Sammy Hagar enjoys playing music for free – although he admits it would be difficult for him to get into that position if he was starting out in the modern world.
The Chickenfoot frontman says he doesn’t look for money from his musical performances because the cash he made in the past enabled him to set up several successful businesses.
But he knows the path he took isn’t open to young hopefuls in the twenty-first century.
Asked about his opinion of the modern music business he laughs: “What music business?”
Hagar tells CNBC: “I’ve sold almost a hundred million records in all my incarnations, and made money enough to make me secure for the rest of my life – so I can’t complain about what’s going on.
“I like playing music for free. I no longer play music for a living. I pay my band, my crew, everybody else, but I don’t look for it in my income. I don’t have to do it.”
The former Van Halen singer – who recently said all he wants from former bandmate Eddie Van Halen was an apology for “backstabbing crap” – has seen stark changes in the music industry since he started out in 1967 then found fame fronting Montrose in 1973.
“There’s all kinds of bigger stars than me,” he says, noting that some of them have become successful through a single online track. “On the internet they get a hundred million hits. I put my stuff up there, I get thirty or forty thousand. What’s up with that?”
Hagar is glad to have removed the financial aspect from his artistic activities, and recommends everyone else who’s able to should do the same. “We should take the business out of it. I’m fortunate that I have other ways to make a living.”
As a successful businessman he says the one piece of advice that’s never served him badly is: “Go with your gut. If you feel uncomfortable about going into a business relationship, if that’s the first feeling you get about it, walk away.”