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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

August xx, 1968 - Page, Plant, Jones and Bonham hold their first rehearsals in Gerrard Street, London
August xx, 1968 - Page, Grant and Chris Dreja go see Robert Plant perform at a Birmingham Teachers College. Page invites Plant to his Pangbourne house and offers him the vocalist position
August xx, 1969 - Peter Grant starts enforcing the 90/10 split in favor of the band
August 31, 1969 - The third US tour ends at the Texas International Festival in Dallas
August xx, 1970 - Zeppelin earn no less than $25,000 per show
August 17, 1970 - Page completes mixing of the Led Zeppelin III in Memphis
August 19, 1971 - The seventh North American tour opens in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
August xx, 1972 - Jimmy Page purchases Plumpton Manor in Sussex
August xx, 1973 - Jimmy starts arranging ideas for the next album
August xx, 1974 - Film maker Peter Clifton has the band re-enact scenes at Shepperton Studios
August 31, 1974 - John Paul Jones appears with David Gilmour and Steve Broughton as Roy Harper’s backing band for the night
August 04, 1975 - Robert Plant and his family are seriously injured as their car veers off the road on the island of Rhodes
August 08, 1975 - Rehearsal for Zeppelin’s Eleventh North American tour postponed after Robert is involved in a serious car accident
August xx, 1976 - Arrangements are made to show the upcoming Zep film in theaters
August xx, 1976 - Jimmy Page finishes mixing the soundtrack for the movie The Song Remains The Same
August 14, 1977 - Jimmy jams with Ron Wood at a charity golf tournament for underprivileged children
August xx, 1978 - Robert plays with Dr. Feelgood and Phil Carson in Ibiza, Spain while on holiday
August 11, 1979 - Led Zeppelin perform a second show at Knebworth due to overwhelming ticket demands
August xx, 1980 - Jimmy moves into his new Windsor home, which was purchased from Michael Caine
August 14, 2009 - It Might Get Loud opened in select theatres in NY, WA & CA.
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