It's been awhile. And Rolling Stone provided us a shot of the Van Halen 2007 lineup. I wrote this to a friend regarding the pic and how Wolfgang Van Halen looks older than we imagined he might. And of course, my thoughts on all the debate about Wolfie being the bass player, when it should be original bassist Michael Anhtony, who's been in the band all along, and now out because of bullshit with Eddie and Al. Whatever it is.
I'm thinking that Wolfie being 15 and the son of a rock star in 2007, he more than anyone is handy with a computer and internet, he grew up with one. He likely knows more than anyone how much hatred is probably being aimed his way. Rich rock star kid or not, if you were 15 and knew 30 years worth of diehard fans (who he grew up seeing hate Sammy and expecially Gary), and now HE's the orange among the apples? He spent his dinner table conversations growing up listening to Mom and Eddie deal with all that new singer backlash.
Then again, to play Devil's Advocate, how mad would we be if it wasn't Wolfie? If it's not going to be MA for whatever reasons, think about how pissed we'd be if it was someone like GnR's bassist, one of the Velvet Revolver pukes, or some L. A. session f*ck? Track record or not, in my opinion, if it's gonna be someone not MA, Wolfie is the next best potential candidate from a "keeping it in the family" perspective. (I know, I know... the pun, har har.)
I don't get a sense that Eddie and Al would strategically use him like this just for that PR reason. God damn'em if they are, just to keep the upper hand from a PR spin standpoint.
Then again - many of my friends and I have been in bands and understand that bands and rock and roll are petty activities at best - it's just a rock band. And if Wolfie can play bass and is a prodigy as much as Eddie proclaims, it totally makes sense. How much crap have we musicians dealt with in finding replacement players? Wolfie has no baggage, what 15 year old doesn't want to go on tour and rock out?, there's no worries on whether he'll make it to practice or not, no wife and family to deal with... the real world stuff that can get in the way of a band's progress.
For all the ridiculousness the VH family has brought to us VH fans, my spidey-sense tingles that Wolfie is going to impress us, whether we want to be or not. There's something in Eddie's voice, the words he chooses (and can't choose) when he talks about it. I've been listening to Eddie talk for years, I've heard him make banter, I've heard him make excuses out of nervousness, I've heard him cut right to it. And whether stupid reasonings or not, later on when everything shook out, in hindsight his comments were consistent with what went down. I think he's a an emotional savant, like the Trey Anastasio's of the world. 110% in touch with their emotions which comes thru in the awesome music, maybe not the best critical thinkers (and that emotionalism gets them into trouble to keep that circuit hot. Usually it's drugs.)
Anyway, point is - I believe Eddie when he talks about how good Wolfie is. Not because I want to believe it, or because he should because he's his Dad, but because Eddie talks about it in this way where he's still kinda weirded out about it. I've heard Eddie talk of other players, the way he grants compliments or praises their styles and chops. Gushing Dad's aren't at a loss for words, it just pours out from my experience. They might stammer because they don't want to seem gushing. When Eddie talks about Wolfie, it's like he's still getting his head around it. That he actually has a son, and his son can actually play.
It should be MA on the tour. Period.
It's gonna be Wolfie.
Might as well get used to it.
And who knows - it might be Wolfie who acts as the innocent bridge who brokers a peace between his Dad/Uncle and MA. Maybe Wolfie won't handle the tour rigors or freaks out. Maybe it's him saying "Dad I can't handle the backlash, I'm just a f*cking kid. Get over your sh*t and get Uncle Mike out here. For me."
"After School Special"-ish I know... but Roth and Sammy toured together. We've seen weirder. At the end of the day, Wolfie is the last final straw in Eddie and Al's life. It ain't Valerie anymore, or one of Al's ex-wives. Wolfie is the barometer. And if he bails, Eddie's emotionalism won't handle it, they'll either get MA or call it off. If they didn't they'd be absolute bastards.
I'm going to give Wolfie a chance. He's the only person I would if it ain't going to be Michael Anthony.
Ah, Van Halen.
Oy f*cking vei... again.
I think the best part is that I think Wolfie and Roth will bond like nobody will believe. Remember how much you and Dave bonded when YOU were 15?