LOS ANGELES – Last month, Gov. Sarah Palin was busted for a speeding ticket in Alaska – telling TMZ that she was listening to Sammy Hagar’s “I Can’t Drive 55” on the radio at the time. Now the Red Rocker is stepping up and says that he accepts some responsibility for the lead foot offense.
“Some fan posted a picture of me in my jump suit from the ‘I Can’t Drive 55’ video where the police man had my hands behind my back,” he told FOX411 following the official announcement that he is to host the upcoming Classic Rock Roll of Honor Awards. “They put Sarah Palin’s head on me… Okay, I’ll take some responsibility.”
Usually staged in the UK, the Classic Rock Roll of Honor will take place on American soil for the first time on November 4 at The Avalon in Hollywood.
“This is brand new for me, I have never hosted a show before,” he said. “I am going to try and do something to make it more fun for everyone instead of just sitting there on their hands waiting for them to be mentioned or not mentioned.”
Speaking of classic rock, Hagar expressed concern that the genre is waning as each generation moves further away from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and the Rolling Stones.
“I have children who are teenagers and they don’t give a crap or even know who Jimmy Page is. It’s not like the music they are listening to,” he lamented. “The classic rock era, that was the absolute heyday. It was when everyone was the biggest, we made the most money, and we sold the most records. The record industry was at its peak and I’m proud to have been part of that era.”
But one change Hagar does welcome is that these days it’s no longer “cool” for stars to live the hard-partying, sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll lifestyle.
“We have all gotten smarter. It’s like when you see people smoking cigarettes – wow, why would someone smoke? Don’t they know? We all know now,” he insisted. “The whole world is getting wiser.”
In fact, Hagar say he is “embarrassed” by the amount of “dangerous, reckless and irresponsible” things he did some three decades ago while in the band Van Halen, and wished he’d been more mature.
“When I listen to the old Van Halen, we had so much energy and so much enthusiasm and talent, but I was trying so hard all the time. I really wish I could have been as relaxed with who and what I am now,” he said. “I am better now than what I was, I don’t have that youthful enthusiasm, but I also didn’t have my knowledge and heart and soul in understanding life.”
Hagar also noted that if his version of Van Halen got back together now, “it wouldn’t be what it was.” He also seemed less than excited about David Lee Roth, the lead singer who he replaced, rejoining for the iconic band’s 2012 comeback album.
“I think it was the right thing to do if they’d done it (reunited) with Mikey,” Hager added, referring to former Van Halen bass player Michael Anthony, who was replaced by guitarist Eddie Van Halen's son. “Without Mikey, it doesn’t make any sense.”
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Hollie McKay has been a FoxNews.com staff reporter since 2007. She has reported extensively from the Middle East on the rise and fall of terrorist groups such as ISIS in Iraq. Follow her on twitter at @holliesmckay