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Sammy Hagar Says He Was Once Asked to Join Pantera (and Aerosmith and Mötley Crüe and Velvet Revolver)

The Red Rocker would front Led Zeppelin, as long as Robert Plant was no longer alive

Sammy Hagar asked to join Pantera
Sammy Hagar (publicity) and Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell (photo by Martyn Goodacre/Getty Images)
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    If Sammy Hagar joined every band he was asked to be in, he could have fronted every act on one of the greatest theoretical one-day rock festivals himself. The Red Rocker says in a new interview that he was approached by Pantera’s manager to join the legendary metal group as their singer, and it’s certainly not the only time he’s been asked to sing for a high-profile band.

    Of course, Hagar will forever be known as one of the most notable replacement singers of all time, taking David Lee Roth’s spot in Van Halen. Granted, he already had a very successful solo career at the time.

    Hagar took a recent ride in Pantera’s old limousine, which was gifted to radio host Jose Mangin by the estates of late brothers Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul.

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    “How about if I tell you something crazy — I don’t believe it, I don’t believe it’s true,” Hagar told Mangin in the back seat of the limo. “But Pantera had a manager. This was before I actually became friends with Vinnie. And [the manager] said Pantera, he said, want me to be the lead singer of the band. And he asked me, ‘Would you be interested?'”

    He continued, “And I said, ‘No, not after Van Halen. I’m not gonna join another band, especially covering for somebody else,’ and this and that. And I brought it up to Vinnie one time. He didn’t remember it. But I don’t know if there’s any truth to that.”

    While it’s hard to know if the offer was genuine, it could be assumed that it came when Dimebag and Vinnie were on the outs with singer Philip Anselmo in the early 2000s. That said, as strong a vocalist as Hagar is, it’s hard to imagine him singing “F**king Hostile.” Perhaps, the brothers were looking to form a new band with Hagar, as they did with Pat Lachman in the group Damageplan. Sadly, Dimebag was slain onstage while performing with Damageplan in December 2004.  Vinnie Paul passed away in 2018 from a heart condition.

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    Hagar briefly mentioned the Pantera proposal in a Forbes interview 10 years ago, where he also rattled off the names of other bands that offered him the singer position. “I was asked at one time to be in Mötley Crüe,” he said at the time. “I was asked at one time to be in Pantera by their managers. I was asked to be in Velvet Revolver when Scott Weiland quit and went back to the Stone Temple Pilots. I was waiting to be asked to be in Led Zeppelin to say no, since they were the greatest band on earth and no could replace Robert Plant. I was asked to be in Aerosmith and I said no.”

    The Aerosmith episode is well documented, with guitarist Joe Perry even opening up about their offer to Hagar in an interview earlier this year. “I remember Steven doing that TV show [American Idol], I thought that was great,” Perry explained. “I just knew he had to do something like that, and doing that solo record that he did. So the band wasn’t that tight, there was talk and there were so many people involved — lawyers, different managers … I thought Steven wants maybe to take four years off, do what he wants to do. And so the whole looking around for another lead singer thing, just as soon as that happened, that raised its head.”

    Perry added, “I’m not sure how it got out there, but Sam I know as a really mellow guy, easy to get along with. And he definitely had the pipes.”

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    Hagar further told Mangin that he’s not interested in being a replacement singer anymore, but that he actually wouldn’t say no to Led Zeppelin, although he’d never do it “while Robert [Plant] is alive.”

    Watch Sammy Hagar tell Jose Mangin about the Pantera offer while riding inside the metal band’s limo below.

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