To promote the release of "Distance," the first single from his solo band Mammoth WVH, Wolfgang Van Halen appeared yesterday on SiriusXM’s The Howard Stern Show (opens in new tab).
Notably, it was the Van Halen bassist's first interview since the death of his father, Eddie Van Halen, last month.
The wide-ranging discussion covered a range of topics, including a long-rumored reunion stadium tour featuring Van Halen's original lineup. Wolfgang confirmed the validity of the rumors, saying, in fact, that there had been plans for a "kitchen sink" reunion tour featuring not only Anthony and Roth, but former Van Halen frontmen Sammy Hagar and Gary Cherone as well.
“The reunion rumors were very real,” Wolfgang told Stern.
“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 was 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.’”
Though rumors of the tour began to spread rapidly, all plans were called off when Eddie was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at the end of 2017. Though the legendary guitarist was initially given just six months to live, treatment in Germany prolonged that time.
“Whatever the fuck they do over there, it’s amazing because I got three more years with him,” Wolfgang said.
In 2019, Eddie was involved in a motorcycle accident, after which he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. From there, Wolfgang said, “shit kept stacking up and stacking up.”
"Distance," which is available now, is an open letter to Eddie, and features Wolfgang on vocals and on every instrument. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the song will go to Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation (opens in new tab). Eddie's favorite charity, it helps provide musical instruments to underfunded schools.
Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com and GuitarPlayer.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player. Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder and Unrecorded. Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.
Get the latest news, reviews and product advice straight to your inbox.
Thank you for signing up to The Pick. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.