Wolfgang Van Halen has opened up about his relationship with his father, legendary VAN HALEN guitarist Eddie Van Halen. The 29-year-old spoke about his dad while promoting "Distance", the first single from his solo band MAMMOTH WVH. Wolfgang wrote the song while Eddie battled cancer.
"Distance" is an open letter to Wolfgang's father — one he was fortunate to play for his dad and would become a favorite of Eddie's — declaring "no matter what the distance is, I will be with you." The video for the song is created from a collection of family home movies through the years and offers an inside look in to one of music's most notable personalities. Chronicling the family through the years, the video ends with a touching voicemail left from Eddie to his son.
Asked in a new interview with the 104.5 WJJK radio station what the one thing is that the public doesn't know about his father, Wolfgang said (see video below): "I think the whole point of the video is important to show that while everybody knows him as this guitar god, he was just as good of a father. I don't think people really maybe even ever thought of that. I especially think most people in his position, I think if you look at a lot of other musician fathers, some can be really bad — almost absentee fathers. And he was anything but. Even through his own struggles in his personal life, he was always there for me, as I was there for him. So we were best friends."
Pressed to name his favorite memory of his father, Wolfgang said: "Going through all the videos and digitizing footage, I hope I can find this one [video]. We were getting the floors redone in the house, and we were drinking soda or something — we were all hopped up on sugar — and we were dancing around in our pajamas in front of a video camera. I really, really wanna find that tape so badly. I know it's somewhere. But that was always a really fun memory, 'cause we were just goofy. [Laughs] I wanna make that clear — I was, like, seven. It wasn't, like, recently. I just wanna make it clear. I was, like, seven in that video."
Wolfgang played every instrument and sang each and every note on the MAMMOTH WVH LP, which is tentatively due in early 2021 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records. The group's touring lineup will feature Wolfgang on guitar and lead vocals, Frank Sidoris (SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS) on guitar, Garrett Whitlock (TREMONTI) on drums, and Ronnie Ficarro on bass.
Last month, Wolfgang confirmed that he asked his father for permission to use the MAMMOTH WVH band name for his solo project. MAMMOTH WVH is a nod to family history — Eddie and Alex Van Halen's band was called MAMMOTH when singer David Lee Roth first joined it in 1974.
Wolfgang joined his father in VAN HALEN for the band's 2007 reunion tour with Roth, replacing Michael Anthony.
Eddie died on October 6 at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California. The iconic VAN HALEN axeman died from complications due to cancer, his son confirmed.
Photo credit: Travis Shinn