Wolfgang Van Halen recently commented on what’s causing the holdup with the VAN HALEN tribute project, saying it “was already not happening” by the time METALLICA bassist Jason Newsted first publicly mentioned it a few months ago.
Back in April, Newsted revealed to The Palm Beach Post that he was approached by VAN HALEN drummer Alex Van Halen about six months earlier about playing bass for a proposed tribute project celebrating late guitarist Eddie Van Halen. Newsted revealed to the Florida newspaper that he agreed to go to California to jam with Alex and guitarist Joe Satriani to see if it felt right, but he eventually realized that it would be impossible to do justice to VAN HALEN‘s legacy.
In a new talk with Rolling Stone, Wolfgang was asked what exactly caused plans for the tribute concert to fall apart. He said: “What I can say is that there was an attempt at doing something. But, you know, I don’t like to speak negatively about people, but there are some people that make it very difficult to do anything when it comes to VAN HALEN. After being in VAN HALEN for a long time, I really have strived to have an environment where there is no walking on eggshells and there is no personality that you have to deal with. It’s just guys having fun making music and just having a good time. But, you know, from my time in VAN HALEN, there was always some stuff that gets in the way from just making music and having a good time. And, I think, that’s what happened.
“I would love to just sit here and say everything and say the truth,” he continued. “There are plenty of interviews my dad did, where he straight up just said everything. And people hated him for it and thought he was lying. So I could just say shit, but people have already decided how they feel about things, facts or not. So I can say the facts. But that may not align with how certain people feel. I know how VAN HALEN fans get. They are very motivated by which specific people they like in the band. And it’s just not worth it. Just, we made an attempt, and some people can be hard to work with, and made it not happen.”
Regarding his involvement in the proposed tribute concert, Wolfgang said: “When it comes to VAN HALEN, and decision-making overall and what VAN HALEN does, it’s Al, and then I’m there and supportive. You know, I basically help make the decisions that dad would be there to make, because I’m in there in his stead.”
Wolfgang also said that he “would really like to do something” for his father, but that the tribute concert idea “never even got off the ground.”
“Look at anything that’s happened with VAN HALEN,” he said. “And look how things have fallen apart. You know? The fact that in my tenure, in VAN HALEN, we managed to do three tours, put an album of original material and a live album out is a fucking miracle.
“People love to pin every decision VAN HALEN has ever made on Dad,” he continued. “But Al’s the brain. Al has been the guy forever. He’s the dude. When it comes to VAN HALEN, Dad just wanted to play guitar. But, you know, Al’s mentality, and it’s the mentality that VAN HALEN took for the entirety of its band, is that there’s nothing worth talking about unless it’s happening. So the reason that nothing has been talked about from VAN HALEN, the official channels, is because nothing’s happened. And I know how that will stir people up and piss them off. But that’s how the operation is run.”
When Wolf was asked if it was safe to assume that the main problem was singer David Lee Roth, he replied: “I would say ‘Do your research on the history of VAN HALEN, and come to your conclusions.'”