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  1. #1
    Hot For Teacher
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    Default Van Halen's Mammoth 1973 Name Change

    I thought this tidbit of VH history might be of interest to folks here at the Links.



    ^This is a 1975 ad for the "other" Mammoth.^

    As I discuss in more detail in the forthcoming Van Halen Rising, in 1973 the Van Halen brothers and one Dave Roth changed their band’s name from Mammoth to Van Halen.

    There’s been quite a bit speculation about why that change happened, but the truth is that at that time there was another band in Los Angeles (from the San Fernando Valley, to be specific) that called itself Mammoth.

    At some point that year, members of the “other” Mammoth, which was an established, professional group, got wind of the fact that there was a Pasadena backyard party band calling itself by the same name.

    They then passed the word to Ed, Al, and co. that it would be in their best interest to change their band’s name.

    Immediately.

    That’s when Van Halen became Van Halen.


    More at http://vanhalenrising.com/vip.php
    Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal
    ORDER VHR here: http://goo.gl/CBKzZs
    Facebook: facebook.com/VanHalenRising
    Twitter: twitter.com/GregRenoff
    Blog: http://vanhalenrising.com/vip.php


  2. #2
    Atomic Punk RRvh1's Avatar
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    That's pretty cool .
    I knew about Genesis and had heard about Mammoth , but I thought they were another overseas act . Didn't realise they were both from the same area .

    Can't wait to read your completed book , Greg .
    Cheers
    "There's too many people on this basketball that's floating around the sun, who are too afraid to allow themselves to FEEL" - Edward Van Halen
    "Van Halen was never about the singer..." - a very wise fan.
    "Embrace the past. Live in the moment but keep your eyes on the future, and keep on moving forward..." - Richie Sambora

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  4. #3
    Little Dreamer
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    Thanks! Got my $ ready for your new VH RISING book!!! Rock on...
    K.E.Z.
    <keepeverythingzen>

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  6. #4
    Baluchitherium Harpospoke's Avatar
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    You may end up being one of the biggest heroes in VH history. ...Simply because you are finally getting their history told.

    No offense to the others who have tried....we all know this band keeps everything hidden in their "vault".

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  8. #5
    Baluchitherium
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    08.21.17 @ 09:32 PM
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    I appreciate everything you do, man, and I hate to be the dick, and don't mean to be, but isn't this VH 101?.

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    Looking forward to the book, Greg. It looks like you put in a lot of work interviewing 230 people and especially key pre-1978 inner-circle people, like Roger Renick and Janice Pirre Francis.

    Were there certain early interviews that were critical linchpins that led you to greater information and sources that you otherwise would not have known about?

    Good question, There are many people I could list here but I will single out three. In 2009, I contacted a now great friend of mine, Michael Kelley. He’s a walking encyclopedia of rock lore, and had seen Van Halen on the Sunset Strip back in 1976. Sometime after I also met Roger Renick, who’d grown up in Pasadena and knew the scene and the band’s ascent in Los Angeles close up. ​ Roger then put me in touch with Janice Pirre Francis, who’d met the band back in 1976 and spent many years in the band’s inner circle. Their help was invaluable as I researched and wrote the book.​
    http://talkingwithtim.com/wordpress/...-halen-rising/

    Janice wasn't just a local who met the band, she was professionally involved in the local music scene:

    During the time of Van Halen departing for super stardom & Motely Crue reigning the Strip I booked bands, was a prod. asst.,& band mgr.
    https://twitter.com/mauizoo

    A couple of questions:

    You say on your Facebook page:

    This Mammoth never went anywhere. VH went straight to the top with their new name!
    You are implying a casual connection. Claiming that they were failing as Mammoth and the name change made them more popular in CA. Do you have proof that the name change directly and significantly changed their fortune? Say, that 15 people came to Mammoth shows and 1000s came to Van Halen shows within weeks after the name change?

    At some point that year, members of the “other” Mammoth, which was an established, professional group, got wind of the fact that there was a Pasadena backyard party band calling itself by the same name.

    They then passed the word to Ed, Al, and co. that it would be in their best interest to change their band’s name.

