Sammy Hagar & The Circle - Space Between

Sammy Hagar & The Circle Space Between cover
Sammy Hagar & The Circle
Space Between
BMG Rights Management
2019
7
Basically, Sammy Hagar & The Circle, is Sammy, his Van Halen and Chickenfoot wingman Michael Antony on bass, Vic Johnson (from the Waboritas) on guitar and Jason Bonham, son of the late John of Led Zepellin, but on his own a quite accomplished and in demand drummer. They’ve been Hagar’s backing solo band since 2014, debuting with “At Your Service” a year later, among Sammy’s ever busy schedule.
 
“Space Between” is a collection of mostly ‘laxed but nonetheless pretty cool jams that seems to have a recurring theme of feeling disdained if not downright disgusted, from the ends to which people go to hoard up money, the struggle to gain power and the overall concept of greed. Quite hippy for the seventy one year old cali-born Red Rocker, who doesn’t seem to show any plans of quitting just yet, but seems to be mellowing down a little, especially in the past few years.
 
“Devil Came to Philly” has a ton of acapella howls, with some big bluesy guitar bursts sustaining almost indefinitely against some simple percussion. It acts as a cautionary tale of sort… about the devil/money – coming around and changing up everything.
 
“Full Circle Jam/Chump Change” is a nifty and fast paced rock ‘n roll jam with also pretty cool lyrics. Think “Radar Love” without its massive chorus, but some neat snipping lyrics about how greed erodes the individual into an asshole that always wants more without a care in the world.
 
“Can’t Hang” has this weird southern rock twang on the guitars, and even steel lap ones sliding and big Americana like ambiance and bizarre harmonies, but also something quite inexplicably British about it. The protagonist is unethical. The “Game” of life gets him and chews him up and spits him out, broken.
 
“Wide Open Space” seems like it won’t resolve, until its chorus comes around. But then does in a big way. The protagonist, realizes there’s an alternative to how he’s been living so far… it feels like a mix of Tom Petty with Boston like vocal harmonies on top – that feel a little out of place, but are not exactly a deal breaker.
 
“Free Man” is much heavier and thumbing, the protagonist is discontent with how things are unfolding for him and wants to get back to a more primal and free state of being. The chorus has something going on, but doesn’t seem to be fully developed into the huge, thing it alludes it could have been with a big more work.
 
“Bottom Line” is suddenly very cheery and almost doo-wappy. While it’s lyrically consistent with the whole “concept” with the hero, seeking out to be selflessly loved, its sudden happy rock ‘n roll vibe is very Sammy, but feels like it comes almost out of nowhere, as if another song would have acted as a missing link before it. It would have probably worked ok on its own, but, it just sounds a little out of place, sequenced where it is.
 
“No Worries” finds the protagonist in a really bohemian mindset, freshly broke and chilling at the beach, not giving a fuck. Easier said than done, when you got a LaFerrari and a fat bank account, but it’s a nice summery tune, otherwise. Quite carefree.
 
“Trust Fund Baby” plagiarizes a signature Montrose riff and rocks hard on that base, but chronologically makes little sense, sequenced here. In fact, this is a song that describes how the love interest of the protagonist is draining his money to support a cocaine addiction. I think it might have made a lot more sense if it was a song or two prior, in the sequence.
 
“Affirmation” is driven by a repetitive riff over some strong yet simple percussion and it’s all about, figuring it out and setting up one’s priorities right. Whether it would be self-reflection, religion or whatever, the protagonist realizes where his priorities lie. He realizes that material possessions don’t matter that much to him ultimately and through that epiphany decides to change his way.
 
“Hey, Hey (without Greed)” is a weird reprisal of the opening song’s motif and theme, worshiping money as a means to change things in the world and not something to be stashed. Which is actually what money’s original concept is. Means of barter, not a way to fleece other people (since it leads to conflict and all kinds of negativity).
 
It’s a reasonably good album, with nice songs in general; if not a little loose in places and the concept feels like a genuine concern of the artist, despite the artist having a full belly and then some at the time of writing. At least his heart seems to be in the right place.
 
If you’re a Hagar fan, you’re unlikely to be disappointed, but this is a little hippier that usual – then again it could have been hipsterier, which would have sucked a big one, so I’ll take the hippier notions of the Red Rocker, without complaining that much.