Last September, Foo Fighters spearheaded two massive all-star tribute concerts for late drummer Taylor Hawkins (who died on March 25, 2022, at the age of 50). Among its most impressive performers was Mammoth WVH mastermind Wolfgang Van Halen, and in a new interview with 93X Radio (published on March 22), he reflected on the experience.
Specifically, host Pablo asked Van Halen what it felt like to play songs such as “On Fire,” “Panama” and “Hot For Teacher” alongside Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, drummer Josh Freese and The Darkness’ Justin Hawkins (who almost didn’t do it).
Van Halen explained: “It was – I’ll never forget it. At the same time, it went by so fast [that] I can’t even remember it. It was just all energy [laughs]. It was really, really crazy. It was one of the most special things I’ve ever had the opportunity to do.”
READ MORE: Wolfgang Van Halen Names His Two ‘Dream’ Bands to Tour With
Regarding whether or not it was “hard” and/or “emotional” to recreate those tracks (as Pablo put it), as well as how he got the gig in the first place, Van Halen confessed:
[It was] more difficult, just emotionally. I don’t think people realize how much I don’t listen to Van Halen anymore, especially. It’s not something – you know, I don’t know. It’s a tough thing. It’s a tough subject, but it felt like the right thing to do in the moment. Taylor would’ve been like, “Damn!” He would’ve been really, really stoked. From the one time I met him – he came to a Van Halen show in 2012 – he was just the coolest, most friendly guy. He left such a huge impression on me. . . . Dave texted me and I thought it was – I didn’t believe that it was him. I had to hit up Chris Shiflett ‘cause I’d just done his podcast. I was like, “Hey, is somebody punking me or this Dave?” He said, “Yeah, that’s Dave. You should hit him back [laughs].
He also confirmed that he has no plans to do something like that again.
Pablo spoke with Van Halen about touring with Metallica, too, plus his upcoming LP, Mammoth II (which arrives in August and was inspired by bands such as Meshuggah and Animals as Leaders).
Elsewhere, Van Halen talked about his stance on cover songs, and he’s also been busy destroying haters on Twitter (to the delight of, well, everyone). He’s also said that the Sammy Hager era of Van Halen “doesn’t get any respect,” as well as that his views on Eddie Van Halen’s “Frankenstein” guitar differed from those of his father.
You can watch his full interview with 93X Radio below.
Wolfgang Van Halen Talks about Playing the 2022 Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concerts (March 22, 2022)
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