Wolfgang Van Halen recently spoke about how the coronavirus pandemic torpedoed his “master plan” to play onstage with his late father, Eddie Van Halen, during a gargantuan Van Halen farewell tour that would have delighted fans of all stripes.
In a new interview with The Washington Post, the Mammoth WVH leader revealed that in 2019, he had pitched his father on the idea of a Van Halen tour that included original singer David Lee Roth, his replacement, Sammy Hagar, and original bassist Michael Anthony, whom Wolfgang replaced on latter-day shows. To top it all off, Mammoth WVH would have opened the shows, and Wolfgang would have invited his father to jam during his set.
“The way we figured it, if I were to open for Van Halen, he would come out and play a solo for a song,” Wolfgang told the Post. “That would have been the end-all dream.”
The reality was much bleaker. In late 2017, Eddie Van Halen was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer and given potentially less than a year to live. The guitarist flew back and forth to Germany for treatments, which grew more frequent as the cancer spread to his spine and brain. The pandemic halted live music — and nearly every other aspect of daily life — in March 2020, and on Oct. 6, Eddie Van Halen died of cancer at age 65.
Speaking to the Post, Wolfgang speculated that his father might have been able to fly to Germany for more treatment if COVID-19 had never hit. Then, instead of watching his father slip away, perhaps both generations of Van Halens could have been rocking stages together last summer. “I will forever loathe COVID and how it was handled,” Wolfgang said, “because they stole that moment from me.”
The younger Van Halen is shaping up to have a busy summer and fall nonetheless. Mammoth WVH will play a slew of festivals in the coming months and open for Guns N’ Roses on their rescheduled North American tour dates from August through October. Mammoth WVH’s self-titled debut album, on which Wolfgang plays every instrument and contributes all vocals, comes out June 11.