Wolfgang Van Halen Speaks Up on Online Hate He Gets for Being Eddie Van Halen’s Son, Says He Has Trouble Dealing With It

Recently, Guitar World published a brand new interview with Wolfgang Van Halen, the leader of Mammoth WVH and son of guitar legend Eddie Van Halen. Among other things, one thing he discussed was dealing with online trolls and some hate he gets for being Eddie’s son and working in music. When asked about the “pressure of upholding the family name,” online bullying, and how he deals with it, Wolfgang replied:

“I won’t lie. I don’t think my emotional and mental wellbeing have been any lower. It’s a thing that is incredibly tough to fight. In the absence of Dad, and everything that has happened, it’s very difficult.

“The lucky thing is I have a wonderful support system surrounding me. I have my mother, my uncle Patrick, my fiancée Andraia, so many wonderful people I can lean toward, because I certainly don’t have the emotional strength. There’s many times when I don’t have the strength to do anything, and more than not, that seems to be the case.

Wolf Van Halen, Panama, Hot For Teacher, Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert, 27 September 2022

“But you’ve got to find the things that give you life. For me, that’s music and being able to wake up every day and think about how I’m going to create this second album. It’s stressful, but it’s also very exciting, and it’s what I put all my thinking into.

Anyone following Wolfgang Van Halen’s work might know of his social media presence and some of the bullying that he’s been a target of. Over the past few years, he’s learned not to pay too much attention to it and, as he says, he picks his battles. He continued:

“When it comes to dickheads on the internet, that’s always there. Everyone deals with it. Sure, it hurts a lot when it’s directed toward you, but you’ve got to realize the place it’s coming from.

“I like to pick my battles. I like to find the right time to chirp and say something funny, but sometimes you do feel that need to be like, ‘Fuck off.’ And you can do that every now and then.

“But all in all, it says so much more about them than it does about you that they go out of their way. You can point them out, too, because you’ll see their profile and you can almost always predict what’s going to be filling their timeline.

“When it comes to people who feel the same way I do, dealing with depression and anxiety, you never really are alone. Unfortunately, it’s like we’re all alone together, because so many of us feel this way.

“I work through a lot of it through music, and I have a lot to work through this time around. I’m cautiously optimistic and also dreading it at the same time, because I have to go to a lot of places emotionally and mentally to get to the other side of this album and have a finished, complete thing. But I think it will be good for me because that’s the same thing that happened with the first album. It was a very therapeutic, cathartic experience.” 

Wolfgang Van Halen - Mammoth WVH: Distance (Official Music Video)

Elsewhere in the chat, Wolf was also asked about the guitarist of the year and he replied:

“I’d like to point out one of my favorite guitar players currently. His name is Aaron Marshall and he has a band called Intervals. Their most recent album is called ‘Circadian,‘ and came out in 2020. He is one of my favorite guitar players. On top of that, he’s a wonderful man, a very kind dude. I feel like I have become a better guitar player because I’ve tried to learn all the songs on that album.

“He has such a wonderful melodic sensibility that is so different from people in his genre of the heavier, progressive, metal-y rock sort of thing. It really separates him from everyone else. I can’t speak enough of how wonderful a guitar player and songwriter he is.”

Photo: Thomson200 (2021 Shaky Knees – Mammoth WVH (1) Wolfgang Van Halen (cropped)), Abby Gillardi (Van Halen-8597 (20643101375))

David Slavkovic

David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor.

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