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Wolfgang Van Halen on His Father: “He’d Be So Proud of Me” (Interview)


You performed all of the instrumentals on the new Mammoth WVH album, as well as your debut. What made you take that approach?

I just think from its inception, Mammoth has kind of been my artistic expression. So, it only felt right to keep doing that. Plus, it’s just fun!

It kind of reminds me of how Dave Grohl played all the instruments on Foo Fighters’ debut.

When you released your recent single, “Take a Bow,” you mentioned how you used your dad’s guitar and amp. What was that feeling like for you, recording with his equipment?

It was really cool. I think the song has represented a sort of a shift or a moment of growth in my songwriting and playing. It felt like a cool moment to mark and have my dad be a part of in some way. So, it was really a cool moment.

You introduced the album with the first single “Another Celebration at the End of the World.” Tell me the story behind that song.

That song is kind of what kicked off the whole creative process for the album, considering it’s kind this fast thrashy, almost punky song. It was a vibe that wasn’t on the first album. It was really exciting to keep going and keep creating, and the solo was a really fun moment. So, by the time we got done recording everything, it was so clearly the first single that everybody just knew.

Mammoth WVH have been touring extensively this year. What do you love about performing live?

There’s nothing like it. It’s such an important other half of the recording process of the music. It’s where you get that direct feedback, and it’s just such a fun thing. It certainly gives my life purpose. It’s an important part of my life, being able to share something as personal as my own music with a crowd of people who are enjoying it. It’s a really special, special thing. I don’t take it for granted. I’m very lucky to be able to do what I do.

What’s it been like having the honor of opening for Metallica on their world tour?
It’s been absolutely crazy. They have been so wonderful and kind and supportive to us — everybody, the whole crew and the band themselves. Their stage alone is such a crazy thing — this big giant circle in the center of a stadium. It’s definitely an insane thing to be a part of. We’re very honored to be there.

Is there a challenge to performing in front of a stadium of fans there to see one of heavy metal’s most beloved bands?

Yeah! Opening for any band of this size, you’re auditioning for people’s attention. But it’s a challenge that I really enjoy. It’s an honor to be in the position where nobody has really heard of us. It’s our opportunity to kind of be like, “Hey, here’s what’s up with us.” And by the end, if one person buys the new album or something, that’s a job well done. It’s an amazing opportunity to be able to play for their audience, and they’ve been very wonderful to us at every show we’ve done.

After these shows with Alter Bridge and Metallica, you’ll be heading out on a headlining tour with support from Nita Strauss. What can fans look forward to on that tour, and what are your thoughts on Nita as a guitarist?

Oh, she’s amazing. I think this is going to be such a great tour. I mean, considering that we had the dual cover at the end of last year in Guitar World, it seemed like it was already in the works to happen. So, I’m so excited. She’s so awesome. Her new album is great. I’m very excited to have her out, and I’m very excited for us to have our first true headline run. It’s gonna be really cool.

Read the rest of the interview here


Tour dates:

4 – Milwaukee, WI – The Rave
5 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
7 – Columbus, OH – The Bluestone
9 – Chicago, IL – The Vic Theatre
11 – Grand Rapids, MI – Elevation at the Intersection
13 – Toronto, ON – The Danforth Music Hall
14 – Montreal, QC – Théâtre Beanfield
15 – Boston, MA – Big Night Live
17 – Sayreville, NJ – Starland Ballroom
18 – Philadelphia, PA – Keswick Theatre
19 – Baltimore, MD – Rams Head Live
21 – Atlanta, GA – Buckhead Theater
22 – Lake Buena Vista, FL – House Of Blues
24 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live Ballroom
25 – Dallas, TX – The Factory in Deep Ellum
26 – Austin, TX – Emo’s
28 – Denver, CO – Gothic Theatre
29 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot
30 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory

2 – Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory
3 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox
4 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theater
7 – San Diego, CA – House of Blues
8 – Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues
9 – Los Angeles, CA – The Belasco

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