Sammy Hagar Wants to ‘Do Some Shows’ With Wolfgang Van Halen

Sammy Hagar said he was in “full support” of how Wolfgang Van Halen was dealing with being in the spotlight after his dad Eddie Van Halen’s death.

The former Van Halen singer also hailed Wolfgang for making music that didn’t sound like his dad’s and looked forward to the possibility of inviting the 29-year-old to guest with his band the Circle.

In the weeks following Eddie’s death, Wolfgang went public in defending the band and his family from speculation and rumors. He also released the first material from his upcoming solo debut, including the song “Distance,” a touching tribute to his relationship with his dad.

“I’ve been thinking about this a lot,” Hagar told Eddie Trunk on SiriusXM. “When he was first putting little snippets on his Instagram and stuff I was following him. And there were people getting in his shit about not sounding like Van Halen. And it kills me – I think he’s handling it so well. I can’t believe how grown up this kid is for his first time out there, to be on view and to be on [Howard] Stern[‘s show]. … I mean, he’s jumped right into the big time.”

He argued that Wolfgang’s recent activities were on a different level from stepping up to tour with Van Halen in 2007. “That ain’t jumping into the big time like being you … being Wolfie Van Halen now,” he said. “And I think he’s handling it really well. And for those people out there that want him to sound like his dad and follow his dad’s footsteps … What if Eddie would have followed his dad’s footsteps? He would have been a jazz player with a clarinet. So you don’t follow your father’s footsteps. I’m a firm believer in you don’t do that. And Wolfie shouldn’t do that.”

Hagar went on to describe Van Halen as “a talented little guy” who “plays every instrument great,” and who’s made the most of being in the company of Eddie and Alex Van Halen, Steve Lukather and other greats who hung out in Eddie’s 5150 Studios. ”I love him for it,” he explained. “I wish him the best. … I can’t wait till this COVID crap is over. I’d like Wolfie to do some shows with the Circle, or I’ll go see him anytime. I’m in full support, full support of Wolfie, man.”

Meanwhile, Wolfgang confirmed his solo band Mammoth WVH’s first live booking. They’re set to take the stage at the Aftershock Festival in Sacramento on Oct. 10 next year. Guitarist Frank Sidoris, bassist Ronnie Ficarro and drummer Garrett Whitlock will help the singer and guitarist recreate the material he recorded entirely by himself on his debut album, which is expected to arrive in early 2021.

Images & transcripts are copyright to their respected owners.

Wolfgang Van Halen’s ‘Distance’ Debuts Atop Billboard Chart

Congrats to Wolfgang Van Halen as “Distance” from his Mammoth WVH band has debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Hard Rock Songs chart dated Nov. 28.

The song, which served as a tribute to Wolfgang’s father Eddie Van Halen complete with an accompanying heartfelt video, arrived on the chart with 826,000 streams and 13,000 downloads for the week ending Nov. 19. The song also received 1.6 million airplay audience impressions in radio tracking, according to Billboard.

The Mammoth WVH track also followed his father’s band, Van Halen, on the same chart as “Jump” resurfaced following Eddie Van Halen’s death topping the list for three weeks in October.

The impressive start for the song also includes a No. 9 debut on the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart, while topping the Hard Rock Digital Song Sales and finishing second on the Rock Digital Song Sales charts.

Speaking with Billboard, Van Halen stated, “I am beyond humbled by the response to ‘Distance.’ I can’t believe that it’s appearing on all of these charts so soon after release. The fact that so many have embraced the song and video shows how much we have in common in the love and respect we have for my father. I just wish he was here to see it. Thank you so much to everyone who’s listening and also to my whole team who has worked so hard to make this a reality.”

The track also arrived at No. 20 on the Mainstream Rock Songs airplay chart and at No. 32 on the audience-based Rock Airplay chart. It also snagged the No. 25 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100 Bubbling Under chart.

Mammoth WVH’s debut album is expected to arrive in 2021, with the group just announcing their first show as part of the 2021 Aftershock lineup next fall.

