I have been following the release of the new album by Wolfgang Van Halen, son of the guitar god, EVH, for some time. From a few teaser tracks, to some videos shared on Youtube, it was pretty exciting to see (hear really) this album coming together.
While I mostly listen via the streaming services, I do like to support the artists by purchasing the music, and this is one case where I was glad to open the wallet and plunk down my cash for a copy of the album on vinyl.
I am not a snob, I know that a high bit rate digital file that is mixed for digital sounds better. But I am a crusty old fart, and I like flipping albums on the turntable. Don’t @ me.
Today, I listened to it in its entirety for the first time, and I have to say, wow. Solid. Ballsy. Catchy. Great riffs. Very well written and produced.
I have seen some of the bullshit that the big Van Halen fans have been slinging at WVH, and honestly, they are full of crap. Of course Eddie was the GOAT, a true legend, an innovator of the techniques, and as a guitar player myself, I did a fair share of trying to copy and blend what little I was capable of from Eddie into my playing. It seems that a lot of the VH fandom wants Wolfgang to be a clone of his father.
Fuck that. Wolfgang has a great ear, some wicked styles, great influences, and like his pop, he is a multi-instrumentalist. In fact on this album, he wrote all the songs, played all the instruments, sang all the vocals, and in general put together a fucking amazing collection of kick ass, straight up rock and roll.
This is what it’s all about. Great tunes, solid writing, epic production values, and a first tour opening for GnR. It doesn’t get much better. An example? Try this:
Am I jealous that Wolfgang has all this talent? That he has access to the inimitable 5150 studios? That he has some of the coolest guitars (I see on his videos) in existence? Of course.
Am I pissed that he isn’t like his dad?
No, not one iota. Because Wolfgang is his own man, his own style. It isn’t Van Halen. That is done. There is a deep corpus of work that Eddie left behind. We all enjoy that. It is time to look to the future. And I like what I see and hear.
Listening to his tribute to his pop, “Distance” makes me emotional. It is that good.
GO. BUY. THIS. ALBUM!