Tag Archives: RollingStone

Phil Lesh: Grateful Dead 'Didn't Deliver' at First Monterey Pop

The Grateful Dead’s impact – on psych rock, on live recording techniques, on the meaning of a fan-based subculture – can’t really be overstated. But when it comes to 1967’s Monterey International Pop Festival, bassist and founding member Phil Lesh insists he isn’t being modest when he calls the band’s set forgettable.

“Our place in the show was the most unmemorable possible slot: between The Who and Jimi Hendrix,” he told Rolling Stone on Sunday evening, just a couple hours before he took that same stage for a headlining set at the festival’s 50th anniversary. Lesh, 77, continues to play regularly at his Marin County restaurant and music venue Terrapin Crossroads, under the name Phil Lesh and the Terrapin Family Band – a group that includes, fittingly, his son Grahame Lesh on guitar.

This time around, the band wasn’t wedged between anything: they closed out the festival with a 90-minute set of bluesy Dead jams and new tunes, as well as a gut-punch cover of “Like a Rolling Stone.” It was memorable.

So I’ve heard you don’t think the Dead’s performance at Monterey Pop went well at all.
No. I think we all felt that way, that we didn’t deliver what we could. Though, really, it didn’t matter. Between the Who tearing it up, doing a great set, and then destroying the stage at the end of their set, and then Jimi playing a fantastic set and then lighting his guitar on fire … what are you gonna remember, who came between them? No. It’s gonna be just like a big shadow, some murky space. So I don’t know whether that was a subconscious consideration we had, but we did not play well.

It was the beginning of our tradition, really – we have a tradition of blowing the big ones. So no, [this festival] was not a big career-changing moment for us like it was for so many others. But that was fine. We didn’t really care.

What was your reaction when you heard they were planning this festival? You still write and play all the time, and you don’t seem like someone content to bank on nostalgia.
I said “Oh, another 50th anniversary thing.” [Laughs.] They’ve been coming every year for a while now. But then I found out I could come down here and play with my son and the younger guys, and I am really excited about this band. So yeah, I don’t think of it in terms of nostalgia. It’s an opportunity to play, especially with these young musicians who’ve been growing so much at Terrapin Crossroads.his is the fruit of all that writing and playing and singing at Terrapin – this is now a band that we can take out into the world.

Looking toward the future, then – are there places, or current music, where you see your legacy?
I try not to think about that. It’s not about me. It’s about the community and what happened in San Francisco in the Sixties. It’s a light that still shines in this world, and if there’s any legacy at all to the Grateful Dead or the Haight-Ashbury, it’s in situations like this, where people get together outside of the political environment and come together in a kind of communion. That’s the only way we’re going to be able to move forward, is to elevate ourselves above that left-right bullshit. A house divided cannot stand. That’s my political statement for the day.

Do you think about the role or purpose of music in politics, or vice-versa, these days? Clearly that was a big part of this festival the first time around.
Well, you don’t want to really get me started on our current political situation. Obviously I see a lot of comparisons [between our situation then and now]. But the thing I remember about San Francisco and our scene in the Sixties there was we were not interested in radical violent protest. We were there to demonstrate a new way of living, so all that shit didn’t really affect us. The political stuff was pretty much only in Berkeley. And that’s my hometown, I’m proud to be a People’s Republic of Berkeley product, but that was just not our scene. We felt there was another way.

And the purpose of music is the same as it’s always been: to bring enlightenment to sentient beings. Beethoven said, “Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.” It’s bigger than politics.

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Nicki Bluhm on Playing Monterey Pop, Losing Fans Over Travel Ban Protest Song

Nicki Bluhm has excellent cowboy boots and a down-home friendliness about her, so you could be forgiven for assuming she’s a southerner. That is, until the alt-country-and-soul singer – who’s performed with Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Chris Robinson and The Avett Brothers, as well solo and with her band, the Gramblers – tells you she grew up riding horses every summer in Monterey, on the same county fairgrounds that played host to the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival.

“My family has a place in [nearby] Watsonville, so I showed here from ages 12 to 18. I actually fell off in the main arena here, it was devastating,” Bluhm told Rolling Stone inside the Levi’s Outpost pop-up lounge on Saturday evening of the Monterey Pop 50th anniversary fest, just after finishing rehearsal for her Sunday set with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. “So when they asked me to play this I was like, ‘Cool! I get a chance to redeem myself.’ I mean, aside from the fact that the bands who played here originally are some of my very favorite bands of all time.”

