“I’m just an extension of the name”: Wolfgang Van Halen says he’s “not a person to some people”
It’s not easy living under the shadow of your famous parent – or their last name, as Wolfgang Van Halen can probably attest to.
READ MORE: Wolfgang Van Halen says he writes songs directed at the “amalgamation of people that have done me wrong”
In a recent chat with Classic Rock, the Mammoth WVH frontman speaks about the weight that comes with carrying the Van Halen name, saying “I’m not a person to some people. I’m just an extension of the name.”
“People being rude and trying to say hateful things don’t bother me,” says Wolfgang, who’s known for his frequent Twitter take-downs and engagement with online trolls. “It’s when people are stupid: ‘Oh, you’re milking the Van Halen name.’ It’s my fucking name, you grape. Stupidity bothers me more than people trying to hurt me.”
The musician was just sixteen when he played his first public gig as bassist with the reunited Van Halen, an experience he describes as “tough” due to the sheer amount of negativity he received from fans at the time.
“I was there to support my dad, but I was aware that I’d become the biggest enemy of every forty-to-fifty-year-old man out there in the world. It was something I didn’t know how to handle,” Wolfgang recalls. “That did a lot of damage to me.”
Today, fan expectations come by way of the constant calls for an Eddie Van Halen tribute, though it’s clear that the chances of one are pretty much non-existent — as Wolfgang has noted on multiple occasions.
“For me, it was a tribute to Taylor but it was also a tribute to dad,” the rocker says, referencing his appearance at last year’s Taylor Hawkins tribute concert. “It was my way of getting my closure outside the mess that is the social hierarchy of Van Halen and the fact that a tribute show will never happen.”
He continues: “The thing is, people are like: ‘You need to do a tribute, man.’ I am a tribute. Everything I do is for and because of my dad, and I think that’s tribute enough.”
In other news, Wolfgang Van Halen recently revealed the one AC/DC song he and Eddie Van Halen bonded over, recalling his father “laughing so hard” at the track.
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