Though he´s descended from Amish forefathers, it´s hard to imagine anyone less likely to ride a horse-driven buggy than WaboRitas drummer David Lauser. After relocating to San Bernadino CA, as a teen, the Reading, PA, native took up the drums at age 15. One of his first bands, the Mobile Home Blues Band, went on to play a key role in his life when a young Sammy Hagar sat in on a rehearsal, eventually joining as a lead singer. The band played the local nightclub circuit for a time, eventually moving to San Francisco. After a few years, Sammy met Ronnie Montrose, a pairing that led to stardom for Hagar. In 1980, Sammy auditioned David, and the two were teamed once again for Sammy´s solo Geffen LP:s.

David remained with Sammy until he joined Van Halen. From there, David enjoyed many exciting career highlights including founding the band Alliance, which also featured Gary Pihl and Alan Fitzgerald (Nightranger), and Robert Berry. In 1990, he joined Icon, which recorded for Megaforce/Atlantic. During Sammy´s Van Halen years, David never failed to accompany his friend and VH´s Michael Anthony in Tres Gusanos (the three worms), the legendary ad hoc rock trio which performed once a year at Sammy´s birthday bash in Cabo. David also played for Sammy on the singer´s contributions to the soundtracks of Footloose, Heavy Metal and Fast Times At Ridgemont High, as well as on Sammy´s 1994 greatest hits release, Unboxed, which, although it spanned the many years of Sammy´s career, featured only one drummer throughout: David Lauser.

After Hagar left Van Halen, he once again called on David Lauser, who rejoined his friend in time for the heralded Marching to Mars tour of 1997-1998. As for Sammy´s upcoming album Red Voodoo, David waxes enthusiastic. "The new album has more energy and focus", he says. "It´s happier, simpler hard rock sound". David is endorsed by Mapex Drums, Paiste cymbals, Gibralter hardware, Remo heads, and DW pedals.


MONA GNADER Mona makes her home in Willits, CA, along the rugged northern coast and maybe some of the region´s hardy spirit rubbed off on her. That´s because she´s gone on to be one of the best rock bassists in a world notoriously dominated by men. She started out playing guitar in High School, later taking up the bass violin before switching to Fender bass Mona played with the Mendocino College Jazz band and other local cover bands, before joining Tommy Tutone ("867-5309/Jenny), with whom she stayed for 4 years.

Mona then began working with a variety of artists, including Gene Parsons (Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers) and cult favorite Wayne Perkins, through whom she met David Lauser. The drummer told her that Sammy Hagar had been looking for a new bassist. Within minutes of her audition, Mona landed the job, and soon was off on Sammy´s Marching to Mars world tour of 1997. Throughout her career, Mona has earned respect and admiration for her playing, rarely finding her gender an obstacle. "Most people I've worked with have been really encouraging and accepting", she says. "Everyone thinks of Sammy as this testosterone rush, but his fans have been great, totally into having me on board. I´ve always been an aggressive player, and I think people respond to that" As for Sammy´s upcoming MCA album Red Voodoo, Mona offers this preview. "The new album is totally killer", she says. "The fans will dig it, and we´ll attract a lot of new fans with it as well"


As a teen growing up near Colorado Springs, Vic Johnson liked to think of himself as his town´s own Jimi Hendrix. "Jimi turned me on to guitar," he says. "I soon picked up guitar and tried to learn all the Hendrix licks." Once bitten by the rock 'n' roll bug, Johnson never got over it. He played in bands throughout high school and beyond before moving to LA to seek entry into the thriving Hollywood music scene. He didn´t have to wait long. In 1980, he auditioned for and joined a fledging all-African-American rock/soul band called the Busboys, and for the next eight years, he took a long ride on the back of a hurri- cane. The band appeared in the film "48 hours", performed on "Saturday night live", and recorded several albums for Arista Records, all to the approval of their legion of fans around the world.

Vic enjoyed taking on side projects, such Sound Barriers, an all-black heavy metal band signed to MCA in the mid-80s. He also started his own metal band, Total Eclipse, which recorded for Taboo/A&M Records. Once the Busboys had run their course, Vic became a much-in-demand session player. But in the spring of '97, Vic's life changed yet again. He auditioned for Sammy Hagar's new band. He and Sam right away found many common interests, from mountain bikes and running to rock 'n' roll. "We started jamming," remembers Vic, "and Sam hired me on the spot."

The newly formed WaboRitas toured most of 1997 on the Marching to Mars world tour, which was a total joy for Vic. Now, he´s most excited about the band's upcoming album, Red Voodoo. "This record is a departure from the last record," says Vic, "It´s very funky in spots, very upbeat, party music. It´s about fun, fun, fun." As for the temperament of the band itself, Vic couldn´t be more pleased. "Everyone has input," he notes. "It´s always about 'we' and 'us'. I´m really inspired by Sammy. To stand and play next to him is a very special thing for me."


WaboRitas keyboardist Jesse Harms knows a thing or two about the music of Sammy Hagar, having been the Red Rocker's friend and colleague since 1982. He is also at the helm, co-producing Sammy's new album, Red Voodoo, with Sammy. Jesse's rock roots go way back before that, however. The Berkeley native first began classical piano studies at the age of eight, but switched to rock 'n' roll at sixteen. His heroes were organ players like Jimmy Smith, Brian Auger, Keith Emerson, and classical bands like the Beatles, the Who, and Cream. After getting his chops down playing with a string of local Bay Area bands, Jesse moved to LA to make an album with acclaimed bass player Alphonso Johnson. Soon after, he toured and recorded with such artists as John Hiatt, Ry Cooder, and the Hughes-Thrall band. In the early '80s, Jesse hooked up with Sammy Hagar, who had by then launched his meteoric solo career. He co-write, recorded, and toured with Sammy until he joined Van Halen. After that, Jesse switched his emphasis to songwriting, enjoying great success writing hits for Eddie Money (the Top 10 "Walk on water"), Patty Smyth, Bad English, Heart, Johnny Van Zant, Michael Schenker,MSG, R.E.O Speedwagon, and many others. Jesse also co-produced an R.E.O Speedwagon album.

Jesse reteamed with his old friend Sammy during the writing and recording of Marching to Mars. Says Jesse, "Sam's an incredibly talented guy with an amazing amount of energy. He´s a big picture guy, and he really cares about his fans." As for the newly constituted WaboRitas, Jesse Has nothing but praise for his colleagues. "This is a fun band to be in" he says. "Everyone gets along really well. And we can be who we are. We´re still having fun, still partying."