Tell me about the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. This is the first time you’ve played with them?
They’re from New Orleans, where I spent some time recently, and there’s no more danceable, fun music than the music that comes out of that community. There’s an honesty to it; it’s very unpretentious and joyful. Some of the Dirty Dozen guys played in marching bands, and that is such a challenging way to play music: being hot, sweating in the street with those giant instruments, stepping the right way. That’s the real deal. You kind of become like a music warrior.

So when [Monterey Pop organizers] asked me to put together a band for this, I asked them [to back me]. I’m especially excited because we’re gonna do a few Jefferson Airplane songs, and the idea of doing a tribute to Jefferson Airplane with a brass band has had my brain like, whoa. Completely different interpretations, instrumentation. I think it’s gonna be fun.

I love that you’re paying homage to Grace Slick, but it also strikes me that female-led bands were really underrepresented at the original festival. That hasn’t changed much on a lot of lineups in the 50 years since.
Yeah, the gender balance – I was thinking about this. Really, I always feel proud when there’s a chance to just show up and do my thing and prove that women can be as powerful and engaging and entertaining as men. And in some ways, for that time, it’s actually kind of cool that both Grace Slick and Janis Joplin were here in such prominent ways. I think in the bands they played with, they were very respected by their bandmates: Grace Slick wrote “White Rabbit.” And then Janis just fucking dominates. The thing about Janis is I think a lot of men were actually kind of intimidated by her. And of course she was such a partier. I started drinking Southern Comfort when I was 20 just because that’s what she drank.

You just wrapped up a new album, right?
Yes! I recorded the new album in Memphis at Sam Phillips Recording – as in Sam Phillips who founded Sun Records. This studio was built in 1958, and it is exactly the way it was then. I just moved to Nashville, but other than that I’ve never lived outside of California, so it’s been so cool to step into a different place with a different point of view. Between that and the fact that the songs on this album are so personal – making that record was the culmination of so many things for me, so many years of strife and emotion, and it felt so good to put those songs on tape and wipe my hands of them. Stepping out of the studio was like stepping into the next phase of my life.

In February you released a song called “Remember Love Wins” to protest the travel ban. You mentioned you lost fans?
Oh, yeah. A lot of people were like, “Stick to the music!” Which, to me – I’m a person, and I’m just as allowed to voice my feelings and speak my mind as you are. And I think that if you have any kind of platform and you passionately believe in something, it would be cowardly not to say what you think. I want to be respectful, and I think people should respect each other’s opinions; in the song that I wrote there is no malice at all – it’s just asking people to consider something. People want to point fingers, take sides … when, look, we all need air to breathe, food to eat and water to drink. I almost feel like we need an alien invasion at this point to remind us that we’re all in this together. People think you’re soft if you’re like “We just wanna listen to each other.” But that’s not weak. It’s actually really powerful.

Is there art or music you’re turning to for guidance these days?
Joni Mitchell, always. She’s so articulate and observant. And I just read that she was supposed to go to Woodstock, but her manager wouldn’t let her because of weather craziness, and she had a TV appearance in the next couple days that she couldn’t miss, so she canceled her gig [at the festival] and watched it from home with her manager. She watched all her friends play it and she wrote “Woodstock” that night from L.A., and then all the guys who played it also made it back for the TV appearance anyway! She just felt like the little sister, overprotected and kept at home. And I feel like that all the time. Joni’s my number one.  

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Review: Post-Punkers Algiers Find New Way to Mangle the Blues

Suggesting Birthday Party, Suicide or Public Image Limited taking a midnight leap in the mighty Mississippi, this Atlanta crew combines droogy post-punk rattle and churchy Southern roots music on their second album. Songs like “Walk Like a Panther” and “Death March” sound like they could stir the apocalypse, while the Memphis-tinged “The Underside of Power” stomps more generously. Singer Franklin James Fisher, whose multi-instrumentalist duties include everything from Rhodes to cello to sampling, is a perfect gospel shouter for our times, staring down darkness as he dances at the edge of our shared oblivion. The result is a genuinely new way to mangle the blues.

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Bono on How U2 Began Inside Larry Mullen Jr.'s Kitchen, 1976

In October of 2005, Bono was down in Cancun, Mexico relaxing before U2 kicked off the second leg of their Vertigo Tour when he sat down with Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner for a cover story interview. The discussion lasted for over ten hours across two days. 

