When Eddie Van Halen Realized Wolfgang Would Be a Musician
Multi-instrumentalist Wolfgang just released his debut single, “Distance,” as a tribute to Eddie, who died last month at 65. His debut album, which Eddie spoke highly about, has been ready for release for some time.
In an interview with Howard Stern on SiriusXM, Wolfgang was asked if Eddie was “the worst guitar teacher.” He agreed, noting, “I’ll ask him how to play something, and then he just proceeds to be Eddie Van Halen, and that’s a very tough bar to reach as a beginner, so it’s like, ‘Oh, okay.’ … He’s like, ‘Well, do this,’ and I’m like, ‘Fuck you. I can’t do that. You’re Eddie Van Halen – how the hell do I do that?'"
Stern pointed out that “guys who are musical geniuses can’t even remember what it was like to be a beginner,” and as a result they were the ”worst teachers." “Yeah," Wolfgang replied, "and Dad is certainly one of them.”
However, he did recall an early drum lesson that went well. “He would show me AC/DC a lot," Wolfgang remembered. "And he was teaching me how to play the drum beat to ‘Highway to Hell.’ And he was like, ‘If you can do this, and put your foot in the middle of the snare hit.’ And I did it , and he was like, 'Yes! He can do it!’ And he bought me a drum kit that year. That was the first thing I learned at 10 years old.”
Asked if Eddie was “jealous” of his son’s talent, Wolfgang said, “No, he couldn’t wait, he couldn’t wait … the second he saw me tap my foot to music, he was just like, ‘Fuck, yeah – he’s gonna be a musician!'”