    Immediately.
    http://vanhalenrising.tumblr.com/pos...i-thought-this

    In this passage are you implying a legal or physical threat? It is unclear.

    You also say on your Facebook page:

    In 1973, Ed, Al, and DLR had to change their band name from Mammoth to Van Halen -- fast. Learn why at the VHR blog, where I've started to roll out the cutting room floor excerpts from the book:
    "Cutting room floor" footage in film is footage that does not appear in the final distributed film. Stuff that did not make the final-cut, but was cut out and dropped to the editing room floor. Are these blog posts cutting room floor bits that are not in the book or are they "excerpts"? Excerpts are passages that are included in the final printed and distributed book. Excerpts are samples. Coming attractions. Teasers.
    Last edited by ExpandedConsciousness; 04.18.15 at 01:25 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PrideofPasadena View Post
    I appreciate everything you do, man, and I hate to be the dick, and don't mean to be, but isn't this VH 101?.
    Obviously, the purpose of the post wasn't to inform fans about the name change.

    We've all read the band interviews that talk about the name change and the fact that there was another band with the name. But what did we know about this other band?

    So the post was about documenting that the "other" Mammoth was a pro band working and gigging around LA, and thus would have the leverage to tell Ed, Al, and DLR to change the name.

    I thought this ad for the 'other' Mammoth was a cool footnote in VH history. Best to my knowledge, no one has ever unearthed anything similar.
    Last edited by ffoner; 04.18.15 at 07:41 AM.
    Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal
    ORDER VHR here: http://goo.gl/CBKzZs
    Facebook: facebook.com/VanHalenRising
    Twitter: twitter.com/GregRenoff
    Blog: http://vanhalenrising.com/vip.php

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  12. #8
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    You are implying a casual connection. Claiming that they were failing as Mammoth and the name change made them more popular in CA. Do you have proof that the name change directly and significantly changed their fortune? Say, that 15 people came to Mammoth shows and 1000s came to Van Halen shows within weeks after the name change?
    I don't think I implied that at all. I only suggested that over the long haul, VH obviously became the more successful band. If anything, the 1973 name change might have hurt VH at first since some people in LA who didn't live in Pasadena but knew Mammoth probably didn't connect the name Van Halen to the new band right away.

    In this passage are you implying a legal or physical threat? It is unclear.
    A couple people who I interviewed recalled that a letter was sent to the band telling them they needed to change the name or face legal action, but I don't know if that actually happened. My gut tells me that there was some kind of threat of legal action.

    You also say on your Facebook page:"Cutting room floor" footage in film is footage that does not appear in the final distributed film. Stuff that did not make the final-cut, but was cut out and dropped to the editing room floor. Are these blog posts cutting room floor bits that are not in the book or are they "excerpts"? Excerpts are passages that are included in the final printed and distributed book. Excerpts are samples. Coming attractions. Teasers.
    These are not samples of the forthcoming book. These are things that i had to edit out of the book because of space or to keep the narrative flow of the book intact. I had to cut tens of thousands of words from the manuscript, and I couldn't include all of the images I wanted to include. This Mammoth ad is a perfect example of that.
    Last edited by ffoner; 04.18.15 at 07:48 AM.
    Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal
    ORDER VHR here: http://goo.gl/CBKzZs
    Facebook: facebook.com/VanHalenRising
    Twitter: twitter.com/GregRenoff
    Blog: http://vanhalenrising.com/vip.php

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  14. #9
    Atomic Punk RRvh1's Avatar
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    Here's a question for ya , Greg ...

    The picture you posted says that the other Mammoth was "the Valley's most popular act" . With all the early local gigging that young Eddie & Alex did , is it possible that they hadn't even heard of them ?

    Or do you think they went with the name anyway , just to see who would take off first ? Before the not-so-subtle hint to change their name of course !
    "There's too many people on this basketball that's floating around the sun, who are too afraid to allow themselves to FEEL" - Edward Van Halen
    "Van Halen was never about the singer..." - a very wise fan.
    "Embrace the past. Live in the moment but keep your eyes on the future, and keep on moving forward..." - Richie Sambora

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  16. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by RRvh1 View Post
    Here's a question for ya , Greg ...

