“I feel like I had to up it a little bit more, ’cause now people would expect that from me”: Wolfgang Van Halen says playing his dad’s solos at Taylor Hawkins tribute shows changed his own music

There’s a bigger emphasis on solos on the new Mammoth WVH album.

Wolfgang Van Halen

Image: Theo Wargo/Getty Images

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Wolfgang Van Halen has described how his own music changed after he played his dad’s solos for Taylor Hawkins‘ tribute shows.

In an interview with Rolling Stone, the Mammoth WVH frontman explains that after the tribute shows and the Van Halen solos he covered, he then “had to play like that on my [second] album”, with more solos than his debut.

“There were some moments like that on the first album,” he continues, “But I feel like I just had to up it a little bit more, ’cause now people would expect that from me. So I think it’s six out of 10 songs that have a solo on this album now, and that’s way more than the last album. I’m still a songwriter first, but I definitely threw some fun songs in there this time.”

The 32-year-old actually began work on Mammoth II, released last week [4 August], before debut album Mammoth WVH came out in June 2021. As he explained, “I recorded five or six demos, right when the world shut down in March and April of 2020”.

“And then I was immediately just creatively bankrupt. I just had no creative juices at all and no desire to really do anything. It wasn’t until the top of 2022 that I ended up writing maybe six or seven other ideas and then compiled those 15 or 16 ideas that I dogeared for Mammoth II. So I was ready to go by the time we got into the studio in September.”

But it’s not the only thing he’s been busy with of late. Alongside the new album, Wolfgang also played a hell of a lot of guitar in the recently-released Barbie movie, after he made friends with executive soundtrack producer Mark Ronson at the Wembley Hawkins tribute.


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