weather icon Clear

Sammy Hagar, Rick Springfield floor it in Strat event

Updated January 23, 2020 - 1:47 pm

Rare is the opportunity to talk to the same celebrity about his driving record in conversations a decade apart. But that chance arose Wednesday at the Strat, where the spirits flow freely and the parking is free.

During a chat at the Strat’s View Lounge on Wednesday night, I brought up a long-ago conversation with Sammy Hagar. The renowned Red Rocker told me he’d never been cited for speeding since releasing the hit “I Can’t Drive 55” in 1984.

Usually, the officer who pulls Hagar over recognizes who he is and issues a mere warning. Often, the word “wow” is voiced.

Hagar still scoots free — mostly. “Knock on wood!” he said, laughing. “I never have a ticket!” Hagar then nodded toward his friend Rick Springfield, seated across the table, and said, “We generally get off, don’t we?”

“Me, always,” Springfield confirmed. “That’s one of the only things being a celebrity is good for. Restaurant reservations, and getting out of traffic tickets.”

Well, maybe not in every single instance. Hagar thought it through, and said he was most recently pulled over four years ago in California and got tagged.

“I was going about 70 in a 55, not that bad, and a lady CHP pulls me over,” said Hagar, referring to an officer of the California Highway Patrol. “She immediately wants my license, looks at it and says, ‘Who do you think you are?’ I said, ‘No one! I was just going 72!’ I was in a Ferrari and it could have been worse.”

A sheriff officer then pulled up and recognized the man behind the wheel. “The sheriff says, ‘This is Sammy Hagar! What’s going on here?’ and the CHP says, ‘I’m giving him a (expletive) ticket!’”

For the backdrop of this hang at the Strat, Hagar was among the celebs to formally usher in the renaming of the hotel formerly known as the Stratosphere. Springfield and — as a surprise — star chef Guy Fieri were also on hand.

Fieri, coincidentally, was celebrating his 52nd birthday (that’s one birthday for every card in the deck, folks) at the Strat and later at his eatery at Linq Hotel. The celeb restaurateur with the familiar blond-spiked mane and sizzling disposition was an unbilled pop-in during the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the hotel entrance.

Gov. Steve Sisolak was also in this merry band of celebs; the governor was making his second prominent appearance of the afternoon, having helped announce the formally renaming of the Las Vegas Raiders earlier at Allegiant Stadium. If there was a name to be bestowed on Wednesday in VegasVille, our governor was on it.

Also taking part in the opening were ownership company Golden Entertainment Chief Financial Officer Charles Protell, Golden Executive Vice President and COO Steve Arcana, Golden Vice President and General Manager Stephen Thayer, City Council members Olivia Diaz and Cedric Crear, and Rep. Dina Titus.

Nevada Stupak, son of Stratosphere founder Bob Stupak, was also recognized, reminding those assembled of who originally came up with the towering vision. The elder Stupak, a gaming legend, also built Bob Stupak’s Vegas World on the site, and the street leading to the hotel from Las Vegas Boulevard has been named for him.

As founder of the Cabo Wabo Cantina chain (including the silly-busy club at Planet Hollywood), Hagar has generated multiple business partnerships. He and Fieri collaborate on the hard-liquor brands Santo Tequila Blanco, Santo Mezquila and Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum. Springfield just became an investor in the Beach Bar Rum brand.

To celebrate this cross-promotion, Hagar, Springfield, Fieri, Carrot Top and guitar great DJ Ashba worked the bar for an hour at the hotel’s Remix Lounge. The Strat is undergoing a $100 million renovation, taking full advantage of its iconic position on the Strip — and execs insist the Strip starts at the Strat — while refining and modernizing the entire property.

Hagar, for one, says he would entertain the idea of entertaining at the Strat, possibly an outdoor venue. The former member of Montrose and Van Halen has never performed a residency in Las Vegas.

“My problem is, I don’t work that much,” Hagar said. “And the rooms here are all in-between, either too small or too big. I don’t want to play 10 nights in a 1,200-seater, and I can’t sell three nights in a 10,000-seater. But we’re working on it. If they were do do an outdoor thing here, that would be fun.”

