“I was aware that I’d become the biggest enemy of every 40- to 50-year-old man out there”: Wolfgang Van Halen recalls joining Van Halen at 16

WVH joined the band as a teen, taking the place of Michael Anthony on bass.

Wolfgang Van Halen in 2007

Image: Wolfgang Van Halen in 2007. John Atashian / Getty Images

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Wolfgang Van Halen has recalled the “pressure” of joining Van Halen to support his father when he was just 16, as the band reunited in 2007.

As he filled in for former bassist Michael Anthony, Wolfie was aware that some fans were not happy about him taking over his position in a time he compares to “being fired out of the cannon” in a new interview.

Speaking with Classic Rock for its latest print edition, WVH remembers how he felt at 16 when it came to hitting the stage amid a rift between Anthony and his father Eddie following the bassist’s departure.

“I was there to support my dad, but I was aware that I’d become the biggest enemy of every 40- to 50-year-old man out there in the world,” he says. “It was something I didn’t know how to handle. That did a lot of damage to me.”

He adds, “It was a lot of pressure, but we had rehearsed constantly, to the point where those songs were in my bones. And luckily nobody was staring at me – they were staring at Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth on the stage together – so I got to lay back and do my part.”

Despite the friction he felt at the beginning, he also added that his relationship with Anthony today is all very healthy: “Mike and I are very cordial,” he shares. “He’s a wonderful fucking guy. We talk and it’s great.”

Van Halen won’t be reuniting again anytime soon again though, if ever. Both Wolfgang and Sammy Hagar have recently shut down rumours of any sort of tribute show happening. “Unfortunately, with the way Van Halen operates and has operated, I don’t think it’s possible,” Wolfgang said in a recent interview.

Wolfgang is set to release a new album, Mammoth II, with his band Mammoth WVH this August. The guitarist is also featured on the soundtrack for the new Barbie movie, along with Slash.

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