Heard on the Hill: Why Can’t We Be Friends?

Posted March 25, 2011 at 4:49pm

How many 63-year-olds count rock stars as friends?

Well, there’s at least one in Congress: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher. The California Republican tells HOH that Sammy Hagar “is about as heavy metal and loud a singer as you get. But we’re good friends.”

Turns out that Hagar, best known as the second of three singers for Van Halen, met Rohrabacher back in the 1980s when the singer was fronting the band.

Rohrabacher tells HOH that during his tenure as an assistant press secretary and speechwriter in the Reagan White House, he often tried to find celebrities who were opposed to communism, which was “very hard to do.”

When Congress defunded aid to the Nicaraguan Contras, Rohrabacher called up a pal in the music business in the hopes of finding an anti-communist rocker. His connection told him about Hagar, whose concerts often featured crowds chanting “F— Communism.” Rohrabacher says he knew then that the singer sounded like the kind of guy he wanted to meet, so he invited him to the White House.

“Sammy shows up and he’s got this red cape on,” Rohrabacher remembers. “He really looked wild. Flowing blond hair and this red cape. The guards kind of looked at him, like, ‘Whoa, where’s this guy coming from?’ He said, ‘I’m here to see Dana Rohrabacher,’ and they said, ‘Aha, we thought so.’”

During the lunch, the two hit it off. And, Rohrabacher noted, the rock star still contributes to his campaigns.