Oldschool Sunday: HSAS (Hagar Schon Aaronson Shrieve)

Article By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker ‡ Edited By: Leanne Ridgeway

After the release of Journey’s 1983 album ‘Frontiers’, the band’s guitarist Neal Schon and fellow guitarist/ vocalist Sammy Hagar decided to make good on a longstanding promise to work together.

Hagar was coming off of his own late 1982 release, ‘Three Lock Box’, and the time was right for the pair to explore their desired collaboration. They began to recruit and audition other musicians to fulfill a band roster, eventually settling on Sammy’s former drummer Denny Carmassi. At one point, the trio was working with Cheap Trick bassist Tom Petersson but that did not pan out over time.


Soon, touring obligations with Journey would delay things until the fall of 1983, by which time Carmassi had exited the project. Eventually, Kenny Aaronson (Dust) would join on bass along with drummer Michael Shrieve, who’d played with Schon in Santana in the past.

In fact, the pedigree of this foursome read like a real Who’s Who when it came to the collective bands on their resumes. Besides the obvious – Journey, Montrose, and Santana – one could now include Billy Idol, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, Hall & Oates,  Blue Öyster Cult, Mountain, Rick Derringer, Billy Squier, Pat Travers Band, and several others.

The supergroup Hagar Schon Aaronson Shrieve (also known as HSAS) was now officially born. The quartet opted to go a different route than most bands for their initial debut album, playing live dates in November of 1983, two of which were recorded. Not just recorded, as the November 14 and 15th shows in San Francisco were aired on MTV in their entirety on at least one occasion. Oddly, none of this footage has ever been issued on official VHS or DVD releases in the years since.

The recorded material from these shows, once edited in-studio to remove the crowd noise, was released as the 1984 Geffen Records release, ‘Through The Fire‘. Strangely, the one and only single ever released from the album was the HSAS cover of the Procol Harum classic “Whiter Shade Of Pale“, which reached No. 94 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

HSAS would tour briefly in California during 1984, adding rhythm guitarist Nick Sciorsci to their lineup for live performances. Around this time, a full concert from the band was aired on radio as a Westwood One broadcast. It contained several original songs that did not make the debut album including: “Movin’ In For The Kill“, “Tough Enough“, “Through The Eyes Of Love“, “Hope And Fear“, “Since You Came“, and “What Will Never Be“. [However, the stream of ‘Through The Fire’ we’re sharing does include these numbers].

Through The Fire‘ would be the one and only album ever released from Hagar Schon Aaronson Shrieve, it remains a cult classic even now. Schon would return to Journey while Sammy would blow up even more as a solo artist with another album he’d release that year, 1984’s ‘VOA’, and then he would go on to join Van Halen in 1986.

Hagar and Schon would reunite almost 20 years later to form the short-lived Planet Us project, which would also feature Van Halen (and future Chickenfoot) bassist Michael Anthony.

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