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Jason Bonham to tour with Sammy Hagar

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. — Just before the count-off, Sammy Hagar turns to a visitor and cackles.

"This is like test-driving a new car," says the man whose pre-Van Halen fame is inextricably linked to his autobiographical 1984 single, I Can't Drive 55. "With a new band, before you start it up, you're really not sure where it's going. But it's exciting."

From the first thunderous notes of Led Zeppelin's Good Times Bad Times, it's apparent that this latest Hagar-and-pals machine is firing on all cylinders. That's good news for fans planning to hit Sammy Hagar: A Journey Through the History of Rock, the group's upcoming run of summer shows, which kicks off Thursday at Rock Fest in Cadott, Wis., and wraps up Aug. 16 in Stateline, Nev.

When the band puts the final cymbal crash on Good Times, Hagar, 66, can't contain himself. "That was powerful, guys," he says to three compadres assembled at his private Northern California studio for the group's first rehearsal, which USA TODAY was invited to attend. "This is going to work. Man, I love singing Zep tunes."

It doesn't hurt that pulling drum duty is Jason Bonham, son of iconic Zeppelin drummer John Bonham, while the bass lines are anchored by founding Van Halen member Michael Anthony. The note-perfect guitar riffs are supplied by Vic Johnson, longtime member of Hagar's house band, The Wabos.

For the next few hours, the foursome rips through a classic-rock mix of Zeppelin (Ramble On, When the Levee Breaks), Hagar-era Van Halen (Why Can't This Be Love, Best of Both Worlds), Chickenfoot (Big Foot) and Wabos (Mas Tequila).

There's a lot of good-natured banter back and forth, much of it focused on who will take which solos when and how Bonham should telegraph the wrap-up for each tune with a drum flourish.

Read the entire story at: http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/music/2014/07/14/sammy-hagar-summer-band-rehearsal-led-zeppelin-rules/12570987/
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This Month in
Led Zeppelin History

June xx, 1969 - More recording for Led Zeppelin II at Morgan Studios
June 29, 1969 - Led Zeppelin play the prestigious Royal Albert Hall
June 28, 1970 - Zeppelin reach mass acceptance in Britain by playing Bath
June xx, 1971 - A news report claims Led Zep to play at an aid relief concert for Pakistan
June xx, 1972 - More recording sessions for Houses Of The Holy
June 21, 1972 - Eighth American tour begins in Denver, CO, almost four years since Zeppelin’s American debut
June 03, 1973 - Zeppelin play the Fabulous Forum in LA, a favorite venue to the band
June xx, 1973 - The band takes a mid-tour holiday in Hawaii
June xx, 1974 - Promoter Fred Bannister announces that Led Zeppelin will play Knebworth, the band declines
June xx, 1975 - John Bonham loses his license for six months over a drunk driving charge
June xx, 1976 - Filmmaker Kenneth Anger tells media that Jimmy Page is partly responsible for the failure of his film over the delayed soundtrack he provided
June 07, 1977 - The first of six nights at Madison Square Gardens
June xx, 1978 - Robert feels new life within Led Zeppelin again
June 26, 1979 - The entire Led Zeppelin line up appear at a Dave Edmunds show and party afterwards
June 17, 1980 - Led Zeppelin open their European (and last) tour at Westfallenhalle in Dortmund
June 27, 1980 - Zeppelin abandon their Nuremburg show after three numbers when Bonham collapses from exhaustion
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