During a recent episode of Fox’s ‘The Issue Is,’ Sammy Hagar, the former frontman of Van Halen, divulged a fascinating tale surrounding his successful Cabo Wabo restaurant chain and a missed opportunity that could have yielded millions for his former bandmates.
The genesis of the Cabo Wabo concept, which is shared by Van Halen’s 1988 song and Hagar’s chain of restaurants, can be traced back to a chance encounter in the streets of Cabo San Lucas. Reflecting on the incident, Hagar vividly recounted the morning in the 1980s when the vision for Cabo Wabo struck him.
Diving deeper into the origin story, the musician also shed light on his bandmates’ response to the business idea at the time. Hagar disclosed the rationale behind their eventual decision to pull out from investing, which was primarily driven by a sense of apprehension.
Hagar’s encounter in Cabo San Lucas planted the seeds of inspiration for the Cabo Wabo brand. As he elaborated on the details during his interview, it became evident that the concept had sparked a vision that resonated deeply with him. However, despite his enthusiasm and entrepreneurial drive, Hagar faced challenges when pitching the idea to his fellow bandmates.
The former Van Halen frontman candidly revealed that his bandmates’ decision to withdraw their investments in Cabo Wabo stemmed from a place of anxiety. Although Hagar believed in the potential success of the venture, his bandmates harbored concerns that investing in a business venture unrelated to music could dilute their focus and compromise their artistic pursuits.
This missed opportunity ultimately led to Hagar taking full ownership of the Cabo Wabo restaurant chain, which has since flourished and become a prominent fixture in the industry. While the decision to not join Hagar in this venture may have resulted in a financial loss for his former bandmates, it undoubtedly shaped the trajectory of Hagar’s entrepreneurial journey and further solidified his unique legacy beyond the realm of music.
The vocalist recalled:
“When I see this guy walking down the street Sunday morning, bumping into a barbed wire fence, ripped, he’s bleeding, his shirt ripped up, his pants ripped up, you know, maybe no shoes; he was really drunk and been up all night bouncing off a barbed wire fence that was a rusty, and bouncing back into the street, at the dirt road I was going, and ‘Look at this guy! He’s doing the Cabo Wabo.’ I started laughing to myself, and a person I was with started laughing.”
The Red Rocker continued:
“I started thinking, ‘I’m gonna build a bar called the Cabo Wabo.’ Then, I thought, ‘Maybe, I can have my own tequila.’ See, the light was coming on. I was starting to see down the road. ‘Oh, maybe, I can have these all over the world.’ So, I just completely saw a deep vision, and no one else could see it.
‘Are you crazy? There’s no – You can’t even make a phone call down there.’ I said, ‘I’m doing it. I’m doing it.’ I bought the property, and I did it. They got all freaked out when it lost money the first year. It was like, ‘We can’t afford $10,000 this year.’ So, they wanted out. ‘We’re not putting our money in that thing.’ I said, ‘Okay, okay.’ I took it over, and it just exploded.”