Until then, the Red Rocker is revving to go.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Entertainment Videos
Buddy V opens PizzaCake at Harrah’s - VIDEO
Buddy Valastro, aka Cake Boss Buddy V, is in town this week overseeing the soft opening of his new restaurant, PizzaCake, in Harrah’s Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making mist-shrouded tuna poke at Marssa at the Westin Lake Las Vegas - VIDEO
E.J. Estrella, banquet chef at Marssa at the Westin Lake Las Vegas, makes tuna poke by mixing chunks of bigeye tuna with sliced green onions, julienned white onions and house-made poke sauce and serving it on a bed of seaweed salad garnished with lotus chips and suspended over melon-scented mist. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making baked goat cheese at Ri Ra in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Shea Wafford, sous chef and pastry chef at Ri Ra at The Shoppes at Mandalay Place in Las Vegas, makes baked goat cheese served with honey-nut pesto, pickled red onions, peppadew relish and sourdough baguette. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bruce Kalman cooking at Ada’s - VIDEO
Celebrity chef Bruce Kalman will be cooking at Ada's in Tivoli Village in Las Vegas. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making banana cream pie at Cut in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Nicole Earl, pastry chef at Cut at the Palazzo in Las Vegas, makes an updated banana cream pie by layering banana ice cream, custard and compote with house-made Cool Whip, vanilla wafers and 24-karat gold leaf in a milk chocolate sphere and drizzling it with warm banana-caramel sauce so it devolves into petals. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making Chile Colorado at Kitchen Table and Kitchen Table Squared in Las Vegas
Javier Chavez, chef/owner of Kitchen Table and Kitchen Table Squared in Las Vegas, makes Chile Colorado by braising pork belly with three kinds of peppers and serving it atop stewed black beans with crema and pickled jalapeño, carrots and onions, with flour tortillas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Black Tap introduces its vegan CrazyShake - VIDEO
Black Tap at The Venetian on the Las Vegas Strip has a new CrazyShake that's vegan -- The Black ’N White CakeShake. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Guy Fieri reflects on the Las Vegas dining scene
Celebrity chef Guy Fieri talks about the Las Vegas food scene while in town celebrating his 52nd birthday. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Familiar faces among Circa culinary lineup
Derek Stevens and chefs Barry Dakake and Dan Coughlin talk about some of the new restaurants for Stevens' Circa resort project. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making the Ausser Rand und Band (Over the Top) bloody mary at the Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas
The Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas serves the Ausser Rand und Band bloody mary with Hofbrau Dunkel, vodka, bloody mary mix, a Tajin rim and a soft pretzel, slider, bacon, sausage and more. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Custom Pizza Truck is a 'kitchen on wheels' - VIDEO
Custom Pizza Truck serves pizzas in a one of a kind food truck that traveled to Poland and back. (Elizabeth Page Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @elipagephoto
Squidhat Records comes to an end - VIDEO
Founder Allan Carter explains decision to shutter the Las Vegas label. (Jason Bracelin/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kaiseki Yuzu relocates to Chinatown - VIDEO
Kaiseki Yuzu restaurant celebrated its move from Henderson to Chinatown at 3900 Spring Mountain Road on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Panic! at the Disco frontman opens studio for kids - VIDEO
Panic! at the Disco frontman Brendon Urie launches Notes for Notes at a Henderson Boys & Girls Club. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A sneak peek at the new Mas Por Favor in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Mas Por Favor in Las Vegas’ Chinatown is an Instagram dream come true with original art, an arch of skulls and one of roses. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Vegan menu unveiled on Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
Truth & Tonic, one of the two dining spots within The Venetian’s Canyon Ranch Spa + Fitness, rolled out its new plant-based menu on Friday. Executive chef Pete Ghione talks about the menu. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making lobster and avocado flatbread at Vanderpump Cocktail Garden in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Josh Grimes, chef de cuisine at Vanderpump Cocktail Garden at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, created a lobster and avocado flatbread that also has avocado-creme fraiche spread, yellow tomatoes, red onion and Hearts On Fire microgreens. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Riding the new 15-minute "Star Wars" ride at Disneyland
What it's like to ride the new 15-minute "Star Wars" ride At Disneyland (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Main St. Provisions is coming to the Arts District - VIDEO
Kim Owens talks about her new Arts District restaurant, Main Street Provisions, which is under construction. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Artist Wayne Littlejohn on “Spin Baby” - VIDEO
Wayne Littlejohn’s sculpture celebrates Las Vegas entertainers. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Tiësto headlines CES 2020 closing party at Hakkasan Nightclub - VIDEO
Tiesto performs for CES conventioneers and clubgoers during the DreamlandXR Closing Night Party at Hakkasan Nightclub at the MGM Grand on the Las Vegas Strip in the early hours of Friday, Jan. 10, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Locals cheer on James Holzhauer at 'Jeopardy!' watch party - VIDEO
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But James Holzhauer would have a better chance at winning “Jeopardy! The Greatest of All Time” tournament if Ken Jennings would stop copying his aggressive betting strategy. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Drake's first show of 2020 at XS Nightclub in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Drake performs at the indoor/outdoor XS and Encore Beach Club at Wynn Las Vegas on the Las Vegas Strip in the early morning hours of Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Ceremony held for Elvis artist Trent Carlini - VIDEO
A ceremony was held for Elvis impersonator Trent Carlini on Wednesday night at The Space in Las Vegas. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: Small appliances unveiled in Las Vegas - VIDEO
The small appliances on show at Sands Expo at CES 2020 in Las Vegas include a Keurig cocktail maker, autonomous cooking system, nitrogen coffee ampules and more. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
CES 2020: Impossible Foods debuts Impossible Pork in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Before a packed press conference at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Impossible Foods executives introduced Impossible Pork, its newest product. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Lady Gaga joins her band leader at his after-hours show - VIDEO
After finishing her “Jazz + Piano” show at Park Theater, Lady Gaga joined her band leader Brian Newman for a rousing version of "Fly Me to the Moon" during his show at NoMad Restaurant at Park MGM on the Las Vegas Strip after midnight on New Year's Day, 2020. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
Brian Newman rings in 2020 at NoMad at Park MGM - VIDEO
Brian Newman, bandleader for Lady Gaga, performs at NoMad Restaurant at Park MGM on the Las Vegas Strip on New Year's Eve 2019. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto
New Year’s Fireworks on the Las Vegas Strip - VIDEO
Fireworks explode over the Las Vegas Strip to celebrate the new year of 2020. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kats hits Las Vegas Strip on New Year's Eve - VIDEO
Man-about-town columnist John Katsilometes covers entertainment on the Strip on New Year's Eve Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019. Mayfair Supper Club overlooking Bellagio fountains. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto