Wolfgang Van Halen on his detractors: “I’m just not milking off the legacy… I’m being myself

“I’m not sitting there doing covers of Panama and going, ‘If you want Van Halen, come to me!’”

Wolfgang Van Halen

Image: Mammoth WVH via YouTube

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Wolfgang Van Halen has spoken about the detractors who accuse him of unfairly exploiting the legacy of his father and Van Halen, saying that he is instead carving his own path.

In a new interview with Guitar World, Wolfgang was commenting on how he didn’t shy away from adding in ‘easter eggs’ for fans of Van Halen into his new solo record with Mammoth WVH. “They’re kind of winks and nods,” he said. “There’s nothing bigger behind it.”

He explained that the references, such as those found in a few guitar moments or the layout of the back of the album, stayed as “winks and nods” as he didn’t want to feed the idea he was exploiting the past efforts of Van Halen or his father. “I’m just not milking off the legacy,” he said. “I’m sure that’s up for debate for some people that hate me, but I’m being myself. I’m not sitting there doing covers of Panama and going, ‘If you want Van Halen, come to me!’ If you want Van Halen, go over there.”

Similarly, he added: “I never wanted to plaster the whole album with solos. It was only if it feels right for certain songs.”

The first single for Mammoth WVH’s self-titled debut album, Distance, was released shortly after the death of Eddie Van Halen. The lyrics to the song are an explicit tribute to Eddie from Wolfgang, who released it with proceeds going to the music education charity Mr Holland’s Opus. He explained that: “It certainly wasn’t the first song I was planning on releasing. It’s a bit to the left of the core sound of the album, but I think it fits still. It seemed the right thing to get that out there as a tribute for Pop and have it all go to his favourite charity.”

Upon the release of Distance, a handful of trolls accused Wolfgang of exploiting the then-recent death of his father. However, he explained to Guitar World that these comments left him unphased. “There was no ill intent behind [the song], that’s for sure. I know there are some people who are like, ‘he’s just using this,’ but I love my dad and I just wanted to show everybody.”

Mammoth WVH arrives this Friday (11 June) and can be preordered here.


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