It’s hard not to picture Eddie Van Halen in Rock and Roll Heaven, pulling Prince, David Bowie, Stevie Ray Vaughn, and all the other greats around him, pointing at earth and telling them, “Check this out. That’s my son.” After all, his son, Wolfgang Van Halen, put out a record in 2021 that will revive the rocker in you, no matter what letter represents your generation. In a bleary-eared world of techno-saturated one hook wonders that require a street drug chaser to vibe to, WVH has delivered authentic, soulful, hard hitting, lyrically connective, fist raising, “Hell Yeah,” anthems to save us all.
The young prodigy earned his place on bass in Van Halen at the tender age of 15, and clearly became a human sponge, absorbing all the sounds, rhythms, tones and feels that helped rock and roll stay alive on the airwaves. It’s all on his album, Mammoth WVH, playing every instrument himself. His voice is strong and pure, and like he does with every instrument on this album, he diligently caters to each song. Tasty chops are served up in well-engineered originals, reflective of his influences, while remaining uniquely his own.
Mammoth WVH (the band name Wolfgang derived from Van Halen’s earliest origins), is coming to Indio in early March, so Joshua Tree Voice had an opportunity to check in with him.
“What advice do you still hear in your head from your dad?”
“I always loved his little advice his own dad told him, which was, ‘If you ever make a mistake, do it twice just so everybody thinks you meant to
do it.’ It’s really funny, and I’ve always loved that one.”
“How has your mom handled you being in the rock and roll/entertainment world since such a young age?”
“As time has gone by, she realizes that it hasn’t just been some sort of passing phase or something my dad forced me to do. She realizes that it’s my calling, and what I’m supposed to be doing. I think now, after everything that I’ve been through, in the 15 years I’ve been doing this at least, that it’s the right thing. I’m on the right path, and now she just likes to see me be myself.”
“Do you have a preferred (favorite) instrument?”
“I guess drums, but I think that comes from it being my first instrument. Simultaneously, it’s the instrument I play the least. I have the most fondness for it through the distance of not playing them all the time. If you ask me that question two weeks into drum tracking for my album, I probably wouldn’t have the same answer. When I track, I play like I’ve been playing for months, and my hands don’t hold up. I have no calluses, so I end up destroying my hands. I still have a little blood scar on my left hand from drum tracking for the Mammoth album in 2015. But I feel most comfortable on drums.”
“As far as creative expression goes, do you have other art forms you like to (or would like to) throw yourself into?”
“Other than music, the only other creative expression I’ve ever involved myself in is acting. Theater was one of the few classes in middle school and high school that I actually got an A in. I would love to give that a try. I think that kind of shows in the “Don’t Back Down” music video – the desire to want to attempt to do little fun things like that. I’m excited to maybe extrapolate on those ideas in the next few Mammoth videos. It would be fun to kind of explore that more without
being too hokey. Sometimes when bands try too hard in that respect, it gets really annoying. You just want to hear the music or see the video.”
“Since you play all the instruments on the album, what will your show look like when you come to Fantasy Springs in Indio?”
“I have a live band. It’s very much a Nine Inch Nails type situation. Trent (Reznor) is the guy in the studio, and he does all of that. Then when it comes to live, he has a live band that is the band. So at least for the foreseeable future, that’s kind of how it is for Mammoth. In the studio I’ll do everything because I have such a good time doing it. Then live, I have an amazing band that I’m very happy to be playing with.”
“What important advice can you give kids who have hopes of making a life playing music?”
“I think my dad said it best when it comes to advice which is just to play, play, play. You really can’t go wrong if you just keep playing. You improve upon everything including your skills. You also find out if you want to keep doing it or not. I think that new Beatles documentary on Disney+ really showed that. No matter who you are, you just have to put in the time.”
Mammoth WVH will be performing along with Dirty Honey at Fantasy Springs on March 5, 2022. The two bands are touring as The Young Guns Tour. Tickets are on sale now at www.fantasyspringsresort.com/entertainment.
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