“Anyone who has been to a U2 concert knows Bono’s dramatic ability to tell a story and his sheer love of words,” Wenner wrote at the time. “One on one, he is just as impressive, full of wit and charm. And he does love to talk.”

They devoted special attention to U2’s earliest days, when the four members came together in the kitchen of drummer Larry Mullen Jr. They were still teenage students at Dublin’s Mount Temple School with very little musical knowledge, but endless ambition. “Edge hit a guitar chord which I’d never heard on electric guitar,” Bono said. “I mean, it is the open road. Kids started coming from all around the place – all girls. They know that Larry lives there. They’re already screaming; they’re already climbing up the door. He was completely used to this, we discover, and he’’ taking the hose to them already. Literally, the garden hose.” Check out this new, animated video to hear Bono tell more about the humble birth of U2. 

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10 New Albums to Stream Now: Rolling Stone Editors' Picks

Prince & the Revolution, Purple Rain
The first major release of material from the late auteur’s vault expands upon the stellar soundtrack from his 1984 film. 
Read Our Feature: Prince’s Epic Purple Rain Tour: An Oral History
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited / Apple Music / SoundCloud Go / Spotify / Tidal

Radiohead, OK Computer OKNOTOK 1997 2017
The landmark album gets a 20-year remaster, appended by B-sides and three unreleased songs.
Read Our Feature: Radiohead’s Rhapsody in Gloom: OK Computer 20 Years Later
Read Our Feature: Radiohead’s OK Computer: An Oral History
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited / Apple Music / SoundCloud Go / Spotify / Tidal

Vince Staples, Big Fish Theory
“Vince Staples made his name as a first-person documentarian, penning vivid narratives about the Long Beach gang life that loomed over his childhood summers. For second album Big Fish Theory, he moves from the past to the present, writing an open-hearted avant-garde dance record that takes stock of his current loves, victories, politics and – most noticeably – interest in the cutting edge of electronic music,” writes Christopher R. Weingarten. “Think Kanye’s EDM-fueled Graduation for a future-minded, Spotify-fried, genre-free generation.”
Read Our Review: Vince Staples Embraces the Electronic Avant-Garde on ‘Big Fish Theory’
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited /

Jeff Tweedy, Together At Last
A handsome collection of remakes by Wilco’s author for acoustic guitar and voice, with occasional spritzes of harmonica and whistling. Tweedy’s an expressive fingerpicker, and the tone is gentle, with Nick Drake’s recordings and the Velvet Underground’s self-titled third LP apparent touchstones. Instead of feeling stripped down, “Ashes of American Flags,” “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart,” songs from the sleeper Summerteeth and a couple of side-project surprises come across as minimalist originals, exploring their own palette of sound. Will Hermes
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited / Apple Music / SoundCloud Go / Spotify / Tidal

DJ Khaled, Grateful
For his 10th album in 11 years, DJ Khaled’s ever-reliable modus operandi hasn’t changed much: Rap’s biggest stars; beats ready for a convertible ride; and his jubilant shouts somewhere between Kid Capri and Andrew W.K. What has changed is Khaled’s profile, as recent magazine covers, festival appearances and a Spider-Man: Homecoming cameo show he’s a star on par with most of the people who have invitations to his party. In turn, Grateful has a guest list stronger than most awards shows: Beyoncé, Rihanna, Drake, Jay-Z, Nicki Minaj, Justin Bieber, Chance the Rapper, Future, Lil Wayne, T.I. and Migos are just the tip of an iceberg that already can boast a Number One single (“I’m the One”). Christopher R. Weingarten
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited / Apple Music / Spotify / Tidal

King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Murder of the Universe
These Melbourne-born psych explorers specialize in high-concept, higher-intensity albums animated by frantic riffing, unison whoops and just enough prog touches to turn a listener’s worldview on its ear. On their 10th album they take on humanity’s desire for self-annihilation with gusto, heady end-of-it-all imagery and the occasional bit of flute. The pairing of the band’s chugging guitars and frontman Stu Mackenzie’s venomous vocals with frosty narration (courtesy of Aussie folk singer Leah Senior, whose clipped performance recalls a rogue Siri) gives the album’s first two-thirds an unnerving feel that explodes in its final section, which ratchets up the tension with spaced-out chugging and a protagonist who won’t be satisfied until he’s blanketed absolutely everything in vomit. Murder of the Universe (the title probably gives away the ending) isn’t a feel-good balm about where the world is headed, but its dark freak-outs provide quite a catharsis. Maura Johnston    
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited / Apple Music / Bandcamp / SoundCloud Go / Spotify / Tidal

