Speaking with Guitar World’s Chris Gill, Wolfgang Van Halen opened up about playing the Van Halen classics “On Fire”, “Hot For Teacher” and “Panama” at the recent tribute shows for Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.
Wolfgang has been adamant about not playing Van Halen songs at Mammoth WVH, giving people the mistken impression that he has no interest in celebrating his father’s legacy. The tribute shows proved thos people wrong.
Wolfgang: “I didn’t even know if I could do it. I had a lot of conversations with Dave (Grohl). What a kind sweetheart of a man he is. Initially he was, like, ‘What do you think? Would you be comfortable doing this?’ I thought a lot about it and I was like, ‘You know what? If there was ever a time, this is it.’
Knowing that Josh (Freese / drums) was gonna be there… it was, like, ‘Dude, you’ve gotta learn yourself something and realize that Josh Freese has literally played on fucking every single thing you’ve ever heard, ever.’ I was pretty sure Justin (Hawkins / vocals) could do it, but then once we got there and he hit it, it was like, ‘Fuck, this is gonna be amazing.’ It was really exciting. He is a sweetheart of a human; he’s such a kind man. It was really special. I’m super happy and proud with how everything came to be.”
Wolfgang Van Halen recently revealed in a new Instagram post that he has begun tracking the second Mammoth WVH album. The debut was issued in June 2021.
Wolfgang wrote in a post:
“On December 28th 2014, I was getting ready to start tracking what would become the first Mammoth album. I had been practicing drums in the studio when Pop came in, grabbed my bass and started jamming with me. It was so much fun. It’s little moments like these I feel I took for granted. Moments that I can’t have anymore.
“As I’m getting ready to start tracking the 2nd Mammoth album tomorrow (I’ve been in pre-production the past month) I can’t stop thinking about this moment and how he won’t be around for it this time. I’m still not used to it. I don’t know when or if I’ll ever get used to it.
“It’ll be 2 years in 3 days and I don’t feel any different. All of these emotions just kinda sitting in me at all times. Sometimes it’s easier to carry, other times (like right now) it isn’t. His pride is what keeps me going, but without him here it’s easy to get lost. Easy to get stuck in my head. Easy to fall into that familiar cycle of doubt and self-loathing.
“Somehow, I’ve figured out how to keep going. Music is all I have left when it comes to feeling close to him anymore. But knowing he won’t be here this time to laugh, jam and hang throughout the whole process is tough now that I’ve gotten here. All I can do is try my best and continue to be the son he was proud of.
“I just miss my dad.”