Mammoth WVH, “Distance”

Best Hard Rock Songs of 2020 (So Far)

Images & transcripts are copyright to their respected owners.

Wolfgang Van Halen Sets First Mammoth WVH Show

Wolfgang Van Halen announced his first solo concert as Mammoth WVH: a performance at the 2021 Aftershock Festival.

The former Van Halen bassist will play the final night of the event, which is currently scheduled to run Oct. 7 through Oct. 10 in Sacramento.

Other acts scheduled for the fest include Metallica, Mastodon, Social Distortion, Limp Bizkit, the Offspring, My Chemical Romance, Rancid, Seether, Machine Gun Kelly, Rise Against and Pennywise.

General admission and VIP passes, both in single- and three-day configurations, are available to purchase at the Aftershock site. Wolfgang Van Halen tweeted the news, writing, “See you at @AFTERSHOCKSAC with @MammothWVH in 2021!”

The musician recently debuted his first solo single, “Distance,” which honored his late father, Eddie Van Halen. The Mammoth WVH name is a nod to his dad’s pre-Van Halen band Mammoth.

Wolfgang — who will release his debut LP in 2021 — spoke to UCR about his musical evolution, noting that he was largely self-taught, though his dad offered “little lessons here and there.”

“He never really tried to push me into any direction,” he said. “I think the only thing he really introduced to me was AC/DC – the album Powerage was a big bond for us. ‘Down Payment Blues,’ that was my dad’s and my favorite song. But from there I kind of developed my own taste. I was really into Blink-182. I played Enema of the State nonstop – that’s how I learned the drums. It wasn’t until maybe I discovered Tool that I started to see an improvement in my skills by trying to play like Danny Carey.”

Images & transcripts are copyright to their respected owners.

Wolfgang Van Halen’s Band Name Inspired By Early Van Halen Years

Wolfgang Van Halen revealed the name of his band Mammoth WVH when he released his debut song “Distance” earlier this month. The moniker was actually inspired by Van Halen‘s early years, when the band was called Mammoth.

As explained in Greg Renoff’s Van Halen Rising, Eddie and Alex Van Halen had several different titles for the band they played in with bassist Mark Stone in the early ’70s. By the time David Lee Roth joined them on vocals in 1974 — EVH had been singing and playing the guitar until that point — they had changed their name from Genesis to Mammoth.

Wolfgang Van Halen recently explained how he went about asking his father to use the name Mammoth for his band in an interview with Elliot in the Morning.

“Yeah, I was a little nervous to ask him, but I wanted his permission,” he said. “Not that I needed it, but I wanted it. And I kind of asked him. I was, like, ‘Hey, pop, is that cool if I use Mammoth?’ He was, like, ‘Absolutely. That’s awesome.’ He was super stoked about it.”

He added that his father questioned why he was worried about asking in the first place. Listen to the full interview below.

Though WVH performed all of the instrumentation and sang on “Distance,” when he is able to hit the stage, Slash guitarist Frank SidorisTremonti drummer Garrett Whitlock and bassist Ronnie Ficarro will be playing beside him.

57 Rock + Metal Bands Who Changed Their Name Before Getting Famous

Images & transcripts are copyright to their respected owners.

Wolfgang Van Halen Explains His Father’s Famous Tool Show Photo

Wolfgang Van Halen has given us more details about one of our favorite stories from last year: When someone asked his father Eddie to take his picture at a Tool concert, without recognizing the guitar hero.

As Wolfgang said on Eddie Trunk’s radio show, he and Eddie were waiting to go backstage after the show when the man approached the Van Halen guitarist. “He handed him his phone and was like, ‘Here, I’m gonna go over here, and can you get the picture with the stage?'”Wolfgang began.

The bassist immediately leapt into action and took his own photo of the scene unfolding in front of him. He posted the photo to Twitter where it quickly went viral, but he added that the reaction to it wasn’t what he intended.

“I think a lot of people misunderstood my tweet to a certain extent,” Wolfgang continued. “It wasn’t like, ‘How dare you not recognize Eddie Van Halen?’ because Dad just looked like a dad. People’s imagination of Eddie Van Halen is, like, long flowing hair and the Frankenstein [guitar].”

