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Wolfgang Van Halen unleashes Mammoth WVH, 5 Things to Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

Posted: Friday, June 11, 2021

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Music is, not surprisingly, deep in Wolfgang Van Halen's DNA, so it's not surprising he's made a lot of it during the past 15 years.

Gifted with an electronic drum set from his father, the late Eddie Van Halen, as a youth, the younger Van Halen learned to play multiple instruments and wound up playing bass for the reunited Van Halen band in 2006, touring twice and recording on the group's last studio album. He's also worked with Creed/Alter Bridge guitarist Mark Tremonti and Clint Lowery of Sevendust on their albums.

Van Halen, 30, makes his solo bow with "Mammoth WVH," which comes out Friday, June 11. He plays all the instruments and sings all the parts on the 14-song set, which includes "Distance," the track Van Halen released shortly after his father's death in November. It's been a long time coming, but Van Halen is ready for Mammoth WVH, as he also calls his band, to make its footprint in the music world...

Van Halen, whose mother is actress Valerie Bertinelli, says by phone that finally having an album out -- "Mammoth WVH" has actually been finished since July of 2018 is "liberating liberating but also very nerve-wracking 'cause it's very honest and it's just 100 percent me. I think one of the very first ideas was "Mammoth," and that was written around 2013, so it's been a long time coming. I'm really putting myself out there in a way I never have before. I've never worked this hard on anything, but I've never been more proud of anything in my life. I just wanted to be myself and... show I'm my own person instead of what's come before, attached to my name."

Because of that personalized goal, Van Halen says it was important "to see if I could do an album with just myself, since I could play everything. At the risk of sounding selfish, I kind of impressed myself at how well it gels and sounds like a band. The whole thing was really a big surprise to me, being able to pull it off."

Eddie Van Halen was around during the recording of "Mammoth WVH" -- which takes its name from Mammoth, one of the guitarist's early bands. "He would watch like a proud father at a soccer game. He was just happy to watch it happen. It was never like a bossing around kind of thing. He was just happy watching the process. He was just very...dad."

Van Halen senior also let his son use his famous Frankenstein guitar, which he built himself. "I used it on 'Mammoth' and 'Feel,' and that whole day was really fun. When we took it out of its safe hiding place -- 'cause it's super-protected -- dad kind of picked it up and noodled with it a little bit, and then he sort of haphazardly tossed onto the couch. And everybody in the room just gasped because to him it's just this little piece of crap that he put together, but for us it was one of the most iconic instruments in music. So that was a funny little moment."

Mammoth WVH will be touring with Guns N' Roses this summer, but Van Halen is also eyeballing his next album. "I've got a bunch of demo ideas I'm really excited to dive back into, and there's ideas that were kind of left over from the first album that I'm excited to check out again. In the studio I'm having such a good time doing it myself, I think I'll continue to do it that way. I want to follow my creative desires and just kind of write music I want to hear. Anything that catches my ear and excites me is what I'll be doing. I think the second album will come way sooner than this one did."

Mammoth WVH opens for Guns N' Roses perform Aug. 8 at Comerica Park, downtown Detroit. Doors at 6 p.m. Tickets via 313Presents.com. Tickets for previous dates (July 11, 2020 and July 24, 2021) will be honored.

Web Site: www.313Presents.com

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