“You hear a lot that ‘rock ‘n’ roll is dead,’ especially as a form of popular music. I don't think that's true at all. We aim to carry the flag that our fathers waved and keep the genre alive; plus we just like to have a good time on stage and this is fun music to play,” Andrew Hagar (aka Drew Hagus) tells AXS while gearing up for his band’s new release.
Hagen Alter first came about in March of 2018, when Andrew (son of Sammy Hagar) enlisted the help of friend Trevor William Church after recording an acoustic demo for the track, “Mourning Ritual.” Trevor’s dad, bass player Bill “The Electric” Church, played with Sammy Hagar in both Montrose and the early Sammy Hagar solo band. One of Trevor’s other projects, Beastmaker, includes childhood friend and now Hagen Alter bandmate/producer, Andrew Alejandro Saldate IV. The three informally started the group after jamming together in Trevor’s garage.
The incredible thing about this trio is the variety of musical genres they can grasp. Church and Saldate’s doom-metal band Beastmaker is in complete contradiction to Hagar’s folk music project, the Appalachian Murder Bunnies. In addition, Saldate is also part of the horror rap project called HELL08s. Together, Hagar, Church and Saldate have formed Hagen Alter: a musical experience that taps into the psychedelic sounds of the ‘60s and ‘70s, yet also channels the rock vibes of the ‘80s, ‘90s and 2000s. It’s what you would imagine Montrose, The Doors, Radiohead and NOFX would sound like if they could all merge together. In Drew’s own words, it’s “balls out gonzo garage rock.” The idea is to let go, be weird, rage, have a great time, and listen to some psychedelic, heavy music.
Hagen Alter offers a unique perspective; a deeper layer if you choose to peel the onion. “In a musical world that's becoming increasingly homogenized, we're doing something slightly different from all the bubblegum pop acts out there. We're not trap kids, or SoundCloud rappers, or pop crooners. We're just a bunch of kids from small towns that like to make loud music and have a great f*cking time on stage,” the singer/songwriter tells AXS.
“My pops has over 50 years of experience in the music industry,” Hagar reflected. “I've learned so much from just being around him, let alone all the actual nuggets of wisdom he has dropped over the years. I could fill a book with all the little bits of knowledge he has shared with me. But, the most important thing I have learned is that no matter how good you get as a performer and musician, you're always going to feel like there's so much more to learn. So we have to appreciate the process, not the goal. The journey is never done, and there's always more work to do.”
There certainly is. You can expect a few more singles leading up to the release of the band’s EP, which is happening in the fall of 2018. There will be more music videos, and most likely a full-length record in 2019. With each of the three members currently playing in different projects it makes touring together a bit difficult, but as of now, the goal is for the back half of 2018. In the meantime, Drew will be playing some Hagen Alter tracks during solo acoustic sets for unsuspecting ears. You can see him opening for Sammy Hagar and The Circle on May 17 at Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage, Calif. and Starlight Theater at Pala Casino in Pala, Calif. on May 19.
Season 3 of “Rock & Roll Road Trip with Sammy Hagar” is airing now. New episodes premiere every Sunday at 9/8c on AXS TV.
Click here to listen to the exclusive premiere of Hagen Alter’s debut track, “Mourning Ritual.”