Laurel Halo, Dust
Like Charli XCX geeked on Beefheart and Flying Lotus, the third album from Berlin-via-Ann Arbor expressionist Laurel Halo is electro-pop that’s been completely fractured melodically, bent rhythmically and warped texturally. This methodically clattering swirl of music recalls a wild array of things – vaporwave, Timbaland, Detroit techno, Stockhausen, Laurie Anderson, Janet Jackson, Matmos and free-jazz among them. Christopher R. Weingarten
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited / Apple Music / BandcampSpotify / Tidal

Algiers, The Underside of Power
“Suggesting Birthday Party, Suicide or Public Image Limited taking a midnight leap in the mighty Mississippi, this Atlanta crew combines droogy post-punk rattle and churchy Southern roots music on their second album,” writes Jon Dolan. “Songs like ‘Walk Like a Panther’ and ‘Death March’ sound like they could stir the apocalypse, while the Memphis-tinged “The Underside of Power” stomps more generously. Jon Dolan
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited / Apple Music / SoundCloud Go / Spotify / Tidal

Stokley, Introducing Stokley
The solo debut from Mint Condition vocalist Stokley Williams has been some two-plus decades in the making, but it’s worth the wait: Stokley’s keen study of R&B and its possibilities animates this wide-ranging album, which shows off his still-supple voice and unending charm. “Art in Motion” is a slow-burning love song with slightly bent piano accompaniment from jazz omnivore Robert Glasper; British soul singer Estelle drops by for the twinkling duet “U & I,” which double-dips its throwback quotient with swooping strings and DJ scratching; and the lightly funky “We/Me” updates “Man in the Mirror” for the SoundCloud era. Maura Johnston
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited / Apple Music / SoundCloud Go / Spotify / Tidal

Banditos, Visionland
The Alabama Americana collective’s second album touches on the crucial emotional phases of a sweaty, sultry roadhouse party: moody grooving (the beckoning “Strange Heart”), psych-tinged raving (the title track) and torch-song drama (the tension-filled “Still and Quiet”). Maura Johnston
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited / Apple Music / Bandcamp / Spotify / Tidal

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Review: Vince Staples Embraces the Electronic Avant-Garde on 'Big Fish Theory'

Vince Staples made his name as a first-person documentarian, penning vivid narratives about the Long Beach gang life that loomed over his childhood summers. For second album Big Fish Theory, he moves from the past to the present, writing an open-hearted avant-garde dance record that takes stock of his current loves, victories, politics and – most noticeably – interest in the cutting edge of electronic music. Think Kanye’s EDM-fueled Graduation for a future-minded, Spotify-fried, genre-free generation.

His most notable new groove is that of 2-step, the stuttering, shuffling beats brought to pop prominence in the early 2000s by British artists like Craig David, but eventually mutated by contemporary electronic vanguardists like Disclosure, Burial and SBTRKT. On songs like “Crabs in a Bucket,” “Homage” and “Rain Come Down,” Los Angeles beatmaker Zach Sekoff gives Staples a jittery, London-inspired base where he flows in that funky, late-Nineties way when rappers were compared to James Brown. On these songs Staples is just as quick to spit Afro-centric politics (“I’m the blood on the leaves, I’m the nose in the Sphinx”) as he is uncut rap bluster (“Where the fuck is my Grammy/Supermodels wearin’ no panties”) and pure pop sentiment (“Just lose yourself in the music”). Sure, it’s less focused than the reportage of 2015’s Summertime ’06, but the varying emotions and outlooks mark a full step forward into becoming a multi-layered, genre-crossing, emotion-spilling pop auteur in the vein of West, Drake or Childish Gambino.

And the beats are some of the most forward-thinking inEDM, hip-hop or otherwise. The two tracks by Sophie, the London producerloosely associated with the cartoonish pixel-splurts of the PC Music label,toot and parp and clamor like CGI updates of Raymond Scott’s cartoon jazz, a cacophony of clanking pots-and-pan electronics that could only be”pop” in an alternate dimension – or, if America catches up to VinceStaples.

