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“My father was newly sober, dealing with anxiety – I was there to support him”: Wolfgang Van Halen remembers touring with his dad

A portrait of Wolfgang Van Halen
(Image credit: EX1 Records/Explorer1 Music Group)

Wolfgang Van Halen has opened up about touring alongside his father in Van Halen when he was just a teenager. 

Wolfgang first joined his late father Eddie Van Halen on Van Halen’s tour back in 2007, replacing Michael Anthony on bass. 

Speaking in a new interview with Classic Rock magazine (opens in new tab), Wolfgang remembers how he learned to ignore the criticism he faced in this new role. 

“I was just there to support my father in any way I could,” Wolfgang told Classic Rock. “He was newly sober, and because of that was dealing with some performance anxiety, so I was very happy to be there for him. The backlash wasn’t anything I thought too much about.”

Though he admits that the time taught him a lesson about dealing with fans and the media… 

“Oh, for sure,” he said. “I now feel like a veteran in dealing with unwarranted criticism.”

In the same interview, Wolfgang discussed his song Distance, that was released as a tribute to his late father, who passed away in October 2020.

“I wasn’t planning on Distance being the first song of mine that people heard,” Wolfgang said, "but getting it out as a tribute to dad felt like the right thing to do. Also for the money to go to his favourite charity [The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation].” 

The track features on the debut self-titled album from Wolfgang’s new project Mammoth WVH, which is out June 11. 

You can read more on Wolfgang Van Halen in the new issue of Classic Rock, which is available now (opens in new tab)

Classic Rock
Classic Rock

Classic Rock is the online home of the world's best rock'n'roll magazine. We bring you breaking news, exclusive interviews and behind-the-scenes features, as well as unrivalled access to the biggest names in rock music; from Led Zeppelin to Deep Purple, Guns N’ Roses to the Rolling Stones, AC/DC to the Sex Pistols, and everything in between. Our expert writers bring you the very best on established and emerging bands plus everything you need to know about the mightiest new music releases.