Why Wolfgang Van Halen isn’t Playing Van Halen Songs

Wolfgang Van Halen

Wolfgang Van Halen was born on March 16th 1991 to Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli. Being born into a musical family with a famous father, it was only natural to follow in his father and uncle’s footsteps. However, according to xyz.ng, he didn’t know his father was famous until he saw several of Van Halen’s CDs with his father’s face on the cover. Throughout his career, he has always felt a need to separate himself from his father’s fame. Although he started with his father’s band he has enjoyed a successful solo career.

Early Music

Before he was famous in his own right, his father started his fame. He collaborated with Peavey on a line of guitars named after him. In 2008, the Fender EVH Wolfgang was released. As a child, he watched his father rehearse and tried a few times to play his uncle’s drums. On his tenth birthday, Eddie Van Halen gave him a drum set of his own. Later in life, he started to play guitar and even learned piano by listening to songs and creating his music. Gradually, he started playing with Van Halen, going on tour with them briefly in 2004. In 2006, he replaced Micael Anthony as bassist for the group. The following year he participated in the entire tour. The first Van Halen album he played on was in Asylum, released in August of 2010. He didn’t stay with Van Halen long; instead, he became the bassist for Tremonti in 2012.

Breaking Away

Mark Tremonti revealed Wolfgang Van Halen would be touring with Tremonti on September 10, 2012, replacing bassist Brian Marshall. A year later, he was officially part of the band. He plays bass on two of their albums; Cauterize and Dust. In a 2020 interview with Rolling Stone, Wolfgang Van Halen talked about his solo career. He praised the positivity he received from fans and felt like they still thought of him as an extension of his fathers. He released his first solo single, Distance, under the band name Mammoth WVH. Wolfgang Van Halen plays each instrument on the song as well as singing vocals. Throughout the interview, he discussed various aspects of his career, including his time with his father’s band. He mentioned he felt Van Halen fans always saw him as a kid because he followed in his father’s footsteps for a time. However, when he released his solo albums, he wanted to do every piece of the album himself, to challenge himself. In the end, he was elated because it was a success. His first solo tour was with another rock legend, Foo Fighters.

Solo Career

The interview was shortly after his father’s death, so there was still a lot of emotion. His group name, Mammoth, was a part of his early family history. Mammoth was the original name of Van Halen, a three-piece band with bass player Mark Stone. From a young age, Wolfgang Van Halen promised himself, if he ever had a band, he would call it Mammoth to pay tribute to his dad. He was unsure how he would feel about it when he decided to proceed with a solo career. His fears were quickly relieved; Eddie Van Halen thought it was a great idea. Wolfgang started writing his songs after the 2012 Van Halen tour. Much like the piano, he taught himself to use recording demos and made early demos, some of which became part of his first album. As with many other parts of his solo career, he wanted to see if he could do it independently.

Setting himself apart

According to Guitar World, although Wolfgang Van Halen plays his dad’s guitar on his solo album, that’s where the similarities stop. His songwriting style is entirely different from the style of his father’s band. In the interview, he commented on using the iconic guitar, “You feel the history. It’s terrifying holding it, just because arguably it is the most famous guitar in musical history. It’s definitely quite the thing to hold it.” Perhaps that history is what helped him create such a successful album on his own. Although the last name Van Halen has undoubtedly helped him in his musical career, he doesn’t like to capitalize on it. Most likely, it’s the reason he chose WVH Mammoth instead of using his full name. Additionally, as his solo career progresses, fans will either like his music or won’t and not judge it by his family’s legacy.

Nothing from the catalog

Wolfgang Van Halen revealed one thing that may disappoint fans. He will not play any of his father’s songs despite many fans being disappointed. He wants to sink or swim with his material. His need to pull away from his father’s legacy is one of the most important things to him. Since Eddie Van Halen’s passing, he feels fans have wanted him to carry on the band in his father’s name. However, he wants to remain focused on a solo career and his style. Eddie Van Halen did help him with the project, yet most of his ideas never made it to the final recording. Although he has played with Van Halen and is a successful musician in his own right, he feels playing the group’s music on his own may end up being a “complete mockery” of his late father’s career. Although he has been asked numerous times to cover these songs, his response is always the same, and he won’t cover them unless he completely reinvents the style. Additionally, he cautions fans that this is not a promise to do a cover album. Another rumor that he adamantly denies is that Van Halen will do a reunion tour with him as the bassist. Moreover, he wants the direction of his career to be dictated by his success and not his father’s fame.

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