Wolfgang Van Halen says Van Halen once scrapped a song because David Lee Roth refused to sing it
“We called it Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Panama as a joke, because it had a vibe of both of those songs put together,” but DLR wasn’t having any of it.
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In the latest issue of Classic Rock, Wolfgang speaks about his stint in his father Eddie Van Halen’s band, a period he describes as “a crash course in collaboration”.
Discussing some of the unreleased material from the band’s A Different Kind of Truth era — the only album Wolfgang released with the group, the Mammoth WVH frontman says, “I remember the way we knew how to work with Dave. [Alex], Dad and I were working on a song at the time [before A Different Kind Of Truth].”
“We’d come up with something in the moment when we were jamming and it was really cool – we called it Ain’t Talkin’ ’Bout Panama as a joke, because it had a vibe of both of those songs put together.”
Wolfgang continues: “We told the producer we were working with at the time, ‘When Dave comes to sing tonight, whatever you do, do not tell him that we wrote this. When we’re together tomorrow, we can come to him together and act, like, Hey listen to this…’
“But he didn’t listen to us. “He told Dave. ‘Hey, check this out…’ And Dave was, like, [abruptly] ‘No, not doing it’. We were, like, ‘If you’d listened to us, it could have been another cool song on the album.’”
“The relationship between Van Halen and their singers was always complicated,” he adds.
Elsewhere, Wolfgang has spoken about the “crazy” experience of opening for Metallica on their M72 world tour in a recent interview.
“Walking into the stadium [to play the first show in Amsterdam], it was just, like, ‘We’ve never done anything like this before.’ We were all just kind of shocked during even soundcheck,” he told host Matt Pinfield. “We were just, like, ‘This is really what we’re doing here?’”
“I kind of can’t believe that we’ll be opening for them for the whole tour. I think we’re the only opener to be playing every building with them, which is really crazy.”