Wolfgang Van Halen to Eventually ‘Jump’ Into Father Eddie Van Halen’s Shoes?
There’s nothing like coming of age on the road, and Wolfgang Van Halen is picking up the Van Halen family business rather quickly. After starting as a 15-year-old bassist taking over the position once filled by respected musician Michael Anthony, the junior Van Halen has enjoyed an accelerated learning curve and is taking on a more prominent role in the veteran band.
Wolfgang tells Esquire.com, “I mean, I kind of come up with the set lists. When we’ve got a song that we haven’t done, it’s like, we should probably run through this before the show and figure out like the count of it, because dad, for some reason, counts in odds. He’ll land on three instead of four.”
The bassist says he’s also started collaborating with the other band members on songs, but has yet to write a full track for the group. And while Wolfgang admits it will be a while before his father retires, but he adds that he’s ready to carry on when that happens. “It kind of falls on my shoulders,” says the bassist, who feels he’s being groomed to continue the band. “I thought it would be really fun if dad and I just sat down and started jamming and see if we came up with something together, instead of him writing something and me putting my spin on it,” says of his current writing efforts.
Now at the ripe old age of 21, Wolfgang says he’s not as under a watchful eye as he was when he first started with the band, though his father does check up on him on tour asking for text updates. He recalls, “Last time, my mom had so many spies staring at me, you know. I mean it was just everybody on the crew. This time around I was like, ‘Okay, I know what went on last time. You guys don’t have to do that anymore.’”
While it took years to get a new Van Halen record, Wolfgang admitted that there are plenty of demoed tracks along with a backlog of songs that never made it to a record, so there’s plenty material beyond this year’s ‘A Different Kind of Truth’ that should make the wait between albums significantly shorter.
Van Halen are currently touring in support of their latest disc, with North American dates booked through mid-September.