In fact, before his father’s death, Wolfgang spent numerous trips out and about with him, entirely unnoticed by fans. “Like for my birthday one time we went to Six Flags and nobody recognized us there,” he said. “Just a fun day at the roller coasters.”

Comical as the situation was, the real highlight of the evening for Wolfgang had been getting to enjoy music he loved with the father who raised him on rock and roll.

“It was really fun to bring Dad to that so he could really see the music I really, really like,” he said. “It resonated with him too, in a way. … The first thing he said was like, ‘Fuck, that bass player, man. That was the shit.’ And it’s like, yeah, Justin Chancellor is my favorite bass player of all time!”

Turning each other on to new music was a rare occurrence for the father-son duo, but there was always one musician Eddie couldn’t help but cheer on.

“He was really picky with new music,” said Wolfgang. “The only new music he was really stoked about — I’m probably going to sound like an asshole for saying this — was my music. He would just listen to it and cry, out of being so proud and happy with it.”

Eddie Van Halen Year by Year: 1977-2017 Photos

Images & transcripts are copyright to their respected owners.

Wolfgang Van Halen Didn’t Take Michael Anthony Backlash Personal

In 2006, Eddie Van Halen confirmed that Van Halen would continue with his son, Wolfgang Van Halen, taking over on bass. With the Van Halen fanbase being a passionate one, the move certainly raised a few eyebrows for those who loved the group’s longtime bassist Michael Anthony, but in a new interview with Forbes Wolfgang Van Halen says he didn’t take the backlash from Anthony fans personally.

After speaking of the kind and positive things that Van Halen fans have had to say about his new song “Distance” online, the conversation turned to how the Internet chatter hasn’t always been so kind. Referring to his arrival in the group, Wolfgang stated, “I don’t think it was a personal thing. I think it was their love for Michael Anthony, it had nothing to do with me as a person. It’s just that they would have much rather seen him without realizing the back story of how [the reunion] probably wouldn’t have happened without me because dad felt incredibly uninspired and, especially when he was sober, he had a monumental anxiety issue and having me there made him more comfortable and creative.”

The musician added, “Now that people are starting to learn the truth behind everything so many people understand and actually apologized directly to me on Twitter, like, ‘Hey, man, I hated you before, but I realize that I actually never really knew you. I just hated you for a reason outside of your control and I just wanted to apologize. I feel terrible.'”

Van Halen says, “That’s a really big thing for people to do, especially on the Internet. So I’ve been really touched by how kind people have been that may have been rude to me in the past. It all rolled off my back anyways. But it takes a big person to admit when they’re wrong. And these people are certainly doing that in droves and I can’t believe it.”

When the topic of Wolfgang’s role in the reunion tour happening continued, he shared, “It was incredibly important to [Eddie] and I don’t think people really took his words to heart, I don’t think they really believed it. They wanted to look to the negative. In this day and age it’s always about the cynical reaction and everything, so the true meaning behind what he was saying never really resonated.”

Van Halen’s debut single, “Distance,” has received largely positive reviews, with the track soaring all the way to No. 1 on the Apple Music song chart the same day it was released. Under the moniker Mammoth WVH, Van Halen is working toward his solo debut album.

Images & transcripts are copyright to their respected owners.

Wolfgang Van Halen Reveals Only Way He’d Cover Van Halen Songs

A common way to pay respect to a musician who died is to cover one of their songs — but it needs to be done tastefully. In Wolfgang Van Halen‘s situation, playing a Van Halen song would be even more touchy following the death of his father, but he did explain how he would go about it if he were to do one.

Van Halen appeared on a new episode of SiriusXM’s “Trunk Nation” with Eddie Trunk following the release of his band Mammoth WVH’s debut song “Distance,” which served as a tribute to the late Eddie Van Halen.

When live shows are able to happen again and Van Halen is ready to share his new Mammoth WVH songs from the stage, Slash guitarist Frank Sidoris, Tremonti drummer Garrett Whitlock and bassist Ronnie Ficarro will be joining him.

