Sammy Hagar Reveals the Unique Way Prince’s Staff Communicated With Him

Prince was extremely dedicated to his music. So much so that he barely had time for anything or anyone, which often added to his mystique. Not many people understood him because he was always in his own little world, ruling as The Purple One. So many people have shared their stories about Prince that it’s hard to decipher fact from legend, but he probably would have wanted it that way.

Now, ex-Van Halen singer Sammy Hagar has shared his interesting run-in with His Royal Badness, and let’s just say it didn’t go the way Hagar expected.

Prince performing at the 1991 MTV Video Music Awards.
Prince | Frank Micelotta/Getty Images

Who is Sammy Hagar?

Sammy Hagar has been belting out tunes since he started his music career in the 1970s. Like Prince, he also has a nickname. Fans call him “The Red Rocker” after his successful song “Red.”

One of his first bands was Montrose, and in 1978, Eddie Van Halen approached him to tell him that the band was one of his favorites. After releasing his 1984 album VOA, which had one of his most popular songs, “I Can’t Drive 55,” Hagar was asked to replace David Lee Roth as the singer of Van Halen, bringing the band into their “Van Hagar” era.

Hagar had already had huge commercial success with his solo career, but recording albums 5150, OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, and Balance with Van Halen and touring the world brought Hagar to the top. He left the band in 1996, though, to embark on a new leg in his solo career.

What has Sammy Hagar revealed about Prince?

Even though Hagar was a big-name musician at the time of his brush with Prince, the Purple One didn’t care who he was. At the 27th Grammy Awards in 1985, Hagar learned that he and Prince were nominees. Prince was nominated for Purple Rain, and Hagar was nominated for his contribution to the Footloose soundtrack. You can guess which one won.

But at the awards, Prince was performing while Hagar presented. According to Ultimate Guitar, Hagar tried to find a way to get an introduction with Prince during the dress rehearsal. “My guitar tech, Zeke Clark, who now works for Slash… he was working at the Grammys,” Hagar said. “I was up for a Grammy and he was working for Prince at the time. I asked him, I said, ‘Hey man, introduce me to Prince!'”

Clark declined. “‘What do you mean you can’t?’ He’s going, ‘I’m not allowed to talk to him.’ I said, ‘You’re his guitar tech, and you’re not allowed to talk to him?’ He said, ‘No.'” Curious, Hagar questioned Clark on how he communicated with Prince.

“You’ve got to write him a note and you kind of hand it to him. You can’t look at him,” Clark explained. “It will say, like, ‘What guitar do you want for the next song?'” Looking back, Hagar thought that “was pretty f—in’ weird.”


How Old Was Prince When He Died?

Prince was mysterious to many

Simply put, Prince was mysterious. Ask anyone who worked with him or came across him in some way. Some of his friends and staff say that he liked his mystique and played with it. Even his protege/girlfriend Carmen Electra used to get notes from him.

“He never slept—he couldn’t sleep. I would wake up alone: Where’d he go? And his housekeeper said, ‘He’s in the studio.’ Or he would leave the sweetest little notes on the stairs that would say: ‘Had to work! Couldn’t sleep. Come see me.'” Electra told GQ.

Maya Washington, a photographer, said, “Before you meet him, you have the idea of him being this thing: He’s untouchable, he’s a unicorn, he’s a meta-planet.”

There’s no end to the stories about him. They go on and on. But they all seem to say the same thing. Prince was a master at what he did, and he didn’t operate like the rest of us. He didn’t even operate like most rock stars. There will never be another Prince. Do we have to write it on a note for you?