Wolfgang Van Halen has released “Distance,” his first solo single and a tribute to his late father, Eddie Van Halen. The song by the Van Halen bassist has been released under the name Mammoth WVH; you can watch the new video below.
The clip ends with a voicemail message from Eddie to Wolfgang: “I’m just so happy to have you as my son and I’m so proud of you. I love you so much – call me if you get a chance. I wanna hear your voice, okay? I love you, bye.”
As Wolfgang recently said, the decision to release the track stemmed from Eddie’s death last month. “‘Distance’ is a song that was initially written for the debut album, but was going to be held for a later time,” he noted. “As my pop continued to struggle with various health issues, I was imagining what my life would be like without him and how terribly I’d miss him. While this song is incredibly personal, I think anyone can relate to the idea of having a profound loss in their own life.”
He added the he “never anticipated ‘Distance’ would be the first song of mine that people would hear, but I also thought my father would be here to celebrate its release along with me.”
Wolfgang Van Halen first revealed plans for a solo album in 2015, when he began posting photos from a studio on Instagram. Eddie then confirmed the news at a public interview in Los Angeles. Two months later, Eddie described his son’s music as “AC/DC meets Van Halen meets aggressive pop. The riffs are catchy. It’s a little of everything and sounds like a freight train coming at you. I’ve never heard anything quite like it. It’s so powerful that I’m jealous.”
In 2018, producer Michael “Elvis” Baskette revealed that the album was completed, but it wasn’t until this past February that Van Halen signed a record deal. A month later, the coronavirus pandemic lockdown postponed the record’s release.
“The state of the world has really thrown a wrench into how I saw this releasing, given that no touring is able to happen until this all blows over,” Van Halen said in July. “But I have a few ideas that I’m really excited about, so stay tuned!”