Wolfgang Van Halen has revealed to Total Guitar magazine that he used some of the equipment belonging to his late father, legendary VAN HALEN guitarist, during the making of the debut album from his MAMMOTH WVH project.
“I played the original Frankenstein on the solo on ‘Mammoth’ and on ‘Feel’,” he said.
“You feel the history. It’s kind of terrifying holding it, just because arguably it is the most famous guitar in musical history. It’s definitely quite the thing to hold it.
“When we were pulling it out of its safe, Dad picked it up and he was just noodling with it for a second,” Wolfgang continued. He’s, like, ‘Yeah, feels about the same,’ and he tossed it onto the couch. Everyone just gasped when he did that. To Dad, it’s just a little piece of junk that he built himself, but to us, it’s the most famous thing in the world.”
Wolfgang went on to say that he made a conscious effort to differentiate his tone from his father’s when picking out the amps to use on the record.
“That was probably the one area that we made a collective effort to not replicate Pop,” he said. “We did use a bunch of 5150s mostly, but there were also Marshalls — a red early-’70s 100-watt Superlead, and a ’72 Superlead metal-panel 1959 model. All the Marshall heads were modified with extra gain stages. We used a lot of cabinet variations, with Celestion G12H-30s, G12M-25s, and G12-EVHs just to contrast the sound.”
MAMMOTH WVH‘s self-titled debut album will be released on June 11 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records. Wolfgang wrote all of the songs and performed all of the instrumentation and vocals on the LP.
Last November, Wolfgang confirmed that he asked his father for permission to use the MAMMOTH WVH band name for his solo project. MAMMOTH WVH is a nod to family history — Eddie and Alex Van Halen‘s band was called MAMMOTH when singer David Lee Roth first joined it in 1974.
Wolfgang previously said that his father was actually a pretty lame guitar teacher. “He didn’t teach me” how to play guitar,” Wolfgang told “The Afternoon Program” on the 102.9 The Hog radio station. “He was a terrible teacher. He only taught me how to do power chords on a guitar, and then I taught myself. [Laughs] I would ask him how to play something, and then he would just be himself, which is be a legendary guitar player. He couldn’t really help me connect point A to point B; he would just do it and go, ‘Do this,’ because it’s so easy for him. And I would just laugh and be, like, ‘Okay.’ [Laughs]
“I guess it’s the same thing with [Albert] Einstein,” he added, referring to arguably the greatest scientist of all time. “[Einstein] couldn’t tie his shoes. There’s a saying where it’s, like, you’re such a genius that it’s hard to impart that to others; it’s just kind of what you are. [Laughs]”