“The second we started playing in 2018, we just immediately jelled. Even dad was, like, ‘Fuck yeah! You guys got this,'” Van Halen enthused [via Blabbermouth].

“I mean, I’d never do tracks or anything. I think that’s lame as shit,” he said of how they will tackle the songs live. “So I think at some point, it might be important to get a fifth guy, like an auxiliary dude, who could do the other guitar and the background vocals.”

As for covering Van Halen songs?

“Absolutely not,” he declared. “If I do, I’d want it to be, like, really fucking different. I wouldn’t wanna just sit there and play ‘Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.’ I’d wanna do a cool acoustic cover of ‘Little Guitars’ or some shit — something different. I refuse to tread the same ground as my dad. I need to forge my own path.”

Van Halen had played as the bassist in the band alongside his dad and uncle, drummer Alex Van Halen, since their reunion tour in 2007.

15 Artists Who Hated Their Own Hit Songs

Images & transcripts are copyright to their respected owners.

Why Wolfgang Van Halen Won’t Play Van Halen Songs Live

Wolfgang Van Halen explained why he had no plans to perform Van Halen songs live at any point in the future and said he wanted to avoid making a “complete mockery” of his dad Eddie’s legacy.

Wolfgang previously shot down rumors of a band reunion in the aftermath of the legendary guitarist’s death last month. He began revealing details of his solo band Mammoth WVH this week, noting that his debut album will be out early next year.

Asked on Eddie Trunk’s SiriusXM radio show if he planned to play Van Halen songs as part of their live set, Wolfgang replied: “Absolutely not. If I do, I’d want it to be, like, really fucking different. I wouldn’t wanna just sit there and play ‘Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.’ I’d wanna do a cool acoustic cover of ‘Little Guitars’ or some shit – something different. I refuse to tread the same ground as my dad. I need to forge my own path.”

He added: “Van Halen fans, please don’t take that and run with it. I’m not gonna put out a Van Halen cover album or anything. If I do happen to, it would be under that context. It would be different.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Van Halen was asked about his plans for playing his own songs live and mentioned that he may add a fifth member to the lineup because he felt using backing tracks would be “lame as shit.” That led to a question from a Twitter follower, who asked if his comment meant he’d never consider taking part in a Van Halen reunion with Eddie’s leads played back as part of the show.

“Playing to Dad’s isolated tracks would be dumb and a complete mockery of his legacy,” he replied. “I don’t want to play to his tracks. … I want to play with him.”

In his recent UCR interview, Wolfgang said Eddie never offered him songwriting advice. “I didn’t really start writing on my own until after [Van Halen’s] Different Kind of Truth tour,” he explained. “No, he let me fly, he wanted to see what I can do rather than try to paint the journey.”

He added that his proudest moment on the last Van Halen studio album was the song “Stay Frosty.” “Dave [Lee Roth] brought the idea in,” he recalled. “It was just an acoustic thing, and I arranged it, came in and made it almost like ‘Ice Cream Man 2.’ I’m really proud of my performance on that song. … I think ‘As Is’ is a really cool song. I’m really proud of that one [too].”

Images & transcripts are copyright to their respected owners.

The Day Wolfgang Van Halen Learned His Dad Was Famous: Interview

Wolfgang Van Halen says he was “six or seven” years old the day he learned his father Eddie was a famous rock guitarist. “They were doing all the CD remasters” for the six David Lee Roth-era Van Halen albums, he tells UCR.

“I found a box of all of them, and I saw my name on it and a picture of my dad. I said, ‘Dad, what’s this?’ and he said, ‘Oh, yeah, uh … this is what I do.’ And he kind of introduced me to everything.”

Wolfgang quickly followed in his father’s footsteps, getting a drum kit after an unconventional lesson from Eddie; a song from the band’s 1991 album For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge inspired him to pick up his dad’s instrument.

“When I was 12 and graduating sixth grade, I wanted to perform ‘316,’ the song my dad wrote for me at my graduation,” he recalls. “So, I just learned that song, and from there I took a shine to guitar and tried to learn everything I could.” Within a few years he moved on to the bass.

