Sammy Hagar just posted a video on his official YouTube channel explaining how he got the term “Red Rocker” via a fan interaction. The singer began his thoughts by recalling one of his most memorable fan interactions: “I believe the ultimate situation involved a man named John. Big John is his nickname. In 1977, I was doing a rising star performance in these theaters in Seattle and Portland, as well as on the radio station. And I played it on my ‘Red Album,’ so I was dressed in red, with a red Les Paul, red pants, red shoes, and a red shirt, singing the song ‘Red.'” Hagar reflected on the first time he was dubbed the “Red Rocker” by a newspaper: “In a newspaper review of my show, he dubbed me the Red Rocker.” The Red Rocker Sammy Hagar was featured in the publication. So, the first time I met this John man, he was standing outside the door. He must have been a Montrose fan. When I was leaving the motel, he was right outside the door.”
The former Van Halen frontman went on to say more about his interaction with the same fan: “‘Hey Sammy, can you sign my newspaper?'” ‘Could you please sign your image here?’ And I told him, ‘Sure, man.’ When I signed it, he asked, ‘Can you put the Red Rocker?’ I replied, ‘Sure.’ This guy appeared at his 100th show roughly 15 years ago. He paid to visit me 100 times and showed me all the ticket stubs that added up to this total. So I told him, ‘John, you’ll never pay for another Sammy Hagar performance again,’ and he did. As he revealed, the rocker has never lost contact with the fan who gave him his career-changing nickname:
“I gave him my business card. To him and his pal. There’s John, Big John, and Little John. So John has become ill since then. When I’m on stage, he’s been in and out of the hospital several times. His friend approaches him and says, ‘Hey, look at huge John in FaceTime.’ ‘Hey, John,’ I shout from the stage, and other times he’ll get him in a wheelchair and drive him there. The truth is that he is partly to blame for my being dubbed the Red Rocker. Because of that exchange, I became known as the Red Rocker. It happened naturally after that, but the reality is that he was the first to refer to me as the Red Rocker and to ask me to sign my name as a Red Rocker. And it was because of Big John that I started doing it and became the Red Rocker.” The complete video is shown below.