Wolfgang Van Halen: “Only three guitar players influenced the instrument: Les Paul, Hendrix and my father”

Wolfgang also discussed the contentious Grammys tribute to Eddie Van Halen in a new interview.

Wolfgang Van Halen

Image: Daniel Knighton / Getty

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Wolfgang Van Halen has discussed who he views as the three pillars of guitar innovation: Les Paul, Jimi Hendrix and his father, Eddie Van Halen.

Speaking in a new interview for Kaaos TV, Wolfgang answered questions about both the impact of his father on the guitar and the controversial tribute paid by the Grammy Awards ceremony, which many fans viewed as too brief.

When asked if he realised the scope of Eddie’s impact, Wolfgang replied: “Oh yeah, I think there are only three guitar players that influenced the instrument, and that would be Les Paul, Jimi Hendrix, and my father. I feel like you can’t really argue with the monumental effect that they each had on the instrument.”

With that in mind, Wolfgang said of the Grammy’s Tribute: “It was really different than what I thought it was gonna be but I think the only thing that really disappointed me was that he wasn’t mentioned by name, at least in the beginning. He should have at least been brought up.”

He also criticised producers for wanting him to perform Eruption at the ceremony, an offer he declined. “I’ve been spending my life trying to be my own musician,” he said. “Being asked to go up and be my dad is a bit of a tone-deaf ask in my opinion.”

Last month, Grammys executive producer Ben Winston addressed the controversy, explaining how the time pressure of a TV broadcast impacted the plan for the segment. “I would have loved for it to be longer than it was,” he said, “but Eddie was the only person in the whole “In Memoriam” to play their own music, with no other faces being seen.

“I felt that was an appropriate tribute to him, but if Wolfgang didn’t, I’m sorry about that, of course – it’s such a horrific thing to lose a parent. We did the best that we felt we could.”


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