Wolfgang Van Halen, the ex-bassist of the band VAN HALEN and son of the late guitarist Eddie Van Halen, has offered another update on the progress of the recording sessions for the second MAMMOTH WVH album. The effort will be the follow-up to "Mammoth WVH", which arrived in June 2021, some five years after the now-31-year-old musician began piecing together ideas for his solo career.
Speaking to Ireland's Overdrive, Wolfgang said: "I've already recorded the bulk of the next album. The plan was to just focus, and try to do the best that I can do. After all, that's what made the first album work, so I'm looking to try to capture that ethos again for the follow-up. Basically, I just write music that follows my heart, and my tastes, and ultimately, music that makes me happy."
Speaking in more detail about the recording process for the second MAMMOTH WVH LP, Wolfgang said: "I need to go home and do the vocals and the guitar solos. 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."
This past March, 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, 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's touring lineup features Wolfgang on guitar and lead vocals, Frank Sidoris (SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS) on guitar, Jon Jourdan on guitar and vocals, Garrett Whitlock (TREMONTI) on drums, and Ronnie Ficarro on bass.
MAMMOTH WVH made its television debut in February 2021, performing "Distance" on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" and running through an exclusive acoustic arrangement on "Today".
On November 11, 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".