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The Story of Eddie Van Halen’s Son Wolfgang Van Halen

Today on Rock N’ Roll True Stories, they take a look at Van Halen bass player Wolfgang, whose the son of guitarist Eddie Van Halen. Check it out below!

What’s going on my fellow rock n’ rollers
don’t forget to hit the bell notification

icon to be notified every time i upload a
new video on my channel. I’ve talked a lot

about Eddie Van Halen over the past week and
even the last year and a half on my channel,

but I wanted to focus on something different
today. I wanted to talk about Eddie’s son

Wolfgang who a lot of people don’t know
much about. Stay tuned to find out the story

of Wolfgang Van Halen

Eddie Van Halen would meet actress Valerie
Bertinelli in 1980 at a Van Halen concert

in Shreveport, Louisiana. They would get married
in California a year later and had their only

child, a son named Wolfgang who was born in
1990. He was named after the musical composer

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Wolfgang would tell LouderSound in 2012 that
he didn’t really know his father was a famous

musician until he picked up CD’s as a kid
and saw his Dad’s picture on the cover.

Another moment that stuck with him as a kid
was when he returned home from a trip with

his family and saw the flashing lights from
the papparazzi at LAX Airport.

Wolfgang would reveal that his father never
pressured him to play music and he would get

the music bug from watching Van halen rehearse
when he was a kid and playing on his uncle

Alex Van Halen’s drum kit. He would start
playing drums at the age of 9 before moving

onto guitar and finally bass. He would cite
Les Claypool of Primus, Justin Chancellor

from Tool, The Who’s John Entwistle, and
Cream’s Jack Bruce as his influences. And

It wouldn’t be long until he was jamming
with his Father.

Van Halen fans though wouldn’t get acquanted
with Eddie’s son until 2006 when it was

announced that he would replace longtime bassist
Michael Anthony. In fact the news came as

a shock to Anthony who admitted in an interview
that he learned about his dismissal by reading

an online article, but he would stick up for
Wolfgang in 2007 saying “Wolfgang is a great

kid, so don’t judge him too harshly. I’m sure
he’ll do just fine!!.” Now keep in mind

Wolfgang was only 16 when he first became
a member of Van Halen.

Filmmaker Andrew Bennett who worked with the
band in the 2000’s remembered hearing the

news saying Eddie called him up and said “Hey,
Andrew. I kicked the f–king bass player [Michael

Anthony] out of my band, and I’m replacing
him with my kid Wolfgang. You should come

up here and document this.” And the filmmaker
would go on to talk about how Eddie would

treat Wolfgang in the band and how the band’s
new bass player seemed bored and sad during

the first tour with the group in 2007 &-2008

I’ve never seen Eddie that happy. It was
his style to be like, “You are a member of

Van Halen, so live up to it.” Wolfgang was
expected to be at every rehearsal from the

beginning to end. If he f–ked up, Ed would
tell him

There were a lot of days where Wolfgang would
ask if they were done playing. Ed would tell

him, “We’re playing three more. Stand
up.” He seemed like a really bored teenager

working a summer job. He never complained,
but he didn’t look like he was having the

time of his life either. Eddie’s ex Valerie
[Bertinelli] would drop him off at rehearsal,

which we all thought was hilarious. Not only
are you too young to be in this band, your

mom had to drop you off at practice.” And
the filmmaker would go on to explain how at

this time Eddie was still heavily drinking
and it created tension between him and his

ex-wife Bertinelli who filed for divorce 2
years prior in 2005 and that awkward relationship

took a toll on Wolfgang.

The band would announce in 2007 that they
would be doing their first tour with frontman

David Lee Roth in over 20 years. And the tour
would represent Wolfgang’s first concerts

with the band. Many fans were angered over
the fact that Michael Anthony was absent from

the tour, but it was still commercially successful.
Following the tour, the band intended to record

a new album of material but Eddie wanted his
son to first finish school first according

to an interview he gave to Guitar World.
By 2009 Van Halen turned its attention to

writing their first brand new record in over
a decade and their first with Roth since 1984.

A lot of the songs originated from leftover
demos from the 70’s and 80’s. And during

the recording Wolfgang would co-produce the
album with the bassist telling Loudersound

“I guess dad likes to think of me as some
sort of leader now. He was always going, “Do

we have to do that? Are you sure?” I’d
be like, “Yes, we should rehearse this,

let’s do this, let’s change that, how
about this?” I assumed that position.”

The same year Van Halen would get their very
own Guitar Hero game and Wolfgang would be

a playable avatar instead of longtime bassist
Michael Anthony. The game was slammed by critics

for it’s tracklist which only consisted
of 25 songs from van halen tracks which were

all from the David Lee Roth era. The fact
that the game omitted Michael Anthony and

the Sammy Hagar era of of the band resulted
in poor reviews in addition to the fact that

the gameplay remained relatively unchanged
from previous versions of the series. Also

not helping was the fact that the tracklist
also featured bands who had nothing to do

with Van Halen including Yellowcard and Fountains
of Wayne. The game would prove to be dead

on arrival as Activision, the game’s publisher,
knew it was tracking poorly from pre-orders

and literally gave it away for free to people
who pre-ordered Guitar Hero 5 that season.

Fast forward now to 2012 and Van Halen released
their first album with Wolfgang called a Different

Kind of Truth which sold quite well and the
band hit the road to support the album. The

same year Wolfgang would also join the rock
band Tremonti and serve as a member until

2017. Van Halen would go on tour once more
time in 2015 and in July 2020, Rolling Stone

reported that Wolfgang was in fact working
on his debut solo album, with the musician

“I’m fully prepared for a wave of hate when

my music releases because it won’t be what
people think it’ll be. I’m not trying to be

my father; I’m trying to be me” he’d say
And we learned a year ago that his father

was battling throat cancer and just last week
he passed away at the age of 65.

Wolfgang shared the news of his loss via Instagram:

“I can’t believe I’m having to write this,
but my father, Edward Van Halen, has lost

his long and arduous battle with cancer this
morning. He was the best father I could ever

ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him
on and off stage was a gift. My heart is broken

and I don’t think I’ll ever fully recover
from this loss. I love you so much, Pop” he’d


That does it for today’s video guys. Thanks
for watching. Be sure to hit the like button

and subscribe And if you guys have suggestion
for future topics let me know in the comments

section below. Take care