Former Van Halen frontman Sammy Hagar was recently interviewed by Inc. and spoke about he became the multi-millionaire that he is today and how his departure from Van Halen helped him to cash in on his Cabo Wabo tequila bars.
Hagar stated: “I’ve never started a business thinking, Oh, I’m gonna make money off of this. All my ideas have come from sheer enthusiasm. I felt that way about Cabo San Lucas. I bought a condo down there in 1981.
There were three hotels, and none of the restaurants had air conditioning, telephones, or TV. But I fell in love with the place. I wanted a place to hang out down there, so I said, “I’m going to build a tequila bar.” I had an instinct that people would come.
By then, I had joined Van Halen. So there I was, the lead singer of the biggest band in the world. I opened Cabo Wabo in 1990 and then invited the band members to become partners in the restaurant–it felt like the right thing to do. But then, in 1996, I got kicked out of Van Halen. They basically said, “You can do Cabo Wabo or be in this band.” I was like, “Why can’t I do both?” At that time, I was so brokenhearted about it, but it turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever done. I bought the band out, fired the team that had been managing the restaurant, and teamed up with Marco Monroy, who still runs Cabo Wabo today. It has been a freakin’ gold mine for 22 years.
After I left Van Halen, Shep Gordon, a music manager, came to visit me at Cabo Wabo. I was wearing shorts and flip-flops, and he said, “You need to roll your whole thing into your whole thing.” Around that time, I met Kari, my current wife, who said, “You remind me of Jimmy Buffett.” I thought she was nuts.
But then she took me to see him and I’m going, “Holy shit. This is awesome.” Some fool with a parrot on his head would get his ass kicked at a Van Halen show. But a light went on. He created a lifestyle for his fans. I had already started Cabo Wabo. I said, “We beach all day, eat tacos for dinner, drink tequila. I get onstage and play. That’s it.” It’s not like I’m some genius.”