Wolf Van Halen Reflects On How Eddie’s Sound Got Better During The Hagar Era

Wolfgang Van Halen recently spoke about his favorite albums of all time in an interview with Classic Rock. While adding some Van Halen albums to the list, he stated that Eddie’s guitar playing improved during the Hagar era compared to VH’s Roth era.

When Van Halen was first formed in 1973, the lineup consisted of Eddie and Alex Van Halen, David Lee Roth, and Michael Anthony. The vocalist Roth quit the band in 1985 to focus on a solo career, and Van Halen replaced the singer with the Montrose singer Sammy Hagar. In 1996, they had a small reunion with Roth, but a complete one in 2007, leaving Sammy Hagar off to continue working on his solo career.

Van Halen disbanded for good in 2020 after the death of Eddie Van Halen. Understandably, the members didn’t think a reunion of any sort would be possible without Eddie’s presence. The band had created unforgettable records with both vocalists and gained a reputation for being a split-era band: the Roth era and the Hagar era. Wolfgang addressed the two periods and analyzed his father’s guitar-playing skills.

He stated that the album ‘Fair Warning,’ released during the Roth era in 1981, was the album that his father went all in. Eddie went ‘hard’ in this record and made it dark. The same goes for the album ‘Unchained’ as it is a fast album to listen to, and they both get overlooked. However, Eddie shows his full potential in the Hagar era in the album ‘Balance.’ According to Wolf, his father succeeded in creating beautiful melodies for that record and showed another side of Eddie.

Here is what he stated about his father in ‘Balance’:

“It might be the best-sounding Hagar album, maybe the best sounding Van Halen. The Hagar era shows another side of my father’s playing as well. I like how he leaned more into the melodic stuff – some of the most beautiful melodies he’s ever written have been in the Hagar era with things like ‘Dreams’ or the song ‘Not Enough’ from ‘Balance.’ But then I love all of the Van Halen albums.”

Even though he loves all of the Van Halen albums, the Hagar-era Van Halen seems to have a different impact on him as to how it influenced his father’s playing. Wolf Van Halen was also a part of Van Halen, replacing Michael Anthony on bass. However, after their disbandment, he focused on his solo band Mammoth WVH and is currently touring with his own band, Mammoth WVH.