On March 4, 2018, Steven Seagal tweeted that music speaks when words fail, effectively captioning a picture of himself strumming a guitar. The actor best known for his martial arts skills has always loved the blues since he was a child but focused on his acting career. Therefore, even when he decided to go back to his first love, people were skeptical, wondering if he could give up the luxury that comes with acting to enjoy the simple life of a blues musician. Still, he proved them wrong such as the time Steven Seagal opened for Sammy Hagar and made $1,000. It was not the paycheck he was used to in the film industry, but it was enough to fuel his passion for music. Let’s tell how he ended up opening for Hagar.
Blues Musician at Heart
In 2007, the Irish Examiner published an article reporting how the actor had launched a charity to give guitars to underprivileged British children. He explained that music is the language of the gods, and it can bring people together; hence there was no better way to begin spreading a message of unity than to help people learn how to play the guitar. Seagal started by learning how to play drums, but his heart always longed for the guitar. Luckily, his mother was keen to help the young boy pursue his interest. Thus she signed up for a long-term payment plan to allow 11-year-old Seagal to acquire a guitar from a department store. He became a self-taught guitarist primarily by imitating his favorite icons. As a teenager, he was invited to play in bands. He loved the blues, and his skills were enough to get him to play with famous legends. He recalls that the first time playing with renowned blues legends like Albert Collins and BB King, he was so nervous but gave it his best which impressed the musicians. With his connections, the actor finally released his debut album, “Songs from the Crystal Grave,” in which Stevie Wonder plays the harmonica. However, the album mixed different genres hence the decision to do a second album to show the world what he has always loved-̶ the blues, which come naturally to him.
All in an Attempt to Release an International Album
Seagal released his second album, “Mojo Priest,” in 2006 and spent the rest of 2006 assembling his band Thunderbox in readiness for a tour to popularize his songs. According to Blues and Soul, the band comprised Muddy Waters’ son Bill Morganfield and Marty Grebb. His reverence for Muddy Waters and other blues legends can’t go unnoticed because “Mojo Priest” was in their honor. The actor-turned-musician explained to Hypertension that it was dedicated to the legends because he used the legends’ bands for the project. Regardless, the musicians were more than glad to help him since Seagal was passionate about making a blues album, not rock. He still pulled his weight on the album; he wrote 11 songs, hence his interest in taking the album international to reward himself for his efforts.
Opening for Sammy Hagar
Seagal knew he could not do it alone, so he sought the help of Miles Copeland. According to Inside Hook, Copeland saw that the actor was genuine about making music. He knew Seagal was a renowned movie star and was afraid that, like other actors he had worked with, Seagal would not take as much interest in music as he did in acting. However, he could see the passion in the actor, so Copeland decided to help him. Seeing that Seagal was already accomplished in the film industry, Copeland warned him that the finances would not be much. However, Seagal did not care; he had an image to maintain, so he would show up in limousines and book first-class resorts, which did not make sense to Copeland. After all, why spend thousands of dollars only to earn hundreds? Still, Seagal was relentless.
The few hundreds of dollars turned to $1,000 when Copeland remembered that he and Sammy Hagar had tried to collaborate on a management deal that did not materialize. Therefore, according to Ultimate Classic Rock, Copeland tried getting Thunderbox on Hagar’s invoice for June 4, 2006 performance at the Cricket Pavilion, Phoenix. Although Hagar did not have a gap in his act, he told Copeland that Steven could open for him only if he could accept $1,000. Seagal was excited about the opportunity and showed up with an entourage comprising about 30 people. As he went on stage, he handed Copeland two 45 caliber pistols which were effective since the actor was already marked for dead by a Mafia crew. Seagal and his band performed; he ensured that he got the attention from the make-up and costume. After the act, he went off the stage and took the guns. Hagar was impressed, but the relationship between Copeland and Seagal lasted for five months only.
No Third Album Yet
After opening for Hagar, Seagal embarked on touring with his band. According to The Washington Post, he spent June 2006 on the road and on stage, which proved tiring for a 55-year-old man. As the article reports, the actor was so irritable after a performance that none of the small talk about his acting excited him, but praise for his music got his attention. He was proud of his performances and said that every bit of his music brought the house down. Still, despite the enthusiasm, the month-long tour was not a lucrative side gig compared to his acting career. Without much to show for his music apart from fans who wanted to have their CDs signed, it is no wonder that Seagal did not release another album. Even if all he cared about was a standing ovation, now that he has clocked 69 years, the energy to perform and tour the world has faded. He will have to settle for the two albums and his collection of guitars as reminders of his love for the Blues.