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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

April 24, 1969 - 2nd US Tour begins (1st as headliners) at the Fillmore West
April xx, 1970 - Robert comments about the violence in the audience near the end of the fifth tour
April 04, 1970 - Jimmy Page performs White Summer/Black Mountain Side on the Julie Felix BBC show
April 16, 1970 - Whole Lotta Love was certified Gold in the US after selling over a million copies. The single had peaked at No. 4 on the US singles chart. In the UK, Atlantic Records had expected to issue the edited version themselves, and pressed initial copies for release on December 5, 1969. However, band manager Peter Grant was adamant that the band maintain a "no-singles" approach to marketing their recorded music in the UK and he halted the release.
April xx, 1971 - Untitled is rumored to be released this month
April xx, 1972 - Recording sessions for Houses Of The Holy at Stargroves and Olympic studios
April xx, 1973 - Led Zeppelin rehearse their new stage show in preparation for their huge 1973 US Tour
April xx, 1974 - Swan Song concentrates its efforts on signing new acts
April xx, 1975 - Jimmy does some mixing at Electric Lady studios for TSRTS soundtrack
April 19, 1975 - 51,000 tickets sell in two hours for three nights at Earls Court, two added dates see another 34,000 tickets sold
April xx, 1976 - The band decide they will release their film to theaters
April 30, 1977 - Led Zeppelin breaks the record for the largest attendance for a single-act show in the Pontiac Silverdome with 76,229 in attendance
April xx, 1978 - The band hold a meeting, this time with Robert, to discuss Zeppelin’s future
April 03, 1979 - Page, Bonham and Plant jam with Bad Company again in Birmingham
April 27, 1980 - The band rehearses at Rainbow Theater for an upcoming European tour
April 26, 1988 - James Patrick Page III’s birthday. He is named after his father is the only son of Jimmy and Patricia Ecker. Jimmy spoke of his son saying: "He is wonderful. He has made a big difference to my life."
April 21, 1998 - Page and Plant released Walking Into Clarksdale.
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