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 Now that you’ve thoroughly road tested the EVH 5150 III amps, how do you feel they’ve improved or changed your tone?
ED It’s just a natural progression. It’s an extension of me, just like the guitar, which I named after my son even before he was in the band. The tattoo on my arm [“Wolfgang”] says it all.
GW You still use an old-school setup with a guitar cable and wedge monitors, and you control your own effects from an onstage pedal board. Why?
ED Because that’s what I like. I don’t like digital shit. My pedal board is homemade. It’s all about sound. It’s that simple. Wireless is wireless, and it’s digital. Hopefully somewhere along the line somebody will add more ones to the zeros. When digital first started, I swear I could hear the gap between the ones and the zeros.
GW The wah-wah pedal is the newest addition to your rig.
ED It might appear that way to you, but I’ve used a wah since the early Nineties. I dig it, too. I use it more now than I ever have. I couldn’t afford one back when we were starting out, but I always wanted one. The reason why I never used any kind of fuzz or distortion box is because I couldn’t afford them.
GW What kind of wah are you using?
ED It’s my own model made to my own specs by Dunlop. I just go by my ear and tell people this is how I want it to sound. A lot of people don’t quite understand. Matt Bruck and I bust our asses to get people to understand what tone means. We’re tone chasers, and until we get there we don’t stop. That’s what keeps us going.
GW You’ve brought a lot of different Wolfgang guitars on this tour, but you usually play one particular one at a show. However, at another show you may play another entirely different Wolfgang guitar that night. How do you choose which one you want to play that night?
ED The Wolfgang guitars I have are prototypes. I generally play the latest prototype. Hopefully it sounds better than the previous one, and if it does, I end up playing it. I like the white one I’m playing better than the sunburst one, which I like better than the black ones.
GW Wolfgang, how did you choose your bass rig?
WOLFGANG Matt Bruck helped me a lot with the Sound City amps. When we were practicing Matt told me that he had these really cool amps, and we hooked them up. They rule.
ED Nobody gets a bass sound like he does. He uses EVH Brand 5150-III 4x12s. The same cabinets with EVH Celestion 12-inch speakers that I use.
WOLFGANG They’re really out of the ordinary, but it works.
ED Everything starts here. [Ed holds up Wolfgang’s fingers.]
WOLFGANG I split the signal between the amp and a DI, and I have a preamp as well. But the amp is the meat and potatoes of the sound.
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