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Review: Imagine Dragons Meet Swedish Pop Gurus, Self-Flagellation Ensues

With their can’t beat ’em,join ’em approach to mass market rock anthems, Las Vegas stadium rulers ImagineDragons build their third LP with Swedish minimalist-pop mechanics Mattman& Robin, who gave the rock-ish personas of Tove Lo and Gwen Stefani sexyshine. But their spacious productions are an odd fit for Dan Reynolds’ tortureddude-isms; the single “Believer” turned his “pain!” howlinto a Roman coliseum-scale blood chant. His demand “Whip, whip, run melike a racehorse” on the Joel Little-produced “Whatever it Takes,”meanwhile, is more spring training than “Venus In Furs.” Redeemingmoments come via Alex Da Kid, producer of the Dragons’ mega-hit “Radioactive.”See “Yesterday,” a sulk-fest whose boozy stomp and goofy guitar soloactually sound like a band having fun, rather than stoic engineers of contentdelivery systems.

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Liam Gallagher Announces New LP 'As You Were,' First Solo U.S. Tour

Liam Gallagher will release his new album As You Were, the former Oasis singer’s first solo LP, this October, with a North American tour to follow in November.

As You Were, which features Gallagher’s debut solo single “Wall of Glass,” arrives October 6th in a variety of formats, including vinyl, CD and a “special box set” complete with a color vinyl, an exclusive seven-inch, hardback book and an art print by Klaus Voorman, the artist behind the Beatles’ Revolver.

All formats are available to pre-order now through Gallagher’s site. “China Town,” the second single off As You Were, will arrive June 30th.

Gallagher also announced that he would embark on his first solo tour of North America, a nine-date trek that kicks off November 13th in San Francisco. Tickets for the tour go on sale June 29th; fans who purchase tickets will receive a physical or digital copy of As You Were.

.Liam Gallagher Tour Dates

November 13 – San Francisco, CA @ Warfield
November 18 – Denver, CO @ Gothic
November 20 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
November 21 – Chicago, IL @ The Riviera
November 23 – Toronto, ON @ Rebel
November 25 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues
November 27 – New York, NY @ Terminal 5
November 29 – Washington, DC @ Lincoln Theatre
November 30 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer

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Halsey on Collaborator Quavo: 'I Don't Think He's Inherently Homophobic'

Electro-pop singer Halsey labeled Migos rapper Quavo as “misunderstood” in a new interview, referring to the Atlanta hip-hop trio’s controversial comments on homosexuality in a February Rolling Stone feature. “I don’t think he’s inherently homophobic,” she told The Guardian of Quavo, who appears on “Lie,” a track from her recently issued second LP, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. “Just because I choose to be a socially conscious artist, and I’m pretty good at it, that doesn’t mean every artist is going to be equipped to be politically correct.”

Migos drew widespread criticism for their shocked reaction to learning that fellow Atlanta MC Makonnen came out as gay. “They supported him?” Quavo asked of the fan response, to which group members Offset and Takeoff respectively added, “That’s because the world is fucked up” and “This world is not right.” 

Quavo also said that Makonnen undermined his credibility since “he first came out talking about trapping and selling Molly, doing all that.” However, he attempted to course-correct by adding, “We ain’t saying it’s nothing wrong with the gays.”

In an apology issued days after their condemned quotes circulated the Internet, Migos called themselves Makonnen fans and said they “wish he didn’t feel he ever had to hide himself.”

“We feel the world is fucked up that people feel like they have to hide and we’re asked to comment on someone’s sexuality,” they continued. “We have no problem with anyone’s sexual preference. We love all people, gay or straight and we apologize if we offended anyone.”

Halsey told The Guardian she feels Quavo “is in a tough place of trying to explain what he means,” adding, “I agree his apology was bullshit, but I can’t police everybody.” After the interviewer noted that “she surely can police everybody” within the context of her own album, she responded, “Yes, I can. And there’s a lot of people I wouldn’t put on my record.”

Early Friday morning, after “#HalseyIsOverParty” became a trending Twitter topic, the singer issued a lengthy tweet statement, doubling down on her criticism of Quavo’s apology – and apologizing herself for her own “misjudgment.” 

“Honestly? I didn’t know that Quavo had made homophobic comments when I collaborated him,” she wrote. “We’ve never spoken a word to each other and [plus] I have no intention of pursuing a friendship there, unless he wants to make a legitimate apology. I work tirelessly to represent & support marginalized communities I love & am a part of. I’m sorry if my actions have ever seemed otherwise.” 

