Those who’ve heard Wolfgang Van Halen‘s musical tribute to his late father, Van Halen bandleader Eddie Van Halen, understand the emotional weight of the song. Eddie did, too. He cried when he first heard the debut Mammoth WVH tune, “Distance,” shortly before he died.
That’s what Wolfgang revealed during a recent online interview with HardDrive Radio. Though the touching music video for “Distance,” released last November, served as a postmortem tribute to the Van Halen guitarist, Wolfgang composed the number itself before Eddie’s death.
Watch the interview down toward the bottom of this post. Wolfgang reveals that detail and more about Mammoth WVH’s “Distance” to host Lou Brutus at about 7 minutes into the chat.
The 29-year-old musician says his father “had struggled a lot, health-wise, over the years. It’d be up, and it’d be down, and it was a tough thing to deal with. [‘Distance’] was just kind of an expression of where I was in the moment, and imagining what … I would feel like without him in my life.”
Asked how the song impacted his friends and family, Wolfgang recalls initially showing “Distance” to his dad. It seems Eddie understood the tune’s depth, perhaps without even realizing it was about him.
“All the close people in my life had already heard it,” Wolfgang responds. “The idea on its own was in existence for a while; it just hadn’t been fully finished and then mixed. The last 10 percent of the work is what we had to do in order to get it out there and get it mastered and all that. But, yeah, it moved everyone I showed it to. I mean, I remember when I showed it to dad for the first time — maybe it was out of pride or also just the song in general — he cried when he heard it. And I don’t think he was aware of the significance of it for me, he just understood it as a song about loss.”
Adds the musician, “[My father’s] pride is what keeps me going to this day.” That’s regardless of any unfair knocks he might take, especially on social media. “It’s almost like I don’t care what anybody else says about me because my dad believed in me more than any other.”
Looking forward, Wolfgang is already planning the first public performances for Mammoth WVH, which he fronts on guitar and vocals. (He famously played bass with his father in Van Halen.) Not to mention, there’s more Mammoth WVH music coming soon from the Van Halen progeny.
Wolfgang Van Halen Talks to HardDrive Radio’s Lou Brutus – Jan. 13, 2021