Former VAN HALEN bassist and current MAMMOTH WVH frontman Wolfgang Van Halen was the featured guest on BBC's "The Rock Show With Johnnie Walker" during the "Rock God" segment. Wolfgang picked Dave Grohl and stated about his choice (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "I've chosen Dave Grohl because he just inspires me infinitely — in songwriting and capability as a musician. I really admire how he came from NIRVANA, and then after that sadly ended, how he was able to build his own thing with FOO FIGHTERS. It's how I mirror a lot of my experience, so where I've come from and what I've tried to do myself. So he's just everything I aspire to be."
Wolfgang continued: "I first became aware of him, gosh, when I was… It was when [FOO FIGHTERS' fifth album] 'In Your Honor' [came out] and [I heard] 'Best Of You'. I remember that song would always get stuck in my head. It always stuck with me how he made everything better — his songwriting, singing. Yeah, I guess that's why maybe I look up to him so much. He really is just everything I aspire to be, especially after getting to know him a little bit and spending a little bit of time with him… There's nothing better than looking up to someone and realizing that they're everything and more. And he is that."
Wolfgang, who played all the instruments on the first two MAMMOTH WVH albums, previously spoke about Grohl's influence on his music in a 2021 interview with Bass Player magazine. "One of the biggest inspirations was Dave Grohl," Van Halen responded when asked about his songwriting. "When he started the FOO FIGHTERS, he did everything himself on their first album. I wanted to have a go at that, I guess, and I've always admired bands like NINE INCH NAILS, where the project emanates from one person and grows from there. That's kind of how I view it, even though it is still me. I view it more as a band than [a] solo project."
Grohl famously recorded all the instruments on FOO FIGHTERS' debut LP in 1995, after NIRVANA disbanded following the death of Kurt Cobain.
Wolfgang got a chance to join forces with Grohl to perform his late father's songs at last year's Taylor Hawkins tribute concerts. The son of Eddie Van Halen played three VAN HALEN songs — "On Fire", "Hot For Teacher" and "Panama" — over the course of two concerts in September alongside Grohl on bass, Josh Freese on drums and THE DARKNESS's Justin Hawkins on vocals.
MAMMOTH WVH's sophomore album, "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.
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 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.
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".
Wolfgang Van Halen photo credit: Travis Shinn