Hagar, Schon, Aaronson, Shrieve “Through The Fire” (1984)

In 1984, shortly before Sammy Hagar controversially replaced David Lee Roth as the lead singer of Van Halen, and when Journey was heading for a period of internal conflict, an album was recorded by a supergroup consisting of Hagar, Journey guitarist Neal Schon, original Santana drummer Michael Shrieve, and journeyman bassist Kenny Aaronson (who was previously best known for playing with Rick Derringer). The album was recorded live, with some studio overdubs added and most of the crowd noise removed. The band billed themselves as Hagar, Schon, Aaronson, Shrieve – or HSAS. The album, titled Through The Fire, was produced by Hagar and Schon, who co-wrote eight of the nine tracks (the exception being their cover of Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade Of Pale”, which is rendered in a pleasing guitar-based interpretation).

There was no denying the skills of the assembled musicians, but the results of this collaboration amounted to little more than middling mid-‘80’s arena rock. In fact, much of the material now comes across as an underdeveloped forerunner to Hagar’s work with VH, especially the pop-metal of “Missing You” and “He Will Understand”. The fairly stimulating opening track “Top Of The Rock” now seems like something of a prototype for Van Halen’s later hit “Top Of The World”. Of course, Neal Schon’s style of high-speed guitar virtuosity is different from that of Eddie Van Halen, but not by as much as you might think. Schon’s playing is the album’s best attribute, showing the guitarist letting loose outside of Journey’s increasingly commercial structure. Aaronson and Shrieve worked well together to provide a sturdy rhythm section for the material. But, as is often the case with supergroup recordings, Through The Fire is less than the sum of its parts – and so were HSAS. This album will be enjoyed most by fans of Van Hagar and of Journey’s early jam-band albums.

HSAS - Through the Fire

Hagar, Schon, Aaronson, Shrieve “Through The Fire” (Geffen GHS 4023) 1984

Track Listing:

1. Top Of The Rock
2. Missing You
3. Animation
4. Valley Of The Kings
5. Giza
6. Whiter Shade Of Pale
7. Hot And Dirty
8. He Will Understand
9. My Home Town