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Wolfgang Van Halen says playing live is the only thing that helps him feel the “energy and closeness” of his late father

Wolfgang Van Halen
(Image credit: Scott Legato/Getty Images)

Wolfgang Van Halen has said that playing live has helped him reconnect with his late father, Eddie Van Halen.

In a new interview with Rolling Stone on Mammoth WVH's recently announced co-headline tour with fellow LA rockers Dirty Honey, the multi-instrumentalist says performing onstage is “really the only thing I've got anymore, to feel that energy and that closeness with my dad”.

“I’ll always have the memories,” he says, “but there’s nothing better than just playing music live and playing the music that the two of us listened to together. We would listen to it all the time, and he was so proud and happy with it. It feels like every night I’m doing it for him.”

While Wolfgang Van Halen played extensively onstage with Van Halen, he has enjoyed a seismic touring start with Mammoth WVH. Just four days after their first show at the Bottleneck Night Club in Lawrence, Kansas back in July, the band set off on a three-month stint around the US supporting Guns N' Roses.

The run wrapped up with two shows at the Hard Rock Live Arena in Hollywood, Florida, the first of which saw Wolfgang join GNR onstage for a show-stopping performance of Paradise City.

The tour followed the release of the band's debut self-titled album, which arrived back in June. The LP is compiled of 14 tracks, including You're to Blame, Don't Back Down, Feel and Distance, Wolfgang's emotional tribute to his late father, who died on October 6, 2020, following a lengthy battle with cancer.

Following Eddie's death, Wolfgang has repeatedly shut down fans asking him to play Van Halen songs with Mammoth WVH, most recently saying he was “fucking exhausted” by the requests.

In a Twitter exchange last month, a fan asked Wolfgang, “Why after all your resistance against Van Halen fans did you decide to add WVH to your band name? Honest question,” to which the guitarist replied, “Last I checked it was my fuckin' name.”

Sam Roche

Sam is a Staff Writer at Guitar World, also creating content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.