Wolfgang Van Halen says these emo legends are the most underrated band of all time

“I think they’re viewed as a one-hit wonder… But there’s so much more than that.”

Wolfgang Van Halen raising his hands on stage

Image: Michael Buckner/Billboard via Getty Images

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In a new interview, Wolfgang Van Halen reflects on his musical upbringing, and the bands and soundtracks that have shaped his career as a musician.

Speaking to Classic Rock, the Mammoth WVH vocalist/ guitarist reveals that he got his first music lesson from the great Eddie Van Halen at the age of nine.

“The first song I ever learned how to play on the drums was Highway To Hell,” Wolfgang recalls. “That’s how my dad taught me to play drums. He put magazines on a table and was like: ‘Here’s the hi-hat, here’s the snare.…’”

He adds that as much he considers his dad to be his “guitar hero” — “When we started playing together, we were bonding on a different level,” Wolfgang explains — he “never wanted to be him or be another version of him”.

“I wanted to try to play as well. I was also a big fan of Paul Gilbert growing up, which is funny because I know he’s a big fan of dad as well,” he says. “There’s also a guitarist named Aaron Marshall. He has a band called Intervals. I love his playing.”

During the chat, Wolfgang also names emo legends Jimmy Eat World as the “most underrated band ever”, saying “I think they’re viewed as a one-hit wonder, with The Middle. But there’s so much more than that.”

“They have such intricate, beautiful songwriting. Jim [Adkins] is a great singer. The whole band is so wonderfully capable.”

And speaking of songwriting, Wolfgang names Foo Fighters leading man Dave Grohl as “the songwriter” for him, noting how the latter “influences everything that I do in Mammoth”.

“Trent Reznor, too. Those two are very big for me in terms of songwriting and lyricism,” he adds.

Elsewhere, the musician also reveals his one-pick for greatest album of all time, a selection he apparently shares with his dad.

“AC/DC comes to mind. If I had to pick one album, it’s probably Powerage,” says Wolfgang. “That was my dad’s favourite. I remember seeing that album cover of Angus with the cables coming out of his sleeves and kind of being creeped out by it, but also really liking it.”

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