NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) – Sammy Hagar is standin’ on top of the world.

Walking down Second Avenue in Manhattan’s East Village on a Wednesday night, fans greet Hagar like an old friend. A stockbroker with his girlfriend headed to a local bar for an after-work drink yells, “Hey Sammy! How are you?” Hagar smiles and waves, “I’m doing great!” A man loading boxes into a commercial van says, “Sammy! Love the new album!” Hagar shakes the man’s hand, “Hey man, thanks. Have a great night.”

On this particular evening, Hagar has been eating his way through Manhattan — first a light Japanese meal in SoHo, followed by a trip to Little Italy for some authentic New York pizza, and then a nightcap of nachos and some of his personal brand Cabo Wabo tequila at a local Mexican joint. Three meals, one night. Why not?

“Eating is probably one of the most wonderful experiences on the planet,” says Hagar, 55, who likes to cook as much as he likes to eat.

However, this year Hagar has been too busy to cook for himself. He released a new CD, “Sammy & the Wabo’s Live Hallelujah”; spent the summer touring solo as well as with David Lee Roth and with Lynyrd Skynyrd; recently premiered his new DVD “The Long Road to Cabo” (which hits stores on Tuesday) in numerous cities across the United States, and is preparing for his October Mexican Melt Down and annual Birthday Bash at his restaurant club the Cabo Wabo in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

“Ever since I left Van Halen, I just jumped on a rocket ship and I’ve been flying,” says Hagar. “I just keep doing it, and eventually I’m either going to explode or make it.”

“The Long Road to Cabo” was edited from almost 400 hours of footage of live performances, backstage antics, interviews with his band, candid moments with friends like Ted Nugent and Kid Rock, and numerous Hagar quips on Roth’s poor fashion sense.

“Basically, the philosophy of ‘The Long Road to Cabo’ is that it’s not about the destination, it’s about the trip,” says Hagar. “It’s an amazing thing to finally realize — don’t be in such a hurry about everything you do. It’s really about the journey.”

Hagar’s journey has been quite a roller coaster: he left his boxing career in the ’60s, began his first solo incarnation in the mid ’70s, took over for Roth in Van Halen in 1985, exited the band in the mid ’90s, went solo again and cemented his Wabo franchise — tequila, a club and his band the Waboritas.

Hagar says he hopes “a lot of people, not just Sammy fans” will see the DVD, mainly because he wants to be better understood.

“A person who isn’t a Sammy fan they might think, ‘Oh this person is out there selling tequila, he’s out there pretending to be this or doing that,”‘ Hagar says. “This (DVD) might clarify everything. People can really see, that within my organization and my band, there is a lot of love and closeness. It’s not just a business, it really is a lifestyle. We just do what we do, without being phony or putting on costumes.”

No airs donned during the Mexican Meltdown at Cabo Wabo either — it’s just a big big party, says Hagar. This year will have a few surprises, including a special celebration for drummer Tommy Lee’s birthday on Oct. 3. Hagar, whose birthday is on Oct. 13, says the Cabo Wabo festivities will run from Oct. 2- Oct. 15.

When he has the time, the guitarist says, he might even record some new songs. But he’s hooked on the DVD format. “Doing ‘The Long Road to Cabo’ was so much more creative, it kept me more involved than just writing and recording songs. I think I’d probably do my next release of new songs as another DVD/semi-documentary. I can’t see doing it any other way. It just seems like so much more value for the money than just an audio thing, I think audio is one-dimensional now.”

Tamara Conniff courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter