“Don’t Back Down” was originally made available in March was described at the time as “the anthemic single for rock radio” catering to “the fans of the harder sound of MAMMOTH WVH.” It was also accompanied by a music video that saw four Wolfgang Van Halens (plus two more on production duties) performing the single at 5150 Studios, the legendary facility built by his father, late VAN HALEN guitarist Eddie Van Halen.
Wolfgang, who joined his father in VAN HALEN for the band’s 2007 reunion tour with singer David Lee Roth, replacing Michael Anthony, recently told Raul Amador of Bass Musician Magazine about the fact that he played all the instruments on “Mammoth WVH”: “I think it’s gonna be a bit of a surprise for people who think that I only play bass. I started writing music on my own way back in 2013, after the second VAN HALEN tour. I taught myself Logic [recording software]. I knew enough to realize an idea on my own computer, so I would just kind of write. And then I got in the studio in 2015 with my producer, Elvis Baskette, and engineer, Jef Moll. And between the three of us, over the next couple of years, we tracked a bunch of songs. And then I went on tour again with VAN HALEN. And then I came back, and I’d written a bunch of songs on tour, and so we recorded even more. So we just kind of kept recording more and more songs until we ended up finishing in July of 2018. So, yeah, it took a while. [Laughs]”
Wolfgang also talked about his lyrical approach on the MAMMOTH WVH album, saying: “I think the lyrics were a new opportunity for me to kind of convey emotion past just performance-wise, so I’m sure I leaned a bit heavier in that respect. ‘Cause playing everything on my own — normally when you’re playing on something, you almost kind of wanna show off a little bit more, ’cause it’s, like, ‘This is my one opportunity, ’cause I’m just playing the bass or guitar’ or whatever. But when you’re playing everything, if you [went crazy] on every instrument, it would just be ridiculous. So the challenge and enjoyment I got out of it was trying to construct good songs, just for what would benefit the song. ‘Cause I feel like a lot of musicians go, like, ‘What can I do so I can point at that later and go, ‘Listen to me. See what I did?” But with this, it’s, like, what can I do for the betterment of the song in every aspect. So, yeah, that was a fun little thing to be able to do, with getting emotions across and playing and lyrics and vocals and stuff like that.”
Last November, 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 Roth first joined it in 1974.
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MAMMOTH WVH will support GUNS N’ ROSES a U.S. tour, beginning on July 31 at Hersheypark Stadium and concluding in early October with a two-night run at the Hard Rock Live Arena in Hollywood, Florida.
MAMMOTH WVH‘s touring lineup will feature Wolfgang on guitar and lead vocals, Frank Sidoris (SLASH FEATURING MYLES KENNEDY AND THE CONSPIRATORS) on guitar, Jon Jourdan on guitar and vocals, Garrett Whitlock (TREMONTI) on drums, and Ronnie Ficarro on bass.