Wolfgang Van Halen releases emotional tribute to his late father Eddie with debut single Distance

Van Halen
(Image credit: Mammoth WVH)

Having taken his first steps into the spotlight as the post-Michael Anthony bassist with Van Halen, before playing in Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti’s solo band, Wolfgang Van Halen has been assembling music for a solo project for some time. The Californian musician’s plans for Mammoth WVH, however, were put on hold when Wolfgang received a call from his father Eddie passing on the news that his cancer had returned. As the world now knows, Eddie Van Halen passed away on October 6, with his son breaking the painful news via a social media posting.

Under the circumstances, Distance, the first release from Mammoth WVH, is weighted with emotion. An open letter to Wolfgang’s father, featuring the chorus lyric, “no matter what the distance is, I will be with you”, its accompanied by a video created from Van Halen family movies, and ends in a poignant, touching fashion with a voicemail message left by Eddie Van Halen for his son.

The opening verse of the song reads:

“I’m so happy
You’ve found a place
That’s better for you
Than this rock we’re living on
I’m so nervous
Don’t know my place
A life without you
I’m not ready to move on”

“I never intended Distance to be the very first piece of music people would hear from me, but I also thought my father would be here to celebrate its release,” says Wolfgang, who sings and performs all instrumentation on the song.

“As my pop continued to struggle with various health issues, I was imagining what my life would be like without him and how terribly I’d miss him. While the song is incredibly personal, I think anyone can relate to the idea of having a profound loss in their life. This is for him. I love and miss you, Pop.”

Wolfgang Van Halen is donating his portion of all proceeds from Distance to Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, which aims to keep music alive in US schools by donating musical instruments to under-funded music programmes, and providing vital services to school districts nationwide across America, giving economically-disadvantaged youth access to the many benefits of music education.

The debut album from Mammoth WVH is scheduled for release in 2021 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records.

Eddie Van Halen’s influence and impact is saluted in the new issue of Metal Hammer, which is out now.

Metal Hammer issue 342

(Image credit: Future)
Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.