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Sammy Hagar Came Up with Name Chickenfoot 40 Years Ago

Steve Lawton, FilmMagic

The name Chickenfoot occurred to Sammy Hagar 40 years ago, the singer told an audience at Canadian Music Week last Saturday. While the name itself is not explicitly mentioned in his autobiography, ‘Red,’ Hagar said that he recounts the surrounding events in a passage that takes place in 1970. The passage simply says, “We changed our name, one last time, to the Justice Brothers,” but Hagar told the festival crowd in Toronto the extended version.

“It’s in the book, but it’s not about Chickenfoot,” he said. “I was struggling, and I was driving my van down the street … going to rehearsal. Another guy drove, David [Lauser]. He was my long-time drummer. He and I were looking for a bass player. So we were going to a bass player’s house. Got equipment in the back of my funky old van. We see a nightclub. It was called The King of Hearts … [and] they were closing up. They were pounding wood over the doors and I said, ‘Let’s go back and see if we can play there.'”

Hagar said he asked the man if the place was open. He told Hagar they were going out of business. “‘Why don’t you give us a chance before you board all this up?'” Hagar asked him. “‘We’ll come and play here for free.'”

“And he’s going ‘You got a band?’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘What’s the name of the band?’ and I looked at my arm and this little tattoo of a chicken foot and I said, ‘Chickenfoot.’

“Swear,” Hagar said, responding to the laughter from the CMW crowd.

“He said, ‘What kind of music?’ I said, ‘We’ll play top 40, whatever you want.’ He said ‘Okay, how about Friday night?'”

Hagar and his band, including the new bass player, rehearsed for a couple of days and played the show in front of 30 people. The following week, they did the same thing. “We went around town telling all of our friends, ‘Come down!’ and we packed the place within a couple of weeks,” Hagar recalled. “It was great. We had a gig there for about a month and the fights started.”

Apparently, the Hell’s Angels took over the bar.

Watch the video for ‘Sexy Little Thing’

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