Turns Out Eddie Van Halen Grammy Tribute Presentation Was His ‘Family’s Wishes’

Turns Out Eddie Van Halen Grammy Tribute Presentation Was His ‘Family’s Wishes’ | Society Of Rock Videos

Image via Van Halen News Desk

The producer and writer of the Grammy Awards, David Wild, had an appearance on The Mitch Lafon Jeremy White Show last Sunday. The episode discussed about the less exposure of rock music on the Grammys and the criticisms on the Eddie Van Halen tribute last year.

Wild defended the Grammys from the comments of people who said that it is neglecting the rock music. He explained:

“It’s not that the music is not good enough, it is that there are trends about what is dominant in the culture. And I am a rock guy, I mean, in a broad sense, but that’s the core of what I listen to. It’s very important to me. I understand some of the criticism. Some of it is completely inappropriate and just not true.”

He also revealed why Van Halen’s tribute in 2021 was too brief and only includes a clip of the late rocker playing his signature instrumental “Eruption” while his iconic “Frankenstein” guitar stood alone on the stage. It led many fans, and former Van Halen singer Gary Cherone, to react negatively and felt the Grammys could’ve done more to honor the guitarist. Wild continued:

“Like last year, Eddie Van Halen was a friend of mine. I wrote a cover story on him, I worked with him on a book that he wanted to do at one point, I saw him a year before he died, I was at his house. I loved him.

“We were criticized for only showing a film clip of him doing ‘Eruption’ lines. … What happened was, we went and said — to the family, to the estate — we [said], ‘We have these people who could perform something. If Wolfgang wants to do something, he can do that. Tell us what you would be comfortable with.'”

The producer said that he offered a number of tribute ideas, including various artists performing Eddie’s songs, or Eddie’s son Wolfgang performing, but the late guitarist’s family rejected his suggestions. Wild shared:

“They said, ‘No one should perform it.’ You know, that was a very, absolutely — there was not like they wanted to say, ‘Only if you can get so and so,’ it was [that] they didn’t want anyone, so we had to find the video. And just to show you how tough this stuff can get — there is very little footage of Van Halen.”

Wild admitted that it was hard to track down the performances of Van Halen and its rights. But Wild added:

“It was the family’s desire not to have something with a vocal.”

For that reason, the Grammys avoided getting singers like David Lee Roth and Sammy Hagar to make the tribute focus on Edward only and not the band. Wild noted:

“It was to showcase Edward. So that’s what we did. And yet there was criticism, and it was frustrating to me, I will tell you.”

Wild further explained that he would often be the guy to push ideas that includes rock music, but the decision of who and what to put on is a “complicated issue.” He stated:

“I wish there was more, but there’s not. But when people say the Grammys hate rock ’n’ roll, believe me, that is not true.”

Watch the full interview below.

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