Wolfgang Van Halen says “some people” are making it “very difficult” to plan an Eddie Van Halen tribute concert

Wolfgang and Eddie Van Halen perform in 2015
Wolfgang and Eddie Van Halen perform live in 2015 (Image credit: Kevin Winter/BMA2015/Getty Images for dcp)

Wolfgang Van Halen has spoken out for the first time about the much-discussed Eddie Van Halen tribute event that has been the talk of the guitar world ever since it was first revealed by Jason Newsted earlier this year.

Speculation around the project has been rife, with Joe Satriani, David Lee Roth and Gary Cherone all speaking out about the project in recent months. As far back as May, however, Satch revealed that the idea for a Van Halen tribute had been shelved a long time ago.

As to why, SiruisXM's Eddie Trunk had a theory, saying that he had a “very reliable source” that claimed David Lee Roth was holding up the Van Halen tribute concert

In a recent interview with Rolling Stone about the stalled plans, former Van Halen bassist Wolfgang shed a little more light on the situation, confirming that factions within the band are making it “very difficult” to organize anything to do with the Van Halen name, despite the fact he “would really like to do something” for his late father.

“What I can say is that there was an attempt at doing something,” he explained. "But, you know, I don't like to speak negatively about people, but there are some people that make it very difficult to do anything when it comes to Van Halen.

“After being in Van Halen for a long time, I really have strived to have an environment where there is no walking on eggshells and there is no personality that you have to deal with,” Wolfgang continued. “It's just guys having fun making music and just having a good time. 

“But, you know, from my time in Van Halen, there was always some stuff that gets in the way from just making music and having a good time. And, I think, that's what happened.”

As for his own involvement in the project, Wolfgang said he’d be there to support the choices of Alex Van Halen, and help make the decisions his father would have made, as he is “there in his stead”.

Wolfgang Van Halen

(Image credit: Scott Legato/Getty Images)

Wolfgang said the tribute “was already not happening” by the time Newsted first broke the news about the project, echoing Satriani's take on events.

He continued, “Look at anything that’s happened with Van Halen. And look how things have fallen apart. You know? The fact that in my tenure, in Van Halen, we managed to do three tours, put an album of original material and a live album out is a fucking miracle.”

Wolfgang was later asked if the main problem was a “certain singer with three initials”, to which he responded, “I would say ‘Do your research on the history of Van Halen, and come to your conclusions.’”

“I would love to just sit here and say everything and say the truth,” he concluded. “I know how Van Halen fans get. They are very motivated by which specific people they like in the band. And it’s just not worth it. 

“Just, we made an attempt, and some people can be hard to work with, and made it not happen.” 

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.