“I only meant to say that people can struggle being socially conscious if they don’t have the information/vocabulary,” she continued. “So we must educate them. And I’m proud to watch the young people around me work hard to educate themselves and others to stay woke every day …  I AM queer & I TRY to be understanding & want people to be educated … Again, I am truly sorry for my misjudgment and I am happy to have listeners who hold me accountable.”

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The Last Word: Sammy Hagar on James Brown, Trump, His Ideal Van Halen Reunion

Shortly before hitting the road for his most extensive tour in recent memory, Sammy Hagar phoned up Rolling Stone to share the wisdom he’s learned over the years as part of our ongoing Last Word interview series. We talked about everything from the pitfalls of success to his occasionally lavish spending habits, but it was inevitable that the conversation would eventually turn to Van Halen. “Most people I talk to I say, ‘No comment, no comment,’ when Van Halen comes up,” he says. “And then I talk to you and it’s free speech. But I’m good. I have no regrets.”

What are the best and worst parts of success?
The best part is that you get to live your dream. The only downside – maybe – is that someday you’re not as relevant as you were. There are times when I go, “Wow, I can see it winding down. I’m not gonna have a big hit record, I’m not gonna be this hottest-rock-star-in-the-world kind of guy ever again.” I’m not having a hard time, but some people can’t deal with that.

Do you feel any sympathy for young stars like Justin Bieber complaining about paparazzi and all the unwanted attention?
No, I don’t. Guess what? Keep that shit up and it’ll be gone pretty soon anyway. And then you’re probably gonna go, “Damn, where’d it go?” The workload of the climb can be tough, especially when you’ve gotta go out on tour and you’ve got a family and all that. So there’s some times that are, “Damn, I’m kinda tired of this.” But take a break. That’s what I always do.

Who is your hero?
Elvis, man. He was a great singer, and he dressed far-out for his days; people wanted to beat him up. The Beatles were fantastic, but they were four guys that got away with what they were doing. Brian Epstein kind of created it. Elvis created himself. Even when he was old and fat and doing all them crazy things, I still liked him.

What’s the most indulgent purchase you ever made?
My fucking plane, man. It’s a Bombardier Challenger 300. Holds nine people, goes seven and a half hours in the air at 525 miles per hour. So it’s very indulgent. And it’s a huge luxury, it cost a lot, and it costs a lot to operate. Without it, I couldn’t do half the shit I do. If I had to jump on a commercial flight two days ago to go to Dallas to meet with Mark Cuban [about Hagar’s TV show], I would have said, “Fuck you, I ain’t coming.” Same with touring. If I had to be on a bus and commercial flights, I couldn’t tour the way I do. I can jump from East Coast to West Coast, it don’t matter. It allows me to spend more time with my family, and spend more time on creative things. So it’s a great purchase.

What are the important rules you live by?
Keep your finger on where you started, and don’t ever lose sight of that. Family over fame and fortune. People that get too caught up in the fame and fortune thing think they’re better than other people. They think they’re better than the people where they came from. You can turn your family members off because all of a sudden they look at you like you’re a different person. The truth is, if you stretch your arms out from there to there and you measure that, that’s how big you really are. If you’re only who you are now, that’s just a little dot. And that’s not very big and that’s not lasting and that won’t serve you well.

Describe the best meal you’ve ever had?
I had a damn good meal in Seville, Spain, last summer that was at a restaurant where just the ibérico ham they had was just nothing like I’ve ever had in America anywhere. And these ibérico pig cheeks that were grilled, and just a little mustard sauce the guy made. I’m just trying to remember everything that I had. Then we had some kind of paella, but it wasn’t like traditional paella. It was very expensive and I had a ’75 Vega Sicilia Unico with it, which is one of the greatest bottles of wine ever made, in my opinion. Pretty much, when I left that place, my wife and I just went, “Wow, that was a good meal.” I don’t remember the name of the place. I also wouldn’t recommend anybody going there unless they had $1,000, maybe $750 per person in their pocket, maybe more.

If you were on death row, what would you want as your last meal?
If they’re gonna put me down, I would take osso buco, which is braised veal shanks with the marrow in the middle. Not with saffron risotto; I like it over linguine. With a little bit more sauce so it’s a little bit soupier. And with a great loaf of Italian bread. With probably an ’85 Conterno Barolo  …  that would make me very happy.