Listen to Van Halen’s ‘316’

Wolfgang released his debut single, “Distance,” earlier this week. The song was released under the band name Mammoth WVH and pays tribute to his dad, who died last month.

Although Eddie Van Halen provided “little lessons here and there,” Wolfgang was almost completely self-taught. “He never really tried to push me into any direction,” he says. “I think the only thing he really introduced to me was AC/DC, the album Powerage was a big bond for us. ‘Down Payment Blues,’ that was my dad’s and my favorite song. But from there I kind of developed my own taste. I was really into Blink-182. I played Enema of the State nonstop – that’s how I learned the drums. It wasn’t until maybe I discovered Tool that I started to see an improvement in my skills by trying to play like Danny Carey.”

Wolfgang eventually learned Van Halen’s catalog well enough to join the band as its bass player in 2007. He was also entrusted with picking the set lists for shows. He maintains a particular affinity for an unexpected album: “I was only alive for [1995’s] Balance and For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge growing up as a kid. So, I still have a really close connection with Balance. It’s still one of my favorite [Sammy] Hagar albums.”

He also backs up his dad’s repeated claims that Peter Gabriel‘s 1986 smash So was the last album the guitarist ever purchased, noting that “not too much” outside music was ever played in the house. “The only thing where my dad ever was like, ‘Wolf, you gotta check this out,'” he recalls. “He put a pair of headphones on and played me ‘Red Rain.’ He loved So so much, and so do I – it’s one of my favorite albums of all time. That’s his favorite album, and he transferred that to me.”

Still, Wolfgang’s tastes branched out from his dad’s favorite bands like Cream. His desert-island records include Karnivool’s Sound Awake, Tool’s Aenima, Porcupine Tree’s Deadwing and “maybe something classic like Abbey Road, another one I can listen to all the way through and never get tired of.”

He doesn’t remember getting into any disagreements with Eddie over music growing up. “I was really into System of a Down in middle school, but I don’t think he ever knew the band name,” Wolfgang says. “He would always call them “La la la la la la la la la,’ because of the song ‘B.Y.O.B.‘ He thought that was really funny.”

Images & transcripts are copyright to their respected owners.

Wolfgang Lovingly Admits His Dad Wasn’t a Good Guitar Teacher

Learning how to play guitar from one of the most revolutionary players in the history of the instrument seems like a dream, right? The reality for Wolfgang Van Halen though, was that his dad, Eddie Van Halen, was nowhere near as good of a guitar teacher as he was a guitar player.

On Monday (Nov. 16), Wolfgang was invited to appear on The Howard Stern Show to discuss his debut solo single, “Distance,” as well as the loss of his father, who died on Oct. 6 earlier this year. During the chat, Stern noted, “One of the things I read was that he was the worst guitar teacher,” recollecting a young Wolfgang who had the ambition to learn guitar. “Within two seconds, he’s playing like Eddie Van Halen,” Stern remarked of Eddie’s inability to start at the ground level when offering beginner guitar instruction.

“I’ll ask him how to play something, and then he just proceeds to be Eddie Van Halen, and that’s a very tough bar to reach as a beginner,” exclaimed Wolfgang, who then warmly joked. “So it’s like, ‘Oh, okay.’ [laughs] … He’s like, ‘Well, do this,’ and it’s like, ‘Fuck you! [laughs] I can’t do that! You’re Eddie Van Halen – how the Hell do I do that?'”

Despite this, Wolfgang was raised as a multi-instrumentalist, who is adept at drums, guitar, bass and keyboard/piano and, elsewhere in the interview, Wolfgang showed off the very first guitar that was gifted to him by his father.

“This is the first guitar of my dad’s that he gave me. A lot of Van Halen fans will know that in the ‘Panama’ video he has two Kramer guitars — one that has ‘1984’ written at the bottom and one has ‘5150’ [written on the bottom]. This was the backup to the ‘5150’ — the ‘5150’ model is the one he plays in the ‘Panama’ video and I think he plays it in [the concert film recorded in 1986 and released in 1987] Live Without A Net.”

