Now in its second season, AXS TV's original series "Rock & Roll Road Trip with Sammy Hagar Presented by Mercury Insurance” features the Red Rocker traveling across the U.S. to interview and jam with some of the most recognizable and legendary artists in music.
The show’s one-hour season premiere [which airs Sunday, March 5 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT] kicks off in Hagar and Metallica front man James Hetfield’s hometown where they turn on the camera to the star-studded 3rd annual Acoustic-4-A-Cure benefit they founded. The concert event held at the world-famous Fillmore includes Hagar interviewing Hetfield as well as musical jams with Hagar, Hetfield, John Mayer, Melissa Etheridge and many more.
Future episodes include Hagar visiting Norman, Oklahoma to interview and jam with the multi-talented and award-winning Toby Keith at his 160-acre ranch, and meeting up with rock legend John Mellencamp at his art studio in Bloomington, Indiana where Hagar delves into Mellencamp’s passion for painting and talks about the struggles he had staying true to himself while coming up in the music business.
AXS recently spoke to Evan Haiman – Vice President of Programming and Production for AXS TV about the new season of "Rock & Roll Road Trip with Sammy Hagar Presented by Mercury Insurance" and more in this exclusive new interview
AXS: How did the series 'Rock & Roll Road Trip With Sammy Hagar Presented by Mercury Insurance' come about?
Evan Haiman: We’ve done a lot of projects with Sammy in the past, whether it was a concert or his birthday bash. So we already had a relationship with him. Sammy pitched the concept to Mark [Cuban] where the idea was going to be his life. He goes out on the road and meets with friends, who are obviously musicians, and they connect. Then we put it all together to make a show. Mark thought it was a great idea and it fits into our niche. Sammy’s a great personality and a good representation of what our programming model is.
AXS: What’s your role in the production of the show?
EH: I have a producer that I put the show together with and a lot of what we do is go over Sammy’s schedule and try to figure out where he is. Then we’ll look to see if there’s an artist anywhere nearby and we’ll try to match them up. Sometimes, it’s a relationship that Sammy already has with someone, like in the case of Toby Keith. Other times, it’s from the relationships we’ve developed with artists we’ve worked with in the past, as was the case with John Mellencamp when we went to Indiana to visit his art studio. John loves music but the truth is (as you’ll see by watching the episode) he actually went to New York to become an artist and not a musician. But we also don’t want to just go to someone’s house and interview them. The interesting part is the artist leads the show.
AXS: Is there a story line or theme that you follow with each episode?
EH: It’s not scripted but what we do is break it up into segments. There’s always a piece about the city we’re going to, then an interview with the artist and then a performance. It’s very stripped down. Sammy likes to keep it as raw as possible.
AXS: What have you learned about Sammy from working so closely with him on this project?
EH: The one thing I’ve learned about Sammy is that he doesn’t stop. He’s always high energy, all business and always wants to keep moving on. It’s amazing how he’s going to be 70-years-old and still has about 10 irons in the fire. He’s always working on something and trying to do the next thing. He could just do Sammy Hagar and his band but he has two other projects: Chickenfoot and The Circle. Plus, he also has Cabo and his tequila and rum business.
AXS: Did you always know that you wanted to have a career in entertainment?
EH: My dad was a creative director for 35years, so I knew I wanted to do something in that world. I remember he always said, “Do something you like and it won’t be a job.” That’s what ended up happening.
AXS: What do you enjoy the most about 'Rock & Roll Road Trip with Sammy Hagar Presented by Mercury Insurance?'
EH: I think the most exciting part for me is the live performance. I mean, how often to you get to hear Sammy sing with Toby Keith at his house? Or hear Don Felder playing “Hotel California” on his double-neck guitar with Sammy singing the lead? Or Sammy playing at the Fillmore with John Mayer and Melissa Etheridge? They’re combinations you don’t usually see together. The music part is very unscripted and unexpected and that’s the real fun for me.
The season premiere of Rock & Roll Road Trip with Sammy Hagar Presented by Mercury Insurance airs Sunday, March 5 at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on AXS TV.