Song in Honor of Eddie Van Halen
Everyone has a name with which he was born. One of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, Wolfgang Van Halen was preparing to release the music of his solo band MAMMOTH WVH for a long time. That plan had to be changed when his famous father, guitar virtuoso Eddie Van Halen, called him and said he was diagnosed with cancer again. Wolfgang decided to put everything on hold to be with his father in the battle with the disease. All this time, Wolfgang has been writing material for a solo album due out on Explorer1 Music Group / EX1 Records in 2021. The single “Distance” taken from this album has already been released digitally after fathers death.
Wolfgang Van Halen, son of Eddie Van Halen, presented his debut solo single “Distance”. The song, released under the pseudonym Mammoth WVH (“Mammoth” is one of the first names of Van Halen, plus the musician’s initials), is dedicated to the memory of his father.
“No matter what the distance is I will be with you. No matter what the distance is you’ll be okay,” sings Wolfgang and while watching the video for the song, collected from archival home footage of the Van Halen family and demonstrating how close he was to his famous father, it is difficult to hold feelings.
“I never thought that “Distance” would be the first song that I would show to the public, but I also hoped that my father would be with us to celebrate the release of this song,” commented Wolfgang. “As Dad continued to fight his illness, I imagined what my life would be like when he was gone, and how terribly I would miss him. Although this song is incredibly personal, I think that many people will be able to relate to the feeling of losing a very loved one. This is for him. I love and miss you, dad.”
Wolfgang himself sings and plays all the instruments in the song. His debut solo album is expected to be released in 2021 via Explorer1 Music Group / EX1 Records. Work on the record had been going on for a long time but was paused when Eddie Van Halen was again diagnosed with cancer in 2019.
Wolfgang Van Halen has been the bassist in Van Halen for the band’s live dates since 2006. The musician also plays bass in a solo project by Alter Bridge and Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti Tremonti.
Eddie Van Halen died on October 6, 2020, after a long battle with cancer. He was 65 years old.
“Master of tapping”, “Mozart of rock music” — this is how fans call him. The sad news of the passing away of Edward (Eddie) Van Halen, guitarist and founder of the hard rock band Van Halen, was tweeted by his son Wolf: “My heart is broken and I don’t think I can fully recover from this loss. I love you very much, dad.”
“His influence on music — especially when it comes to playing the guitar — was immeasurable. He was an absolute legend,” wrote fellow musician Ozzy Osbourne on social media.
Eddie Van Halen’s career began, like that of other musicians — in clubs, bars, at various parties. However, it was only the beginning of the path. Let`s remember the brightest moments of his creative life.
As a child, Eddie Van Halen planned to become a drummer, but everything changed when he took up the guitar. The artist not only learned to play virtuoso but also became one of the greatest guitarists in history.
Childhood and youth
Edward (Eddie) Van Halen was born on January 26, 1955, in Amsterdam, Holland. His father was a native Dutchman and his mother was of Indonesian, Dutch and Italian descent and came from the island of Java.
The celebrity’s dad was a musician, played the clarinet and saxophone. He was so passionate about the work that he even gave his youngest son the middle name Lodewijk, which is the Dutch version of the name Ludwig, in honor of Ludwig van Beethoven.
It’s no surprise that Eddie and his older brother Alex have been making music since childhood. Both took piano lessons, and the youngest managed to achieve success in this, but he was unemotional about his studies. The family later moved to the United States and settled in Pasadena, where the early years of Van Halen’s biography passed.
In a new country, the boy first heard the records of Cream and Jimi Hendrix, after which he decided that he would become a rock musician, which was not hindered by his parents. He acquired a drum kit, while his older brother began to master the guitar. But soon Alex realized that he wanted to be a drummer, and Eddie gave in to him, taking on the role of guitarist.
Although no one taught the performer to handle the instrument, he got down to business seriously. First of all, the young man bought himself a Teisco Del Ray guitar, which he rarely parted with, focusing on the technique of playing on his idols. He was especially influenced by Eric Clapton, whose recordings Van Halen learned by heart.
The star’s first marriage was unsuccessful; in his youth, he married the actress Valerie Bertinelli, whom he met at a concert. The musician was so much in love that he even got a tattoo in honor of his wife, but he deleted it after the break in 2005. The couple maintained friendly relations and focused on bringing up a son, whom the artist named after Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, continuing his father’s tradition.
Soon after his divorce from Valerie, Edward proposed to his new beloved Jenny Lishevsky, with whom he found happiness in his personal life. They got married in 2009 and lived in marriage until the death of the performer.
