Wolfgang Van Halen has revealed that we was invited to honor his late father, guitar legend Eddie Van Halen, at the 2021 Grammy Awards but declined the offer.
“The Grammys asked me to play ‘Eruption’ for the ‘In Memoriam’ section and I declined,” Wolfgang explained via a post to social media. “I don’t think anyone could have lived up to what my father did for music but himself.”
In lieu of a performance, the Grammys opted to showcase a clip of archival footage featuring Eddie performing “Eruption” in concert, while a lone spotlight shone on one of his iconic striped guitars. In Wolfgang’s eyes, the tribute fell short of expectations.
“It was my understanding that there would be an ‘In Memoriam’ section where bits of songs were performed for legendary artists that had passed,” the rocker noted. “I didn’t realize that they would only show pop for 15 seconds in the middle of 4 full performances for others we had lost.”
The younger Van Halen further detailed his frustration with how the Grammys handled their tribute.
“What hurt the most was that he wasn’t even mentioned when they talked about artists we lost in the beginning of the show,” Wolfgang revealed. “I know rock isn’t the most popular genre right now, (and the academy does seem a bit out of touch) but I think it’s impossible to ignore the legacy my father left on the instrument, the world of rock and music in general. There will never be another innovator like him.”
The bassist later noted that his response was not designed to “start some kind of hate parade,” and even expressed an interest in working with the Recording Academy to help “the legacy of the rock genre.” Wolfgang’s entire message can be seen below.
Many fans online – including former Van Halen singer Gary Cherone – expressed their disappointment towards the Grammys’ brief salute to Eddie. Still, others argued that it was pointless to get upset over the matter – a viewpoint Wolfgang thinks his father would agree with.
“Pop would probably just laugh it off and say ‘Ehh who gives a shit?’ He was only about the music anyway. The rest didn’t matter.”
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