Practically since the day guitar legend Edward Van Halen died, totally absurd rumors have been swirling about Van Halen reforming with Eddie’s son Wolfgang Van Halen taking his place on guitar. Let’s all take a deep breath and think about this for a minute. First of all, I am absolutely appalled, and I believe Eddie would have been too, that so many people jumped to conclusions and showed their anger towards a man who just lost his father. No empathy or sympathy, just “How dare he”!. Let’s make this perfectly clear, Van Halen as a band doesn’t exist with Edward Van Halen, period. Wolfgang has addressed all of those rumors as false and has unequivocally stated that he would never be taking his father’s role in Van Halen. I understand that all of Van Halen’s fans feel a sense of loss and hurt with Eddie’s loss, but let’s keep our feelings in perspective. Wolfgang is Eddie’s son. There is no way any one of us can possibly comprehend how the loss of his father has affected him.
Just as many of Van Halen’s fans didn’t always understand Eddie’s creative musical ventures into areas like the piano, keyboards, and changing his sound around, we shouldn’t even expect Wolfgang to be or sound like his father. To live in the shadow of a legendary musician like your father and then try to carve your own path, cannot be an easy task. Unfortunately, he will be under intense and extra scrutiny simply because he carries the last name of Van Halen. And while that may be unavoidable in some respects, I think, if, for no other reason than our love and respect for his late father, we all owe Wolfgang the opportunity to be himself. He deserves a chance to be his own man and create his own sound and path.
I believe we will always hear a glimmer of his father’s influence in his work and that’s actually a good thing. Recently Wolfgang released his first solo song as a tribute to his dad. Keep in mind that he performs all of the instruments as well as sings. That’s not an easy feat for most people. Genetically, he comes from a gifted gene-pool and has spent his entire life growing up around talented musicians. The video for the song “Distance” is available for your listening pleasure below. Does it sound like Eddie Van Halen? No. It sounds like Wolfgang Van Halen and that’s absolutely the point! I know Edward Van Halen is extremely proud of his son and we should all remember that and not be so quick to compare or judge him.