Is MAMMOTH WVH A Band Or A Solo Project? WOLFGANG VAN HALEN Responds
June 11, 2023
In a new interview with Planet Rock's Wyatt Wendels conducted at this weekend's Download festival in the United Kingdom, Wolfgang Van Halen was asked if he sees MAMMOTH WVH as a solo project or as a band, especially since he plays all instruments and handles lead vocals on MAMMOTH WVH's albums. "What would you call NINE INCH NAILS?" the ex-bassist of the band VAN HALEN and son of the late guitarist Eddie Van Halen asked Wyatt, to which Wendels replied, "A band." Van Halen continued: "Then, yeah, I call it a band. Trent [Reznor, NINE INCH NAILS mastermind] kind of goes in, does his thing, has a band [playing with him live]… I guess I see it as a band, even though I guess some could argue it's a solo thing. I don't know. It's kind of both. [Laughs]"
Last December, Wolfgang defended his decision to once again play all instruments on MAMMOTH WVH's upcoming second album, "II", telling Ireland's Overdrive: "I know it may come across as selfish [laughs], but that's just the way that it works for me. I like to completely immersive myself in the music — in all aspects of it. I think a lot of people have tried to turn it into something else, saying things like, 'Oh it's because he doesn't want to pay other musicians,' and it's not that at all. This is just something for me. It's a sacred experience for me. It's my project, and an artistic outlet for me and my mental well-being. I'm so luck that I have this incredible live band that just slays live, so I get to bring this creation to life on stage. I suppose, it's kind of like NINE INCH NAILS, in the way that Trent Reznor creates all the music, records it, produces it, et cetera, and then he has this band that can bring it to life when needed. I'm not comparing myself to Trent, but it's more the interesting duality to this approach, which is so much fun, and deeply satisfying."
Wolfgang made similar comments this past March in an interview with U.K.'s Total Guitar magazine. "Some people try to turn me playing everything into a negative thing, which surprises me," he said. "It's like they think I won't let other people play on it or something like that. But really this is what MAMMOTH is and always has been; it's my artistic expression.
"I've been in bands before where you collaborate and that's not what this is," he explained. "I have a live band, but in the studio I do everything and have a fun time doing it. I enjoy being able to express myself musically in every avenue."
"Mammoth II" will be released on August 4 via BMG. The 10-track record was recorded at the legendary 5150 studio and was produced by Wolfgang's friend and collaborator Michael "Elvis" Baskette.
The debut single from "Mammoth II" is the upbeat rocker "Another Celebration At The End Of The World". The accompanying music video is an 8:25 introduction to the MAMMOTH WVH live band. Picking up where the No. 1 single "Don't Back Down" music video left off, the new video showcases a frustrated Wolfgang firing the other Wolfgangs from that video and replacing them with his live band featuring Frank Sidoris (guitars),Jon Jourdan (guitars),Ronnie Ficarro (bass) and Garrett Whitlock (drums). The video was directed by Gordy De St. Jeor.
In November 2020, 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.
Last November, MAMMOTH WVH released a digital deluxe edition of the debut album via EX1 Records. The new digital deluxe features the bonus track from the Japanese version of the album, "Talk & Walk", as well as two previously unreleased tracks, "As Long As You're Not You" and "Goodbye".
MAMMOTH WVH's first single, "Distance", reached No. 1 on the MediaBase and BDS Active Rock Radio charts. A tribute to Wolfgang's father, the song was not originally intended to be on MAMMOTH WVH's debut album, but due to the overwhelming response to its accompanying video, which has been viewed over seven million times on YouTube, it was added as a bonus track. All of Wolfgang's proceeds from "Distance" are being donated to Mr. Holland's Opus.
"Distance" is an open letter to Wolfgang's father, declaring "no matter what the distance is, I will be with you." The video for the song is created from a collection of family home movies through the years and offers an inside look in to one of music's most notable personalities. Chronicling the family through the years, the video ends with a touching voicemail left from Eddie to his son.
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