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 Ed, What’s it like to be onstage with your son as a band member, not just a special guest like he was on the previous tour?
ED It’s an amazing feeling. I’m just so truly blessed. I have pictures of me sitting in the racquetball court in my pajamas with an acoustic guitar and Wolfgang is probably just two-and-a-half-feet tall. I’ll never forget the day I saw his foot tapping along in beat! I knew then, I couldn’t wait for the day I’d be able to make music with my son. I don’t know what more I could ask for.
GW Even after playing about 40 shows together, do you still have moments?
ED Oh yeah. Every night. Sometimes we actually talk while we’re playing. I’ll go, “Hey! Are you all right?” because sometimes he’ll look at me funny. When I give him a kiss or a high five or a low five, it’s from the heart. It ain’t bullshit. It’s just pure love.
WOLFGANG That doesn’t happen to me every night, but sometimes when I’m playing I’ll forget to sing or play a certain note I’ll look up and go, Whoa, this is crazy! That feeling is always there, but I don’t always have time to think about it because I have a job to do.
ED I trip. You blow my mind. To be playing together is something I’ve always dreamed of. Believe it or not, I didn’t know you’d be this good. He scares the shit out of me. He plays drums like a pro, too. The first thing he does in the house is start playing “And the Cradle Will Rock” on the piano. Once Janie, my girlfriend, walked by and said, “Oh! I thought that was you.” But it was Wolfie. Drums, guitar, bass, keyboards…shit! And singing!
GW What’s it like to be in a band with your dad and uncle?
WOLFGANG It feels right.
ED That’s the perfect way to put it. It just feels right.
WOLFGANG I don’t ever go, “This is weird. I’m with a bunch of older people.” I feel like we’re all the same age. It’s just what we do.
ED I was going to say the same thing. Every now and then when we’re onstage playing, I’ll look at him and go, God, that’s my son! He’s only 16, but he’s not “16.” He’s an equal. Age doesn’t matter.
WOLFGANG There’s nobody else my age on the tour, but I feel like I’m an equal. I hope that everybody thinks of me the same way.
ED I believe they do, but you wouldn’t believe the legalities we had to go through to have him be the bass player in Van Halen.
WOLFGANG I still have school.
GW Watching the band play, it’s like Wolfgang has been a member for a long time. Why do you think you get along so well together?
WOLFGANG We’re blood.
ED It’s innate. The way Wolfgang plays bass is very similar to the way I play guitar. It’s very unorthodox. His style is interesting. When other bands come by, like Green Day, I’ll go, “Close your eyes and listen to him.” People freak out. [Poison guitarist] C.C. DeVille left me a message and he didn’t compliment me at all. He did say I was on top of my game, but my son really impressed him. Do you know how proud that makes me? I couldn’t ask for more. Not only has he proven himself but he also takes this stuff further. He does all the wicked shit on the bass that I do on guitar. It’s fucking amazing.
WOLFGANG It’s like a genetic metronome. When we end songs, we don’t even look at each other. We all feel it. It’s good music and I love playing it.
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