VAN HALEN's Record Label Wanted Band To Change Name After Replacing DAVID LEE ROTH With SAMMY HAGAR

April 12, 2021

Ex-VAN HALEN bassist Michael Anthony was interviewed for a recent episode of "Steve Gorman Rocks!", a Westwood One five-hour weeknight program for classic rock stations, hosted by the former drummer and founding member of THE BLACK CROWES.

Recounting the first time he met Sammy Hagar prior to the singer joining VAN HALEN as the replacement for David Lee Roth in 1985, Anthony said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I'd obviously seen Sammy play a few times. I never actually paid too much attention. Yeah, his stuff [was] great. I liked the MONTROSE stuff. Obviously, he had his solo stuff going on. But the first time I actually met him, I was in the studio at Ed's [Van Halen, VAN HALEN guitarist] house, the 5150 studio, and Sammy, I guess, was on a break. He had cut all his hair off. And he comes walking into the studio. I was sitting there in the studio, and he comes walking in. And I go, 'That's not Sammy Hagar. He's the guy with long hair.' And we instantly became friends."

Asked how long it took for him and the other members of VAN HALEN to realize that Hagar was going to be the band's the new singer, Anthony said: "We played probably for about 10 minutes tops, and we knew that we had something happening. We had a couple of songs that would end up on the '5150' record; I think they were 'Good Enough' and… There was another one; there was a couple of them that were pretty much written. And we played it for him, and we said, 'Just sing. Just sing something.' And there were bits that he actually sang that ended up — and I kid you not — on the album. The chemistry was just such, like, 'Wow!'"

According to Anthony, not everybody was instantly sold on the idea of Hagar replacing Roth in VAN HALEN. "We had everybody — [our record label] Warner Brothers, our management, our lawyers — going, 'Oh my God. David Lee Roth's gone.' They thought that that was such a strong identity," he said. "Warner Brothers wanted us to change the name of the band. I remember Eddie and Alex [Van Halen, VAN HALEN drummer], we were at Warner Brothers, and they were yelling, going, 'Hey, hey, this is our last name. This is our careers. And we're VAN HALEN.'"

Hagar recorded four studio albums with VAN HALEN"5150", "OU812", "For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge" and "Balance" — all of which topped the U.S. chart.

In a 2020 interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, VAN HALEN's longtime producer Ted Templeman admitted that he also initially had reservations about Hagar joining the band. "I wanted them to change the name," he said. "When I first sat down with Sammy and his manager, I said, 'Call it something else if you're going to be in the band. It's just not VAN HALEN without Dave to me.'"

Hagar, Alex, Eddie and Anthony last teamed up in 2004 for a U.S. summer tour. In exchange for taking part in the tour, Anthony reportedly had to agree to take a pay cut and sign away his rights to the band name and logo.

In early 2019, rumors were rampant that the classic-era lineup of VAN HALEN would reunite for the first time since 1984. It has since been revealed that a health setback involving Eddie was responsible for the tour not materializing.

Eddie died last October at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California.

The iconic VAN HALEN axeman passed away from complications due to cancer, his son confirmed.

Van Halen Bassist Michael Anthony Talks with Steve!

🚨 TONIGHT! 🚨 Michael Anthony's talking about the first time he played with Sammy Hagar as new frontman of Van Halen, plus much more! Don't miss the interview tonight on Steve Gorman Rocks!

Posted by 102.3 The Wolf on Thursday, April 8, 2021

Find more on Van halen
  • facebook
  • twitter
  • reddit
  • email

Comments Disclaimer And Information

BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@) with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).