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Van Halen were planning a “kitchen-sink” reunion tour with Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony and David Lee Roth

Bassist Wolfgang Van Halen, David Lee Roth, Drummer Alex Van Halen and Guitarist Eddie Van Halen of Van Halen perform at Perfect Vodka Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, FL
(Image credit: Michele Eve Sandberg/Corbis via Getty Images)

Yesterday, Wolfgang Van Halen released Distance, the first single from his new band, Mammoth WVH, and a tribute to his late father, Eddie Van Halen.

To coincide with the release, Wolfgang appeared on SiriusXM’s The Howard Stern Show for an in-depth interview, where he confirmed that Van Halen had at one point been planning a colossal reunion tour, which would not only incorporate Michael Anthony, but also all three of the band’s singers, David Lee Roth, Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone.

“The reunion rumors were very real,” says Wolfgang.

“Since 2015, I had been talking with Dad and was introducing the idea, because he knew I was doing my music, I would be like, ‘Hey Dad, you know what would be cool? Hear me out – what if I opened for you guys, and we had Mike come back?

“Initially, my Dad was like, ‘Well, you gotta be up there, too.’ And eventually it was like, ‘OK, well, maybe I can come up and we can play one or two songs from A Different Kind of Truth – we can figure it out.’

“But as time went on, he warmed up to the idea – I got him excited about it. And at a certain point, it turned into what we joked as the ‘kitchen-sink’ tour. ’Cos after he was OK with that arrangement, it was like, ‘Fuck, let’s get Dave and Hagar, and even Cherone. Let’s just do a giant, fuckin’ awesome thing.’”

At which point, Van Halen manager Irving Azoff reached out to Michael Anthony, and rumors began to spread.

Plans for the tour were ultimately nixed when Eddie was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at the end of 2017. He was given six months to live, but treatment in Germany prolonged that time.

As Wolfgang put it, “Whatever the fuck they do over there, it’s amazing because I got three more years with him.”

Following a motorcycle accident in 2019, Eddie was diagnosed with a brain tumor. From that point, “shit kept stacking up and stacking up”, Wolfgang said.

Elsewhere in the interview, Wolfgang confirmed there are “a shit-ton of tapes” of unreleased material that “will take a very long time to go through”, although “that's not the priority right now. I can’t put a timeline on it. There will be a time we go through it. Not for the foreseeable future.”

Last month, it was revealed that Wolfgang will run his father’s guitar company, EVH Gear, alongside longtime EVH tech Matt Bruck.

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Digital Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World, having spent nine storied years contributing to guitar journalism and a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). He has written and edited for MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, and makes prog-ish instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.