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Sammy Hagar says Vegas gala will ‘look like Coachella’

Updated February 11, 2023 - 7:18 pm

Sammy Hagar can create an all-star, Cabo-favored party pretty much anywhere. Next Saturday he’ll roll his rock ‘n’ roll rescue effort into the MGM Grand Garden.

It happens at the 26th annual Keep Memory Alive Power of Love gala, the benefit event for the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. Hagar and music director Greg Phillinganes are piloting a live performance with John Mayer, Alice Cooper, Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers, Kevin Cronin of REO Speedwagon, Paul Abdul, Rick Springfield, Sam Moore of Sam & Dave, Chad Kroeger of Nickleback and comic Nikki Glaser.

“This year’s entertainment is going to look like Coachella,” Hagar said in a phone interview last week. “It’s going to be insane.”

It is a full house in the giant hotel-casino. But none of those stars had even been contacted by Dec. 30. That night, Larry Ruvo, who co-founded KMA and the Ruvo Center with his wife, Camille, called Hagar in Maui.

“Larry called me in the middle of the night,” Hagar said. “I said, ‘What are you doing up at this hour?’ But he said, ‘I need your help,’ and all I said was, ‘Done, done.’ ”

Hagar got on the phone the next morning.

“It was boom, boom, boom, I got some of my friends involved,” Hagar said. “We all have the same kind of friends. When they ask for something, they get it.”

Springfield, Cooper, Cronin and Mayer are especially close to Hagar.

“Alice and I just raised a million dollars for the food bank in Maui, with Shep Gordon (Cooper’s manager), so we do this,” Hagar said. “So, yeah, when Larry calls you, he’s the kind of guy you cannot say no to, because he will do more for you than you can ever do for him.”

Star Chef Emeril Lagasse had introduced Hagar to Ruvo some 15 years ago, when the Red Rocker was branching into cocktail distribution. Ruvo is a master of the industry as an executive for Southern Glazer’s of Nevada.

As always, Hagar is mixing his rock ‘n’ roll iconography with his entrepreneurial vision. He is now in partnership with Southern Glazer’s in his many spirits interests, among them Sammy’s Beach Bar Cocktail Co.’s canned sparkling rum cocktails, Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, and Santo Tequila and Mezquila, a partnership between Hagar and star chef Guy Fieri.

When he’s not playing music, the 75-year-old rock star is enforcing his boozy products. “It was Emeril who told me I need to be with Larry,” Hagar said. “He told me, ‘Larry is the man,’ and he’s right.”

Ruvo is just happy to have Hagar, and the great music director Phillinganes, steering the entertainment. The night will honor Paul Mitchell Hair Systems co-founder John Paul DeJoria, and the man known as the original Las Vegas Raider, broadcast great and Gorman High grad David Humm.

In addition, Maria Shriver, founder of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement (WAM) will be in attendance in her role as strategic advisor for Women’s Health and Alzheimer’s at Cleveland Clinic. Celeb chefs Wolfgang Puck (a KMA supporter for more than two decades) Tal Ronnen, founder and of Crossroads will prepare the lavish multicourse dinner.

Ruvo reached to a line his father, Lou, taught him years ago, which applies especially to this very Vegas event.

“My father always said, ‘You’ll know who your friends are when the chips are down. Well, the chips were stacked this year,” Ruvo said. “This show was put together in less than 12 days with the support and friendship of people I am blessed to have in my life.”

Cool Hang Alert

The talented and dexterous singer-songwriter Shawn Eiferman hosts his open-mic shows from 8 p.m.-“late” on Wednesdays at The Shag Room at Virgin Hotel Las Vegas. Gems are found in these events, and Eiferman is among them.

PodKats! Episodes

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.

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