Wolfgang Van Halen Shares His Learnings From Being In Van Halen
via The Howard Stern Show / Youtube
The key to succeeding in your profession is to gain practical experience, and one excellent way for musicians to achieve this is by being part of a large band. In his own band, Mammoth WVH, Wolfgang Van Halen has conveyed the life lessons he picked up through playing in Van Halen.
From Van Halen to Mammoth WVH
Back in 2006, when Wolfgang was still young, he joined Van Halen, taking the place of Michael Anthony when the group reunited with David Lee Roth. This gave him the opportunity to tour with one of the most famous rock ‘n’ roll bands in history. He even played bass on their final album, A Different Kind of Truth, released in 2012.
Van Halen’s last performances were in 2015, and after that, Wolfgang pursued his own musical journey separate from his family’s band. Following the passing of his father, Eddie Van Halen, in October 2020, Wolfgang shared a touching song called “Distance,” released under the name Mammoth WVH.
In June 2021, Mammoth WVH released their debut album. Similar to musicians like Dave Grohl and Prince, Wolfgang handled all the vocals and instrumentals on the album by himself. However, for touring, he enlisted other musicians such as guitarists Frank Sidoris and Jon Jourdan, bassist Ronnie Ficarro, and drummer Garrett Whitlock.
Wolfgang’s Insights on Band Dynamics
Recently, their second album, Mammoth II, was released, and the band is currently on tour both independently and as the opening act for Metallica and Pantera.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, Wolfgang discussed:
“With Van Halen, I learned a lot of how I didn’t want things to be with Mammoth. Why do we need to be walking around on eggshells? Why is there a problem all the time? Like, why can’t we just get along and play music? Don’t we all love music enough to put our bullshit aside and actually have a good time having this be our livelihood? Shouldn’t it be easier than this?
“That was one of the main things with Mammoth, was to build this healthy core of people on the inside. That can’t be swayed and that can weather any storm, throughout anything we need to.”
Striving, Adapting, and Looking Ahead
Wolfgang said that he occasionally envies Whitlock and Ficarro for getting to perform the drum and bass sections live and that perhaps one day he’ll be able to play the other instruments. He continued:
“But right now there’s no reason to do that.
“Currently I have such an incredible band. I’ve forced my very introverted self to be in the front and to play the extrovert. It’s just a direct result of my desire to make this music.”
The following Mammoth WVH performance took place in Quebec, Canada, on August 10. They were also Metallica’s opening act in Montreal on August 11. The band’s website lists the remaining dates.