    The picture you posted says that the other Mammoth was "the Valley's most popular act" . With all the early local gigging that young Eddie & Alex did , is it possible that they hadn't even heard of them ?

    Or do you think they went with the name anyway , just to see who would take off first ? Before the not-so-subtle hint to change their name of course !
    I do think that when they changed from Genesis to Mammoth, they didn't know there was another band in LA called Mammoth. I assume that after they discovered there was a band named Genesis, the last thing the brothers wanted to do was deal with another band with the same name.
    Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal
    ORDER VHR here: http://goo.gl/CBKzZs
    Facebook: facebook.com/VanHalenRising
    Twitter: twitter.com/GregRenoff
    Blog: http://vanhalenrising.com/vip.php

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    Banned! ExpandedConsciousness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ffoner View Post
    They then passed the word to Ed, Al, and co. that it would be in their best interest to change their band’s name.

    Immediately.

    That’s when Van Halen became Van Halen.


    More at http://vanhalenrising.com/vip.php
    Quote Originally Posted by ffoner View Post
    I do think that when they changed from Genesis to Mammoth, they didn't know there was another band in LA called Mammoth. I assume that after they discovered there was a band named Genesis, the last thing the brothers wanted to do was deal with another band with the same name.
    Greg, I'm wonder why you keep emphasizing "the brothers." Presenting the band as Eddie and Alex's, as if they were in charge and of one mind. For me, this narrative slant conflicts with the traditional Van Halen narrative that always stressed Dave's influence and power in Van Halen, as well as the constant disagreements between Ed and Al. The brothers' fights are legionary and at times even escalated to physical brawls. I remember Dave commenting on them and a particular Alex quote in which he said that if you leave him and Ed in alone in a room together they will always get into a fight over something. Perhaps what is assumed to be the current power dynamics in Van Halen is being grafted on the historical past?

    Last edited by ExpandedConsciousness; 04.19.15 at 12:15 AM.

  18. #12
    Baluchitherium
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    Quote Originally Posted by ffoner View Post
    Obviously, the purpose of the post wasn't to inform fans about the name change.

    We've all read the band interviews that talk about the name change and the fact that there was another band with the name. But what did we know about this other band?

    So the post was about documenting that the "other" Mammoth was a pro band working and gigging around LA, and thus would have the leverage to tell Ed, Al, and DLR to change the name.

    I thought this ad for the 'other' Mammoth was a cool footnote in VH history. Best to my knowledge, no one has ever unearthed anything similar.

    Ahhh....my bad. Don't mind me.

  19. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExpandedConsciousness View Post
    Greg, I'm wonder why you keep emphasizing "the brothers." Presenting the band as Eddie and Alex's, as if they were in charge and of one mind. For me, this narrative slant conflicts with the traditional Van Halen narrative that always stressed Dave's influence and power in Van Halen, as well as the constant disagreements between Ed and Al. The brothers' fights are legionary and at times even escalated to physical brawls. I remember Dave commenting on them and a particular Alex quote in which he said that if you leave him and Ed in alone in a room together they will always get into a fight over something. Perhaps what is assumed to be the current power dynamics in Van Halen is being grafted on the historical past?

    As I emphasize in the book, when DLR joined in 1973 he was joining Ed and Al's band. He had to fit in and be a team player to make things work in the beginning. Over time, the power dynamics shifted and DLR began to put his stamp on things in terms of the band's repertoire and image.

    That said, Ed and Al did fight. A lot.

    Even later, of course, we can see that DLR never fully got his way. If he had his way in 1980, Helmut Newton's photos would have been on the cover on WACF. The brothers pushed back, and he didn't get what he wanted.

    https://medium.com/cuepoint/the-priv...en-ac6fa2cda7b
    Last edited by ffoner; 04.19.15 at 08:07 AM.
    Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal
    ORDER VHR here: http://goo.gl/CBKzZs
    Facebook: facebook.com/VanHalenRising
    Twitter: twitter.com/GregRenoff
    Blog: http://vanhalenrising.com/vip.php

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