Wolfgang Van Halen Lovingly Admits His Dad Was Not a Good Guitar Teacher
Learning how to play guitar from one of the most revolutionary players in the history of the instrument seems like a dream, right? The reality for Wolfgang Van Halen though, was that his dad, Eddie Van Halen, was nowhere near as good of a guitar teacher as he was a guitar player.
On Monday (Nov. 16), Wolfgang was invited to appear on The Howard Stern Show to discuss his debut solo single, "Distance," as well as the loss of his father, who died on Oct. 6 earlier this year. During the chat, Stern noted, "One of the things I read was that he was the worst guitar teacher," recollecting a young Wolfgang who had the ambition to learn guitar. "Within two seconds, he's playing like Eddie Van Halen," Stern remarked of Eddie's inability to start at the ground level when offering beginner guitar instruction.
"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," exclaimed Wolfgang, who then warmly joked. "So it’s like, 'Oh, okay.' [laughs] … He’s like, 'Well, do this,' and it's like, 'Fuck you! [laughs] I can’t do that! You’re Eddie Van Halen – how the Hell do I do that?'"
Despite this, Wolfgang was raised as a multi-instrumentalist, who is adept at drums, guitar, bass and keyboard/piano and, elsewhere in the interview, Wolfgang showed off the very first guitar that was gifted to him by his father.
"This is the first guitar of my dad's that he gave me. A lot of Van Halen fans will know that in the 'Panama' video he has two Kramer guitars — one that has '1984' written at the bottom and one has '5150' [written on the bottom]. This was the backup to the '5150' — the '5150' model is the one he plays in the 'Panama' video and I think he plays it in [the concert film recorded in 1986 and released in 1987] Live Without A Net."
Wolfgang then relayed the guitar was given to him at Christmas at a very young age.
The video for "Distance," which was released earlier this week, came with an emotional video tribute to Eddie as clips of home video recordings progressed through Wolfgang and his father's relationship together through the years. The tribute is capped off with a voicemail recording Eddie left Wolfgang, stating how proud he was of his son and to call him soon because he misses his voice.
Within one day, "Distance" ascended to No. 1 on the Apple Music Charts, above new releases by mainstream mega-stars Billie Eilish and Chris Stapleton.
Wolfgang Van Halen on Howard Stern
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