Sammy Hagar Clarifies Past Remarks About Returning to Concerts amid COVID-19

"We remain cautiously optimistic that with the right improvements and safety measures in place, we might be able to play shows this year," Sammy Hager said in a new Instagram post regarding past comments he made on coronavirus

Sammy Hagar
Sammy Hagar. Photo: Gabe Ginsberg/Getty

Sammy Hagar is clarifying his past comments about returning to the stage amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The former Van Halen frontman opened up to Rolling Stone in an interview conducted in early May but published earlier this week, in which he said he would be willing to sacrifice his health to get the music industry back up and running.

"We have to save the world and this country from this economic thing that's going to kill more people in the long run. I would rather see everyone go back to work. If some of us have to sacrifice on that, OK," Hagar told the outlet.

The 72-year-old musician addressed his past comments in an Instagram post on Thursday in which he wrote, "Hey, Sammy here. Earlier in the week @rollingstone ran a compilation piece from their Quarantine Q&A series. I did that interview a month and a half ago, things change very fast right now, so I wanted to clarify and put a few things into context now."

"I did that interview May 8th when we were already several weeks into the stay-at-home, which my family and I took very seriously, and things were starting to look up, the curve was beginning to flatten," Hagar wrote. "So when I was asked if I’d be comfortable enough to get back onstage before a vaccine was out, I was cautiously optimistic."

He continued, "I said, “Yeah, not too soon. I want to make sure it’s not escalating. When it’s declining and seems to be going away.” Big picture, it’s about getting back to work in a safe and responsible way and getting this economy rolling again. I will do my part. I stand by that. I employ 200 people directly and when we tour even more. Like everything today, it’s a watch and see over the next few months but we remain cautiously optimistic that with the right improvements and safety measures in place, we might be able to play shows this year. That said, as things change, for the better or worse, we will appropriately adjust our plans."

Hagar told Rolling Stone in May he would be "comfortable playing a show before there's a vaccine" if the virus is "declining and seems to be going away."

"This is hard to say without stirring somebody up, but truthfully, I'd rather personally get sick and even die, if that's what it takes," he admitted.

The CDC recommends people maintain six-feet distance and wear masks to protect themselves and others by preventing the deadly spread of COVID-19. As of Thursday morning, more than 2,394,100 Americans have tested positive for COVID-19, and at least 121,926 people have died.

While Hagar said he's "not going to go around spreading the disease" it may be time for people to make sacrifices if it means getting back to a sense of normalcy.

"I will die for my children and my grandchildren to have a life anywhere close to the life that I had in this wonderful country. That's just the way that I feel about it," he said.

Adding, "There may be a time where we have to sacrifice. I mean, how many people die on the Earth every day? I have no idea. I'm sorry to say it, but we all gotta die, man."

While Hagar is willing to risk his health to get back to regular concerts, other musicians have found unconventional ways to perform while keeping a low risk for coronavirus.

Artists like Garth Brooks, Keith Urban, Brad Paisley and more have staged drive-in concerts so that fans can stay in their cars and minimize the risk of interaction.

Paisley will be headlining Live from the Drive-in, a series of live music tailgating concerts from July 10-12 in Indianapolis at Ruoff Music Center, Nashville's Nissan Stadium and St. Louis at The Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre.

Darius Rucker and Jon Pardi will also be joining Paisley for the series in Nashville and Nelly will play in his hometown of St. Louis, where El Monstero will also perform. Pardi will also play in Indianapolis along with Yacht Rock Revue.

Guests, who will be allowed to bring chairs, food and drinks to party in their designated areas, can expect contactless ticket scanning through their vehicle window when they arrive at the venues. (There will be a maximum of four people permitted per car.)

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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