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Fresh sounds: Sammy Hagar & The Circle releasing first album of original material

Making music with Sammy Hagar is nothing new for bassist Michael Anthony.

Sammy Hagar & The Circle perform Saturday, April 27, at Legends Theater inside Route 66 Casino Hotel. (Courtesy of Leah Steiger)

Their best-known collaboration occurred when Hagar fronted the infamous rock band Van Halen.

The two have been playing together for a few years as Sammy Hagar & The Circle, and the band will release its first album of original material, “Space Between,” on May 10. Every concert ticket purchased on the North American tour will include one CD copy of the new album. A digital copy also will be delivered to customers who redeem the CD.

“A lot of the stuff on the album were ideas that Sammy had or came up with, but then everybody just kind of tosses them around, and the great thing about it is the reason we didn’t do anything like any original material, we’ve been together for a few years now, is because, you know, we wanted to get comfortable performing with each other and just playing music together,” Anthony said. “We knew at some point we were going to do original material because we always jam backstage when we’re warming up for a show.”

Hagar may have come up with most of the ideas, but the album was a group effort. Each member of the band, which also includes drummer Jason Bonham and guitarist Vic Johnson, had the freedom to throw in their 10 cents.

“This is the first time myself I have ever been involved in any kind of, I guess you could say, a concept-type album – actually, all of us, really,” Anthony said. “You really don’t know what to expect and also after the music was done we got (famed guitarist) Joe Satriani’s son ZZ, he does a lot of film. He actually did a ‘movie,’ we call it, that goes along with the album that will come out at some point. We released one with our single ‘Trust Fund Baby,’ but there are segments of this movie that we are releasing with the songs as they come out as singles but at some point this movie will be released. It’s about a 40 minute movie that follows the whole storyline of the album. We’re pretty excited.”

Outside of music, Anthony is a hot sauce connoisseur, so much so that he now has his own line called Mad Anthony’s Hot Sauce.

He is also passionate about helping Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, a nonprofit institution that provides pediatric health care to families despite their income. Anthony turned personal tragedy into hope for children at the hospital after his grandson, Rex Michael Becerra, was sent there after being diagnosed with congenital heart defects at birth, which he later succumbed to. Anthony and his family created a team called Rex and the Heart Beaters in his grandson’s honor. The team participates yearly in Walk and Play L.A., which raises money for the hospital. The next walk is June 22 at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

“I’ve really grown to respect and admire what they do there at the hospital,” Anthony said. “It’s really something to actually see. We’re excited about (the walk) coming up. We’ve raised a lot of money for the hospital, so that’s really fun. If anybody wanted to donate or find out what’s it’s all about, there’s a link off of Mad Anthony’s Cafe’s Facebook (page) where you can go to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.”

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