Why Can’t This Be Sammy?

When Sammy Hagar plays the St. Louis market, he competes head-to-head with “Sammyoke.”

“We were trying to create activities before the concert and it’s almost impossible for anybody to sing a Sammy Hagar song,” Live Nation – St. Louis’ David Gerardi told Pollstar. “That’s the great thing about Sammyoke. Nobody can sing like Sammy so it’s extremely entertaining to watch people try. You take it for granted but when you try to sing those songs, it’s impossible.”

The idea was apparently cooked up about three years ago by karaoke DJ Ron Allsup, who called St. Louis radio station KSHE pitching the idea that he should do karaoke tunes at a Hagar concert. The promotions director referred him to Gerardi, who bit, Allsup said.

The first show was at the UMB Bank Pavilion in August 2003, and Allsup – who until then was just “one of many in the vast ocean of karaoke DJs” – set up on a side stage. Until then, he had played mostly to country & western club crowds, but learned that 3,000 to 4,000 rock ‘n’ rollers “are bigger hams than the country singers.”

He is scheduled to play Sammyoke for upcoming shows in Nashville and Kansas City, and will do similar gigs for Rascal Flatts,Lynyrd Skynyrd, Journey, and Kelly Clarkson. Kid Rock, Brooks & Dunn, and Kenny Chesney have also gotten the treatment.

Allsup has not met Hagar, but heard the Red Rocker has enjoyed the sideshow. “Here’s your quote: ‘Sammy, will you please call me,” Allsup told Pollstar.

The side stage at the 2003 show is not normally the setup option; the karaoke is usually “far, far away” from the mainstage, Gerardi said.

– Joe Reinartz