Eddie and Alex formed their first band at school, performing with friends during lunchtime. Later, the Mammoth collective appeared, which the brothers created together with Mark Stone. The star had to not only play the guitar but also perform the duties of a vocalist, which turned out to be unbearable for him.
At that time, the artists rented a speaker system from David Lee Roth, and Edward got the idea to invite him to the group as a singer to save money and get rid of the hated role. The new member proposed to rename the band to Van Halen because it sounded more effective. Also, they changed the bassist —Michael Anthony took the place of Stone.
At first, the musicians performed wherever they could: from parties to tiny backyards. They gathered the audience by placing flyers in the lockers of the students of the school since they did not have the opportunity to hire a manager.
Performing at the next club, the band members caught the attention of Rodney Bingenheimer, who invited them to the Los Angeles Starwood. There, the guys were spotted by Gene Simmons from Kiss, who volunteered to fund their first demo.
But when the work was completed, the young artists did not know what to do next. The guys did not want to knock on the doorsteps of the studios and knock on all doors, so they put aside the recording in a distant box and continued to perform in clubs. Luck smiled at the performers again when Marshall Berle overheard them and offered his services as a manager.
As a result, he arranged an audition for the musicians with representatives of Warner Bros Record, and a week later they were signed to a contract. The debut album of the group Van Halen was recorded in the shortest possible time and was a success, reaching number 10 on the Dutch charts.
Even then, the famous guitar solo Eruption appeared, in which Eddie applied the tapping technique — extracting sound by striking the neck with his fingers. The artist is mistakenly believed to be the inventor of this style of play, but in reality, he was only a popularizer.
In subsequent years, the albums of the collective became more and more successful. “1984”, which included the single Jump, was especially loved by the public. The song reached the top of the US and Canadian charts, and the video for it won the MTV Video Music Awards.
Shortly after the release of the album, Lee Roth left the group and Sammy Hagar became the new vocalist, which had little impact on the success of Van Halen. On the contrary, it was with this member that the track Balance was recorded, which fans consider the pinnacle of musicians’ skill.
True, the new vocalist did not take part for a long time, for some time Gary Cherone performed with the collective, and then David Lee Roth returned. Despite the change, the stars continued to give interviews and perform concerts that drew crowds of fans. During this period, Eddie managed to collaborate with other musicians, participating in the recording of their tracks, and release new albums, but over time, the guitarist’s health began to fail.
Unfortunately, music talent was not the only thing that Edward inherited from his father. The family tended to alcoholism, so as a teenager he began to smoke and drink, and then to use drugs, which negatively affected his health.
In 2000, it became known that the artist was being treated for throat cancer, due to which the third part of his tongue was removed. Years later, the performer named the copper and brass picks, which he kept in his mouth during performances, as the cause of his illness. But this assumption was refuted by an employee of the British medical advisory service Push Doctor.
Soon after the operation, news of the musician’s complete recovery appeared, and fans breathed a sigh of relief. But in subsequent years, Van Halen repeatedly had to seek help from doctors, although he assured that he had changed his lifestyle, quit drinking and smoking. In 2012, Edward was hospitalized with diverticulitis and had to reschedule the band’s Japanese tour.
From that moment on, the guitarist appeared on the stage less and less, and after 7 years the news site TMZ published sensational news, which said that the performer’s condition began to deteriorate due to throat cancer. During this period, Van Halen continued to keep in touch with fans on Instagram, where he posted videos and photos, which gave them hope for the best.
But in October 2020, the artist died, complications of the disease became the cause of death. The son of a celebrity told the fans the sad news.
1978 — Van Halen
1979 — Van Halen II
1980 — Women and Children First
1981 — Fair Warning
1982 — Diver Down
1983 — 1984
1986 — 5150
1988 — OU812
1991 — For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge
1995 — Balance
1998 — Van Halen III
2004 — The Best of Both Worlds
2012 — A Different Kind of Truth
• The guitar solo of the performer sounds in the hit “Beat It” by Michael Jackson. According to Van Halen, he agreed to participate in the recording without notifying the other musicians of his group and received only a letter of thanks for this. As a result, the album “Thriller”, the tracklisting of which included the song, bypassed their “1984” and took the leading place in the American chart.
• In 2012, Eddie was named the Greatest Guitarist of All Time by Guitar World, in the ranking of which he was higher than Brian May, Alex Lifeson, and Jimi Hendrix.
• The musician assembled his famous Frankenstrat guitar himself, having bought a body and neck, which cost him $130. The first model was black and white, but later Edward changed the colors a little, adding red stripes. Besides, there is a black and yellow version of the instrument’s color. It was such a sample that Van Halen put in the coffin of the famous guitarist Dimebag Darrell, who was a fan of Van Halen’s work.