Like Father, Like Son: Eddie and Wolfgang Van Halen Discuss the New Face of Van Halen
From 2008: Eddie and Wolfgang Van Halen discuss the evolution and future of the band.
GW Was the time in between when the tour was announced and when you played the first show difficult?
WOLFGANG I just wanted to get it over with. I wanted to be where we are now. There was so much weight on my shoulders to fill the shoes and prove that I could do it. I knew I could do it, but I wanted to say, “Everybody, hey, I can do it!”
ED We rehearsed probably six months before Dave showed up. We were almost over-rehearsed. We got to the point where we were goofing around.
WOLFGANG That’s when we started playing “Little Dreamer” in double time.
ED When Dave walked in it blew his freakin’ mind.
WOLFGANG That night was magical. That was the first time I heard vocals with everything.
ED Dave couldn’t believe how good you are.
GW Wolf you’ve gone directly from rehearsing with your dad and uncle to playing some of the biggest venues in the world. Was it difficult for you to make that transition?
WOLFGANG Because we rehearsed so frickin’ much, from spending six months in 5150, then at Center Staging and then for a few weeks at the L.A. Forum, I felt that we had done enough preparation for me to feel safe. Plus when you’re on the stage, you’re far enough away from people that you feel comfortable. Sometimes I can just close my eyes and feel like we’re in that room at 5150 again.
ED It’s a lot different than rehearsing in the studio. It’s probably more comfortable than being in the control room with a bunch of people staring at you.
WOLFGANG When there are only 10 people around, I get nervous. But when there are so many other people, I feel more comfortable. Then it’s just the four of us doing our thing.
GW How did your dad help you prepare for the tour?
WOLFGANG He didn’t really help me prepare. He just told me what not to do.
ED I taught him what my dad taught me, which is you can learn from everyone what to do and what not to do.
WOLFGANG That, and practice.
ED Actually, he helped me more than I helped him.
WOLFGANG Yeah, I had to teach him how to play the songs again.
ED Because I couldn’t remember the damn songs, and I don’t know how to work a fuckin’ iPod. He had one with all the songs on it. We hooked it up in the control room, and he’d go, “No dad, it goes like this!”
GW Did you teach yourself how to play the songs?
WOLFGANG Yeah, I did. The night before we started practicing, I sat down in my music room and I listened to every single song and just played to them. I didn’t do exactly everything that’s on the recordings. I put my own spin on I kept it as close as possible but added just a little…spice. A little WVH flair. [laughs]
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