Last year, the Red Rocker went on the road with a new backing band, The Circle, featuring Van Halen bassman Michael Anthony, drummer Jason Bonham and Waboritas guitarist Vic Johnson. Says Sammy, “We call ourselves The Circle because this band has kinda taken me full circle in my career. I can play from every era, from Montrose to Van Halen to solo, Chickenfoot and some Zeppelin.”
Tuesday May 19, The Circle will release their live album At Your Service. It contains quite an assortment of tunes: Van Halen hits like Dreams and Right Now, Sammy’s solo effort I Can’t Drive 55, Zep’s Rock and Roll and Whole Lotta Love, and the Montrose chestnut Rock Candy. “We’re a brand new band, and our first record will be a greatest hits record. Top that,” says Sammy.
Sammy and The Circle will kick off a tour Saturday April 11 in Las Vegas; on some of the dates, Sammy will be backed by The Wabos. It won’t be a massive affair: “I credit myself with having somewhat of a preserved voice,” says Sammy. “I can still sing all these songs, but if I tried to do 100 shows a year, that would probably be my last one. I’d rather stretch it out and do 20 shows a year and do that for another five or six years.”
Meanwhile, it appears that Chickenfoot, his other collaboration with Anthony, Chad Smith and Joe Satriani, is on the shelf for the time being. “I love making music, but doing it on Chickenfoot’s level means spending a half million on a record,” he says. “We write and record for six months. It’s a lot of work, and then to not sell many records. It’s disappointing. I don’t like being disappointed. I like winning.”
Here are Sammy and The Circle with the live version of When It’s Love, which will appear on the At Your Service album.
Love, Dr. Scott James