During a new interview on 95.5 KLOS radio station, former VAN HALEN singer Sammy Hagar was asked if he was part of the discussions about whether to keep or change the band’s name after he was recruited to front VAN HALEN following the mid-’80s departure of David Lee Roth.
“Yeah, we were all in a room. And I think [head of Warner Bros.] Mo Austin said, ‘Why don’t we be careful here…?’ Our managers and lawyers and the president of the record company and the band was all in a room when we asked for permission for me to join the band — it was official,” Hagar responded. “Everybody came and said, ‘We wanna have a meeting.’ And we were in the studio and we played ‘Why Can’t This Be Love.’ And Mo Austin went, ‘Oh, I smell money’ — he thought it was just the greatest.
“But anyway, so then he said, ‘Did you guys ever think about maybe changing the name to, like, VAN HAGAR or something?’ And I know what they were thinking, because they thought, ‘If this doesn’t work, at least you can go back with VAN HALEN again. But if you’re VAN HALEN and it don’t work, now you’ve ruined VAN HALEN.’ So they were trying to preserve, I think, the VAN HALEN name. And Eddie Van Halen — Eddie Van Halen; no one else — said, ‘F*ck that.’ He said, ‘This is VAN HALEN with a new singer.’ And everybody said, ‘Okay. Word. Gospel.’ Boom.”
“I was a hundred percent on board with it,” he added. “It was VAN HALEN with a new singer. I would have been embarrassed to be VAN HAGAR. I would have said, ‘Let’s just change it back to [VAN HALEN‘s original name] MAMMOTH‘ or something — go back to the beginning.”