In the video below from AXS TV, Sammy Hagar meets up with Chris Daughtry (Daughtry, American Idol to talk about music and play a game of This Or That. Later, Chris jams out with Samy to the ZZ Top staple, “Waitin For The Bus”.
Sammy Hagar & The Circle will release their new album, Crazy Times, via UMe on CD/Digital on September 30, and on vinyl on October 28. A music video for the new single, a cover of Elvis Costello’s “Pump It Up”, can be viewed below. Stream the single here.
Taken at face value, Costello’s new wave classic might not seem like an obvious track for Hagar to reimagine. However, as he says in an exclusive interview with uDiscover Music, “Pump It Up” is a song he’s loved for many years.
“Well, that’s a hard rock tune and it’s a rock of a tune too!”, he says with some relish. “I’ve been trying to do that song for a long, long time – ever since I started Chickenfoot in 2008.”
“I played with Elvis Costello on a TV show in 1977 or ’78, somewhere in England and we were hanging around together all day”, Hagar adds. “Elvis played ‘Pump It Up’ on that show and seeing him live in a studio and being around him all day had a big effect on me. I just loved ‘Pump It Up’, I thought it was the greatest punk song. I think [our version] is a pretty cool cover. I love singing it.”
Sammy and the band recorded the new album with producer Dave Cobb at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio A, showing a whole new side of The Circle.
Says Hagar: “Working with Dave Cobb for the first time was enlightening. We went into the studio to record in the fall of 2021, when the world was starting to come out of the pandemic bubble we’d all been living in. The lyrics for ‘Crazy Times’ just came from that new freedom we were feeling, the freedom felt unbelievable, but a little uncertain, too. We had to ask ourselves ‘what are we doing here and what do we want?’
“Going back in the studio, creating and being with the music is just what felt natural. And it was just so different from any record I’ve ever made. There was joy in the hard work, catharsis and the camaraderie we’d craved. It was like those two years of not being able to do very much fell away and we really all came together and let it out in the music and lyrics. We were able to express what we all felt.”
Crazy Times is a follow-up to their debut, Space Between, a multi-category #1 Billboard charting album. The new album will include 10 songs, nine of which Hagar wrote or co-wrote, along with a notable cover, “Pump It Up,” a 1978 song by Elvis Costello and the Attractions. The song “Crazy Times” was written by the whole band along with Dave Cobb and recorded live.
Sammy explains: “Before I stepped into the studio with Dave, he’d told me he wanted the best of my career on this record, and he wasn’t going to let me get out of that studio until I gave it to him. So, I said, ‘If you expect that from me, at my age, as many records as I’ve made, you’re going to have to push me,’ and he said no problem. Obviously, I dug down and just tried to write good strong songs, great lyrics, great melodies and not worry so much about the arrangements because he had that covered. And he pushed and squeezed every one of us. We went in the studio with seven songs and came out with 10. We ended up cowriting three songs with Dave Cobb and the band—including the new track, Crazy Times.”
Pre-order the new album here.
“Intro: The Beginning Of The End”
“Feed Your Head”
“Pump It Up”
“You Get What You Pay For”
“Funky Feng Shui”
“2120” (bonus track)
“Father Time” – Acoustic Demo (bonus track)
“Crazy Times” video:
“Funky Feng Shui” video: