Wolfgang Van Halen Says He Was Saving Eddie From Messing Up In VH Shows

In a recent chat with Drumeo, Wolfgang Van Halen discussed his role in Van Halen, particularly how he and his uncle, Alex Van Halen, had to cover for Eddie Van Halen’s timing during performances.

The host initially asked the following about his experiences playing bass on Van Halen’s A Different Kind of Truth Tour in 2012:

“I think I saw you playing bass in 2012 on A Different Kind of Truth Tour with Van Halen playing, I guess, besides your uncle Alex. Were there any things that you picked up as a bass player or even as a drummer from being around someone like that who’s, I mean, a legend in the drum world?”

Covering For Eddie’s Timing Challenges

The musician replied, reflecting on his late father’s lack of precise timing:

“Nothing specifically. I think it was just kind of learning how to lock in playing with other musicians. I think between locking in with Al and just jamming with him and then also, because my dad was bad at counting, so he’d come in early or come in late. And Al and I would like to swoop in and save him. He’d have no idea. So locking with Al but at the same time being that safety net for Pop if he ended a solo early or went a little long or something like that. Everybody counts in their own was [laughs].”

Transition To The Spotlight

In a 2021 interview with Loudwire, Wolfgang compared his experiences in Van Halen to leading Mammoth WVH. He explained how, in Van Halen, the focus was primarily on Eddie and lead vocalist David Lee Roth, allowing Wolfgang to perform without much attention on him. This contrasted with his role in Mammoth WVH, where he became the center of attention. He shared:

“It’s way different. With Van Halen, everybody was there to look at Eddie Van Halen and David Lee Roth, so I could just kind of do my thing and fly under the radar and be comfortable. But now, I’m the dude that everybody’s looking at, and that is so unnatural and doesn’t match up with my personality type whatsoever.”

Reflecting on his musical education, Wolfgang shared in a 2020 interview with The Afternoon Program on 102.9 The Hog radio station that Eddie, despite his legendary status, was not a great teacher. Wolfgang learned the basics of guitar playing, like power chords, from his father but had to teach himself beyond that. With Wolfgang on bass, Van Halen embarked on significant tours in 2007, 2012, and 2015, with their final shows taking place in the summer and fall of 2015.

Watch the rest of his interview below.