WOLFGANG VAN HALEN: 'I Don't Ever Wanna Record Something That I Can't Pull Off Live'
November 9, 2023
In a new interview with Nic and Big J of the Boise, Idaho radio station 100.3 The X Rocks, former VAN HALEN bassist Wolfgang Van Halen, who currently fronts his own band called MAMMOTH WVH, was asked if he writes much material on the road or if he has to wait until he gets home to concentrate on being creative. He responded (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I don't know if it's one or the other in particular. I think it's just kind of any time inspiration hits, you've gotta make sure you capture the idea. My voice memos on my phone has just thousands of just random, terrible-sounding things, just to make sure I don't forget something that could possibly be good or bad, You never know. But I find lately, we've just been working so hard and touring for [the second MAMMOTH WVH album] 'Mammoth II'. It's been wonderful, but I feel like I haven't really had the opportunity to sit and think and kind of get into that creative headspace again. So I'm definitely looking forward, whenever I have the opportunity, to take a breath in between tours, I think that's when I might find that sort of creative itch again 'cause right now we're just so focused on on live."
Wolfgang also talked about the advantages of today's recording technology and how much he relies on modern tools while in the studio.
"Yeah, technology is incredible, but we still do use a lot of the old stuff in our studio," he said. "We track to tape. We do use Pro Tools, but we initially track to tape. My main kind of rule is that I don't ever wanna record something that I can't pull off live. So that's a really, really, really big, big thing for me, because we don't use tracks live at all. The only track we have is if we play to a click track and we have an intro. I don't like to replace or to pretend like I'm doing something or have any main vocals or guitars. It's, like, it's everything you see. That's us and that's it."
"Mammoth II" was 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.
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.
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.
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