Wolfgang Van Halen has explained why he doesn’t cover his father’s band’s songs live.
The musician, who plays under the project Mammoth WVH, performed "On Fire", "Hot For Teacher" and "Panama" at last year’s Taylor Hawkins tribute concerts. alongside The Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins on vocals, Foo Fighters‘ Dave Grohl on bass, and Josh Freese on drums at two concerts in tribute to the late drummer.
“It was wonderful. It was the exception where it was like, this would be the time to do it,” he recalled on ‘Talk Is Jericho’, the podcast hosted by Fozzy singer Chris Jericho. “Taylor was such a huge fan and to get my own satisfaction of doing a direct Van Halen tribute for dad, it felt like the right thing to do in that moment. I’m really proud of it.” [via Louder]
He then explained why that occasion was the exception to his usual rule, where he doesn’t incorporate his father’s songs into his own performances.
“I’m happy to be able to prove myself,” he told Jericho. “The important key distinction is that I’m not doing what my dad did, I’m my own person, I’m my own musician… it’s why I don’t play any Van Halen music or have a plan to play Van Halen music during my sets.
“Even my dad hated doing covers back in the day, his quote resonates with me all the time where he says ‘I’d rather bomb with my own music than succeed with somebody else’s’, and that’s exactly how I feel about playing Van Halen music. I’d much rather fail on my own than succeed heartlessly by playing ‘Panama’.”
Van Halen had previously faced scrutiny from detractors for supposedly failing to honour his father by not playing his songs live.
Earlier this year, after a user criticised him for apparently “taking advantage of his name”, Van Halen made headlines by responding with: “Van Halen is literally my fucking name you grape.”