending at Sweetwater in Mill Valley, March 14. I would love it if we can get some of the other second generation kids on the platform. I see it evolving like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and the experiences they used to have in their live shows where they would give each of the individual songwriters a turn to sing one of their songs, and then they would do a 30 minutes acoustic set of them singing together with harmonies. They’d take a 15 minute break and then they’d come out with a psychedelic jam for a whole hour. It showcased everyone’s individual talent and their talents together as a collective and it helped to launch some of the biggest careers in music like Neil Young. Our tour dates can be found at http://holystonedrevival.com/tour/.
You just released “Triggerman,” the first track from your upcoming EP, From The Other Side. It has haunting riffs and a powerful message. What is this project about?
It’s a full length album that’s split into two EPs. The first is coming out late February early March, and the second in June or July. I’m telling a story I wrote on a plane ride back from Thailand in 2016. Its a sci-fi adventure about a guy who is completely disillusioned with his own world. And then, by some weird physics loophole, winds up falling through a wormhole into a world that feels similar to his old world but everything is backwards. In trying to get back to his own world he realizes that his wish for the grass to be greener leads him to some of the nastier things he experiences in the new world. It’s very dark and very much a reflection of our own world. If we were to imagine a scenario where we were two to three universes away from our own normal universe, and now you’ve got all of these things happening. Its as if it’s 2012 and you were looking at all the crazy things that have happened since Trump became President. You would be like “Oh, that could never happen,” yet here we are. Life is far stranger than fiction. You don’t have to look too far to see things happening that were completely outside the realm of what we previously thought would’ve been possible.
It sounds a little like Rick and Morty’s adventures through the multiverse. What were your influences?
Well I’m a hardcore physics nerd and find the show really entertaining. But I was more influenced by Hunter S Thompson, where it’s not really about the music, it’s about the story. The EPs read like a journal except the stories are out of order. For those that really want to dive into it, I’ll be releasing the correct order of the experience on vinyl, hopefully later this year.