Will WOLFGANG VAN HALEN Perform VAN HALEN Songs With His Solo Band? 'Absolutely Not,' He Says
November 18, 2020
Wolfgang Van Halen has revealed the musicians that will join him on the road when he starts playing shows in support of his upcoming solo debut album under the band name MAMMOTH WVH. Performing alongside Wolfgang, who will handle lead vocals and guitar, will be guitarist Frank Sidoris (SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS),drummer Garrett Whitlock (TREMONTI) and bassist Ronnie Ficarro.
Wolfgang discussed the MAMMOTH WVH band lineup during an appearance earlier today (Wednesday, November 18) on SiriusXM's "Trunk Nation With Eddie Trunk". He said: "We've got Frank. My good brother Garrett Whitlock, who I played with in TREMONTI; we were the rhythm section for a good long while. And God, he hits hard, and that's really important to me. And an amazing guy too, which is even more important, 'cause they're family — you've gotta live with them moving forward. And Ronnie Ficarro, a bass player; he played with FALLING IN REVERSE and a band called I AM GHOST. He's a tremendous player and a great guy too. So I'm really stoked about it. The second we started playing in 2018, we just immediately jelled. Even dad [Eddie Van Halen] was, like, 'Fuck yeah! You guys got this.'"
Regarding how MAMMOTH WVH will handle the material from its upcoming album live, Wolfgang said: "I think down the line, 'cause, Gosh, on the album, there are so many layers that right now, Frank and I are kind of picking what parts to play rather than making sure we play every part. I mean, I'd never do tracks or anything; I think that's lame as shit… So I think at some point, it might be important to get a fifth guy, like an auxiliary dude, who could do the other guitar and the background vocals; there are a lot of layers on the vocals and the guitars. Which would allow me to maybe play some keyboards, 'cause there's a couple of keyboard parts on the album — nothing big at all, but I really wanna round the sound out. I think with the four of us right now, we can get it done really well, but at some point, it might be fun to get that extra guy to fill out the sound. And I think that's way better than getting tracks or something like that."
Wolfgang, who joined his father in VAN HALEN for the band's 2007 reunion tour with David Lee Roth, replacing Michael Anthony, was then asked if he will play any VAN HALEN songs during MAMMOTH WVH's live shows. "Absolutely not," he responded. "If I do, I'd want it to be, like, really fucking different. I wouldn't wanna just sit there and play 'Ain't Talkin' 'Bout Love'. I'd wanna do a cool acoustic cover of 'Little Guitars' or some shit — something different. I refuse to tread the same ground as my dad. I need to forge my own path."
He then clarified: "VAN HALEN fans, please don't take that and run with it. I'm not gonna put out a VAN HALEN cover album or anything. If I do happen to, it would be under that context. It would be different."
According to Wolfgang, one album of original material should be enough to fill out a set during MAMMOTH WVH's first few tours. "I think early on, opening and stuff, you're only really doing half an hour, 45 minutes, and the album with bonus tracks, Gosh — I don't know how long it is, but I think it's close to an hour of music, which I think is enough for a show where I can play all the original stuff," he said.
Wolfgang played every instrument and sang each and every note on MAMMOTH WVH's debut album, which is scheduled for release in the spring of 2021 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records. The disc's first single, "Distance", was released this past Monday (November 16). Wolfgang wrote the song while his late father battled cancer, "imagining what my life would be without him, and how terribly I'd miss him," as Wolfgang explained in a statement.