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Work hard, play hard: Life lessons from Sammy Hagar

From Reuters - December 18, 2017

(The writer is a Reuters contributor. The opinions expressed are his own.)

By Chris Taylor

NEW YORK (Reuters) - You probably know Sammy Hagar as a music legend, either from his solo career or as a longtime frontman for Van Halen.

What you might not know: The gravel-voiced 70-year-old is also an impressive business titan, with successful ventures ranging from spirits to restaurants.

For the latest in Reuters Life Lessons series, we talked to Hagar about his remarkable rise from hardscrabble poverty in California to a Hall of Fame music career along with his status as the de facto king of Cabo San Lucas.

Q: What was the money situation like in your early days?

A: We were dirt-ass poor. My mom was basically raising four kids on her own, so things were tough. But it made me grateful for every bit of success I got. And I always wanted more. It drove me to say, Ill never be poor again. That almost became a problem, because I wondered when I was ever going to stop working so hard.

Q: When your fame started to grow and you joined Van Halen, how did you handle extreme success?

A: The best thing that ever happened to me was that it wasnt overnight success. It was very gradual. In the early days I even did other things, like construct apartment buildings and rent them out.

By the time I made my first million, I was pretty grounded.

Q: Your ventures outside music started in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Why did you set roots down there?

A: I had bought a little house, and eventually I decided to open up a bar. I became hip to really good tequila, with 100 percent agave, because at that time in America, there really wasnt any. I just thought, Ill build a cantina, and have all these wonderful tequilas youve never heard of. And then I started making my own.

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