Wolfgang then relayed the guitar was given to him at Christmas at a very young age.

The video for “Distance,” which was released earlier this week, came with an emotional video tribute to Eddie as clips of home video recordings progressed through Wolfgang and his father’s relationship together through the years. The tribute is capped off with a voicemail recording Eddie left Wolfgang, stating how proud he was of his son and to call him soon because he misses his voice.

Within one day, “Distance” ascended to No. 1 on the Apple Music Charts, above new releases by mainstream mega-stars Billie Eilish and Chris Stapleton.

Wolfgang Van Halen on Howard Stern

See Eddie Van Halen in The Top 66 Hard Rock + Metal Guitarists of All Time

Images & transcripts are copyright to their respected owners.

Wolfgang Van Halen Was Ready for Michael Anthony’s Return

Wolfgang Van Halen said he’d been ready for Michael Anthony’s return to Van Halen, even though it would have meant giving up his position in the band.

Bassist Anthony was fired in 2006 and replaced by Eddie’s son, who was 15 at the time. Despite rumors of bad blood as a result of the lineup change, Anthony was all set to take part in a reunion – until it was canceled amid the health issues that finally ended Eddie’s life last month.

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Wolfgang was asked if he’s ever had a “personal conversation” with Anthony about taking his place.

“Never had too much of an opportunity,” he said. “That’s kind of what that whole tour was supposed to be. And then it never panned out. I was really looking forward to speaking with him, and that hasn’t happened yet. I’m looking forward to the opportunity that I have in the future to speak to him.”

Asked if there were maybe “hard feelings” about the lineup change, Wolfgang said: “I don’t think there are. I’ve seen things he’s said. He’s always been an amazing guy.”

Van Halen agreed with the assessment that he was ready to “sort of retire” to make way for Anthony, “other than maybe jumping onstage for a song or two.” “Dad would be like, ‘You got to be onstage at least a couple of times,'” Wolfgang said. “He kept trying to pull me back in. Not that I didn’t want to be there. Playing with my father was the best thing I ever did. It was my favorite thing to do.”

Elsewhere in the interview, he was asked about his relationship with singer David Lee Roth. “We’re cordial,” he explained. “But it was very business-related. You know, we were always cool, but we really only ever saw each other onstage.”

Images & transcripts are copyright to their respected owners.

When Eddie Van Halen Realized Wolfgang Would Be a Musician

Wolfgang Van Halen recalled his dad Eddie Van Halen’s joy when he realized his young son was also going to be a musician.

Multi-instrumentalist Wolfgang just released his debut single, “Distance,” as a tribute to Eddie, who died last month at 65. His debut album, which Eddie spoke highly about, has been ready for release for some time.

In an interview with Howard Stern on SiriusXM, Wolfgang was asked if Eddie was “the worst guitar teacher.” He agreed, noting, “I’ll ask him how to play something, and then he just proceeds to be Eddie Van Halen, and that’s a very tough bar to reach as a beginner, so it’s like, ‘Oh, okay.’ … He’s like, ‘Well, do this,’ and I’m like, ‘Fuck you. I can’t do that. You’re Eddie Van Halen – how the hell do I do that?'”

Stern pointed out that “guys who are musical geniuses can’t even remember what it was like to be a beginner,” and as a result they were the ”worst teachers.” “Yeah,” Wolfgang replied, “and Dad is certainly one of them.”

However, he did recall an early drum lesson that went well. “He would show me AC/DC a lot,” Wolfgang remembered. “And he was teaching me how to play the drum beat to ‘Highway to Hell.’ And he was like, ‘If you can do this, and put your foot in the middle of the snare hit.’ And I did it , and he was like, ‘Yes! He can do it!’ And he bought me a drum kit that year. That was the first thing I learned at 10 years old.”

Asked if Eddie was “jealous” of his son’s talent, Wolfgang said, “No, he couldn’t wait, he couldn’t wait … the second he saw me tap my foot to music, he was just like, ‘Fuck, yeah – he’s gonna be a musician!’”

Images & transcripts are copyright to their respected owners.