Red Til I’m Dead Movie Preview
Sweetwater Music Hall, Mill Valley
November 29, 2017
Somewhere, in the hot Mexico sun, shines a very large sombrero worthy of a daily rock ‘n’ roll party. Red Rocker Sammy Hagar built his Cabo Wabo Cantina in Cabo San Lucas in 1990, in the midst of his early years with Van Halen. Cabo San Lucas in those years was small, and not the destination it has evolved into today, but Sammy stayed the course throughout all his years of touring and making music and later actively took more of a role in the Cantina. Today he has locations in Las Vegas, Lake Tahoe, and Hollywood as well as the original location in Mexico.
Sammy’s birthday party began as a way to invite his musician friends down to jam and quickly evolved into a destination for multitudes of “redheads” and a multiple night rock concert. Sammy’s fans fly in from all over the world to participate in their favorite rocker’s shenanigans and listen to some kick ass rock ‘n’ roll. Although names from all walks of music drop in; from Toby Keith, to Darryl (Run DMC) McDaniels, to Bob Weir (Grateful Dead), Alice Cooper and beyond. On October 13, 2017 the red rocker was to turn 70, and was approached by AXS TV to record his birthday event for a National audience. After watching this preview, I can safely say that Sammy is one club owner, tequila producer, family man and musician who shows no sign of slowing in his later years, and he certainly doesn’t look or act the part.
On a Wednesday eve in Mill Valley, CA, near Hagar’s home in Marin County, Sammy hosted a show of a different kind. The film Red Til I’m Dead previewed to a small get together of close friends and family at The [historic] Sweetwater Cafe. It featured the rocker’s Cabo Wabo Cantina stage set for Sammy’s 70th Birthday bash, and the 24th consecutive most infamous birthday party in the world!
Red Til I’m Dead highlights Hagar’s jams on stage with the likes of Eddie Money, Chad Kruger (Nickleback), Michael Anthony (Van Halen), as well as random footage of other guests including Jerry Cantrell (Alice in Chains) and Chad Smith (The Red Hot Chili Peppers) in full-on rock ‘n’ roll party mode.
Viewing this film in its final state for the first time were Sammy, his wife Kari, and upwards of about 150 of his closest friends. It was clear walking in that these were all laid back party people, with the sole intent of reliving this epic birthday party with their buddy, and celebrating with a few cocktails. Collectively we took a look through snippets of the party, with sentiments of “oh, I remember that”, and “that person was fun” echoing throughout the film, and it felt a little like what it must have been to celebrate in Cabo Wabo itself, albeit way colder outside. The sound for this preview was so fantastic that ear plugs didn’t seem like a bad idea, but fortunately the music was incredible and the film was wildly entertaining. Red Til I’m Dead engulfed its audience in some kick ass live performance footage, along with insight into the red rocker’s passion for rock ‘n’ roll, Cabo San Lucas, his relationships, and a little bit about his philanthropy. All in all it paints Sammy’s 70th birthday as a good time ride through his eyes, and the eyes of his fans. So when Sammy Hagar asks “why the hell do we keep doing this,” the answer is a LOUD and clear “life is about livin’ and lovin’ the dream.”
Red Til I’m Dead plays on December 5, 2017. See it in San Francisco at the AMC Van Ness 14, in Daly City at Century 20 Daly City, and in Emeryville at AMC Bay Street 16.
Photo by Pollen Heath.