SAMMY HAGAR: A Passion Driven Ambassador
Cabo Wabo has been a Los Cabos landmark, with Sammy Hagar its icon, for about 30 years. On January 5, 2022, Sammy was appointed the first Ambassador of Tourism of Los Cabos.
He spoke about his life during the following interview.
First of all, Sammy, how did you get into music?
I had always wanted to be a rock star. Our family was poor but I loved singing. I started playing guitar when I was 15. I had a paper route, washed dishes, and did yard work to get a good guitar, buy an amplifier and get gas.. It was my passion; everything I do is passion driven.
What made you come to Cabo?
I saw a picture of palm trees, the ocean and desert; all the things I love, and discovered that it was Cabo. My icon, Keith Richards, got married in Cabo in 1983 and when my wife and I came down, it was love at first sight. There were dirt roads and palapas, almost no hotels or condos, few flights, no telephones or newspapers and very few people. I loved it.
I came for my birthday and during holiday breaks. We stayed at the Twin Dolphin Hotel and I became friends with Jorge Viana, who worked at the desk and later became my partner. We found a site for the future Cabo Wabo.
How did you get the name “Cabo Wabo”?
On one of my trips down to Cabo, I saw a guy with ripped pants and one shoe who was stumbling in the road, bumping into a wire fence. He was obviously “borracho” (drunk) I thought, Look at this guy. He’s doing the “Cabo Wabo”. All that day I thought about how weird it had looked, and decided to build a cantina with that name.
There was a misunderstanding when I planned measurements for “Cabo Wabo” which included a 300 square foot foundation, and I was shocked when I saw300 square meters (a common problem in communication.) It was huge, and for the first 3 years it was barely occupied. Many people didn’t believe it would ever succeed. It was after the hit song, “Cabo Wabo´ that I made with Van Halen, when the cantina Cabo Wabo finally turned successful.
I always go straight forward and never look back. “Right here, right now”. I can’t understand failure. How would anyone quit something before it is successful?
How was your transition to Cabo?
I bought the first condo in Terra Sol in Cabo in 1984. The sleepy town was basically shacks with a few restaurants but I loved the people; they were warm and friendly and I felt at home. I joined the Van Halen band in 1985 and later built a home and Cabo Wabo. I told everyone about the great weather and sea and soon all my friends came too. I even bought the first police car for the comandante to help the town. Ultimately however, the time I spent in Cabo interfered with my relationships back in the US, so the relationship with Van Halen came to an end.
I liked Cabo so much that my whole family stayed for a whole year and my daughters even went to public school. It was the best thing we ever did for our girls. Cabo turned out to be the perfect place to write music I began to think of myself as ½ Irish, ½ Italian and ¾ Mexican!
How do you see your role as the First Los Cabos Tourism Ambassador?
I have received other awards in my life, but being awarded Ambassador is something really special and I am very honored.
I believe that there is a lot to be done.
We must educate the children and their parents about recycling and keeping the towns clean. I hope to be able to do something about reducing pollution, teaching recycling in schools, and enforcing the rules and regulations that will help the area remain beautiful.
As our tourism grows, I would like to see more protection of our water, beaches and sea life and greater prevention of overfishing. There will be more demands on our water and roads, so I would like to improve communication with the government officials.
During the hurricane, Cabo Wabo supplied food and other necessities to the community. We provided baby formula, rice, beans and tortillas to people in the colonias, and encouraged our fans to bring clothing and linens. As Ambassador I hope to gain even more support for Los Cabos.
There is a lot of heart and soul in Los Cabos.
I believe if we can dream and imagine it, we can achieve anything.