Sammy Hagar, the early years

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What you might call before-and-after photos of rock singer Sammy Hagar, above, were set to run with Sunday’s column but didn’t (the vagaries of the newspaper biz being what they are). But then another photo surfaced, courtesy of reader Sheree Vath.

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“I read your article on Sammy Hagar’s book and his Fontana years. He apparently spent some time at Alta Loma High School too. Attached is his senior picture which appears in the 1966 Sisunga (yearbook),” Vath writes.

That picture appears at right.

“We’ve had some debates about this subject in our Alta Cucawanda Facebook group,” Vath continues. “Some of the people who grew up in Etiwanda say they remember him. Others say it isn’t true because they researched online and couldn’t find any information about it. I believe he spent some time at Alta Loma High School even if he was just there on picture day. Please take a look at the picture. It sure looks like him even if the hairdo is very different. We have the book to prove it!”

Looks like Sammy Hagar to me, Sheree. His memoir, “Red,” doesn’t name any of the schools he went to, although he talks about wanting to get out of Fontana after high school and he’s known to be a Fontana High alumnus.

Hagar writes that his mom married again when he was growing up and that her new husband was a man from Cucamonga who was a chef at “Chafee” College. (They met at a polka dance.) So it makes sense that Hagar would attend Alta Loma High, even if only briefly.

At lunch Monday at Nancy’s Cafe in Rancho Cucamonga I ran into a regular, Darlene Scalf, who saw me reading Hagar’s memoir and said: “I went to high school with that guy.” In Fontana, she confirmed. She added: “A friend of mine dated him. She had to break it off. Her parents said, ‘He’ll never amount to anything.’ “

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  • Todd Dice

    Dave, what do you think of the book?

    I bought it mainly because I’m a Van Halen fan and wanted to read about their shenanigans. But, once I started reading it, I could not stop as I thought it engrossing. Funny, I never thought much of him (since I preferred VH with David Lee Roth) but eventually found respect for him (especially, all that he did for his first wife).

    [For me his book is a guilty pleasure, I guess. I don't know that I've heard more than one of his songs in my life and I was never a Van Halen fan. But he's entertaining to read about and seems sincere in his own way. -- DA]

  • http://empoprise-ie.blogspot.com/ John E. Bredehoft

    Does the book identify where the polka dance occurred? I never made it to Casaletti’s Polka Palace before its demise, so I’m curious to see whether that was the place where Sammy’s mom met her new husband.

    And if it was at Casaletti’s, how fast did Sammy’s stepfather drive to get there? (Did he drive over 55?)

    [He doesn't say where, but Casaletti's is certainly a possibility. -- DA]

  • James

    I always thought VH sucked,with or without roth. I thought the first album was good, but they kept getting progressively worse with each album.

  • shirley wofford

    I was not into the hard rock music, and had never seen Sammy Hagar perform. From the depiction you give, from his book, about his life in Fontana, I envisioned a dirty, barefoot, scraggly looking kid. The high school pictures don’t prove my vision. What a nice looking young man–and look at that head of hair!

  • tonya schubert

    My mother had this picture in her jewelry box, on the back of the picture it said to pammy love sammy. My mother dated him, but shortly after dating him married my dad david schubert but I always thought my older sister looked like sammy hagar! lol I will never know since my mom and sister have both passed away …my mother’s name was Pamela K Gardocki.

  • Nancy Moss

    My aunt and uncle owned Casaletti’s Polka Palace and I met Sammy Hagar’s mother there once, so I would bet that she also met her husband there. I believe Sammy was from Fontana.