MAMMOTH WVH Announces Sophomore Album 'II', Shares 'Another Celebration' SingleMarch 22, 2023
MAMMOTH WVH, the project led by Wolfgang Van Halen, the ex-bassist of the band VAN HALEN and son of the late guitarist Eddie Van Halen, will release its sophomore album, "Mammoth II", 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.
Continuing the tradition of writing all of the songs and performing all of the instrumentation and vocals himself, Wolfgang set out to challenge himself to expand his sound beyond what people had already come to know him for. From the rocking opener "Right?" to BEATLES-esque fade on closer "Better Than You", "Mammoth II" showcases the growth of Wolfgang as a songwriter, musician and especially vocalist. Songs like "Like A Pastime", "Take A Bow" and "Waiting" are all sonically different from each other but unique to what mastermind Wolfgang Van Halen and MAMMOTH WVH is.
The debut single from "Mammoth II" is the upbeat rocker "Another Celebration At The End Of The World". The single is currently impacting radio and the music video for "Another Celebration At The End Of The World" 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 and can be seen below.
Wolfgang says: "I knew that I wanted the new album to contain elements of what people heard on the debut, but also giving me a chance to branch out a bit. 'Another Celebration At The End Of the World' is definitely a song that showcases what people can expect from the new album. It is a high-energy rocker with some fun guitar moments on it. I also pushed myself vocally and it is a song I can't wait to get out and play live. I can see it being a fixture in our live set moving forward."
"Mammoth II" track listing:
02. Like A Pastime
03. Another Celebration At The End Of The World
04. Miles Above Me
05. Take A Bow
07. I'm Alright
08. Erase Me
10. Better Than You
Earlier this month, Wolfgang told U.K.'s Total Guitar magazine about his decision to once again play all the instruments on the new MAMMOTH WVH LP: "Some people try to turn me playing everything into a negative thing, which surprises me. 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."
On the topic of what fans can expect from the second MAMMOTH WVH album, Wolfgang said: "It will always sound a bit similar, I guess, because the same dude is writing it. But I think on this current material, you can hear me challenging myself a bit more. I've gotten more confident and I know what the project is now, rather than trying to figure out what it was from the start, like on the first one.
"On the debut there was this width of what the project was — on the left you had songs like 'Distance' and 'Circles', those softer vibes, and on the right you had tracks like 'Stone' and 'The Big Picture'. In the middle, there were songs like 'Mammoth' or 'Epiphany' and stuff like that. What I want to do with this album is widen what that breadth is. Further left, for example, there's a song that's all on piano... so it has more of a softer vibe. But on the right, there's some really heavy shit in comparison to the debut. That's what I find really exciting. It's fun to stretch the definition of MAMMOTH on both sides."
Last December, Wolfgang told Ireland's Overdrive about the recording process for the second MAMMOTH WVH LP: "I am recording this album totally on my own, like I did with the debut. 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."
In March 2022, Wolfgang said during an appearance on "Whiplash", the KLOS radio show hosted by Full Metal Jackie, that he didn't want to take as long making the second MAMMOTH WVH album as he did the debut. "I think throughout that first process, I was really just figuring out what it was and who I was as my own artist, finding my own sound and discovering who I was as a lead singer, as a songwriter," he explained. "But when it comes to the next album, now that I've figured out what this is and who I am, within the context of it, I'm really excited to figure out how to condense that process to as an efficient of time as possible, so I can get an album done in a third of the time while it being twice as good. It's always a personal challenge."
In February 2022, Wolfgang told SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk" that he had already gathered plenty of material for MAMMOTH WVH's sophomore effort. "I'm very ready to get back in the studio," he said. "We have some leftover tracks from the first album that I'd like to take another look at — maybe add stuff or maybe redo entirely — and then a bunch of new ideas to get into."
MAMMOTH WVH's debut album was released via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records.
Featuring Wolfgang on vocals and all instruments, "Mammoth WVH" was met with positive reviews and topped Billboard's Top Hard Rock Albums and Top Rock Albums charts.
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 six 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.
Asked why he decided to play all the instruments on MAMMOTH WVH's first LP, Wolfgang said in a 2021 interview: "I just figured since I could play everything, I wanted to see if I could do it. [Laughs] Basically, I just wanted to see. And then, since I could — at least I think I could; I guess it's up to everybody else to decide — I had such a fun time in the studio that I'm looking forward to getting back in there and doing it [again]."
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.
MAMMOTH WVH made its television debut in February 2021, performing "Distance" on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and running through an exclusive acoustic arrangement on "Today".
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".
Photo credit: Travis Shinn
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