Do you trust the prison not to screw that up?
No! I’d say, “Hey, I wanna cook it.” I’d need a full-blown Wolf stove. I’m a real gourmet chef. I’ve cooked for Emeril Lagasse, I’ve cooked for Mario Batali, I’ve cooked for Julian Serrano – uppity chefs. I blow their minds.

What music still moves you the most?
Blues. Old R&B. Otis Redding. Then you listen to John Lee Hooker or Lightnin’ Hopkins or Jimmy Reed. Listen to James Brown. Oh, fuck! I got goosebumps on my whole body just now saying his name, because last night I was watching my AXS TV show, and they showed an ad for a James Brown special they’ve got coming up. And seeing that bad motherfucker hit that stage and start dancing and giving it up and screaming and leading the band and going down and back up and splits and back up. Man, there was nobody better than James Brown. I mean, he is the man.

“Listen to James Brown. Oh, fuck! I got goosebumps on my whole body just now saying his name.”

Your daughter just turned 16. Do you feel differently about speed limits now?
That’s a tough one. I care so much about my kids. But if I’m driving my LaFerrari, for instance, the things it can do at 100 miles per hour, some big tractor-trailer can’t do at five miles per hour. It’s safer.

Describe your parenting style.
Oh, I’m big fun. I wrestle my kids and tease my kids and goof off all the time. But I’m really stern, and my wife is even more stern. If you lie to me and I find out, you’re gonna get punished worse than if you just told me the truth and it was something that really pissed me off. They don’t lie to me, so they’re afraid to do things that they’re going to have to tell me about. It’s a real interesting way to raise kids without having to use the iron fist.

How do you feel about turning 70 in October?
Fucking out of sight, man. If I’d have known when I was 30 that things would be like this at 70, I wouldn’t have been so worried. Not that I was worried, but you get insecure and go, “Ah, I wonder what I’m gonna do when I’m 60. What if I have to go back to work or something?” Piece of cake, man. I can sing as good and play guitar as good as ever. I’m functional. I have sex as much as I ever did.

How would you grade Trump as a president so far?
I don’t think you can grade him yet, because the poor guy can’t get anything done. The opposition has become so crazy that they’re not gonna even give him a chance. I’d like to see him have a chance. He’s the president of the United States, and without getting any changes he ain’t helping us. So maybe he makes some changes that don’t work, and then maybe the next guy will come in and say, “That didn’t work, I’ll do it this way.” Because I don’t think anybody knows what the fuck they’re doing out there right now.

Have you spoken to Eddie Van Halen since the final show of the 2004 reunion tour?
Nope. The closest thing we’ve had to a conversation was I wished him a happy birthday two years ago [via Twitter], and I said, “I hope you’re doing good.” He got back and said … I’m sure his publicist or his social media person probably did it, but with his blessings I’m sure, and he said, “Hey, thank you, I hope you’re doing well too,” or something like that.

There are rumors every few months that you’re coming back to Van Halen.
I haven’t talked to anyone, and I’m not reaching out. I’m gonna tell you exactly what my dream would be, though. It would be Sam, Dave, Mike, Al and Eddie [the band’s 1984 lineup, plus Hagar]. If [Eddie’s son] Wolfie’s band opened, that’s fine.

I’d say, “Dave, you go out and play two songs,then walk off the stage. I walk out, I’ll do two songs. I’ll walk off, you dotwo songs.” Can you imagine the competition of that? Dave goes out anddoes “Jump,” and “Ain’t Talkin ‘Bout Love.” I go out thereand blow out something like “Good Enough.” You gotta hit it hard, andyou better be good. I would give my money to food banks if they would do thesame. I would love to give the fans the greatest Van Halen show they couldpossibly have today. And then say, “OK, I still don’t like you guys.” 

Do you think this is likely to happen?
I think it could happen in a second. I think there’s so much money involved that somebody will make it happen. Think of the promoters, managers, T-shirt guys, you name it.

Irvzing Azoff is a pretty smart guy.
Not a smart guy. He’s the smartest guy. 

He’s made the impossible happen with bands before. He just needs to convince Eddie this is a good idea.
Yeah. I really think it’s kind of inevitable. And if it doesn’t happen, it’s getting kind of late now. If it doesn’t happen by next year … Here I am making predictions again. But at 75, I don’t want to do a Van Halen reunion.

But at 71, sure?

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