WOLFGANG VAN HALEN Says Everybody In MAMMOTH WVH Gets Along Great: ‘I Think Drama Just Isn’t Worth It’

In a new interview with Long Island, New York’s 94.3 The Shark radio station, Wolfgang Van Halen spoke about the touring lineup of his MAMMOTH WVH solo project, which features 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. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I think we’ve actually been hitting a pretty great stride. I think everything I’ve been a part of — all the positives and negatives — have sort of influenced the way MAMMOTH operates. We don’t really have any room for personalities to make it a hard time [and make you] feel like you’re walking on eggshells. I think drama just isn’t worth it. [Laughs] And if you could just get together and have a good time with your friends and make some music, I think that’s all that really matters.”

Asked how he goes about picking a touring band that can reproduce his songs perfectly live considering that he has played all of the instruments on MAMMOTH WVH‘s first two studio albums, Wolfgang said: “I think that’s not as important to me. I picked these guys from the beginning, and as long as they wanna be in the band, being the live band, they’re gonna be the dudes, because I believe in them and I trust them. They’re amazing players, and I think it’s important that they sort of inject themselves into the material so it kind of breathes a little differently live. It’s kind of like how NINE INCH NAILS, Trent [Reznor] kind of does stuff in the studio and then he hires this kick-ass band and they kind of reinterpret all the material live. It’s sort of [similar to] that.”

This past December, MAMMOTH WVH announced headline tour dates for 2024 in support of its second album, “Mammoth II”. The first leg, scheduled for February 21 to March 10, will mark the return of special guest Nita Strauss. The second leg, scheduled for May 4 to May 17, will welcome rockers INTERVALS as special guests.

“Mammoth II” was released in August 2023 via BMG. The 10-track record was recorded at the legendary 5150 studio and was produced by Wolfgang‘s friend and collaborator Michael “Elvis” Baskette.

Earlier last year, Wolfgang was asked in an interview with Planet Rock‘s Wyatt Wendels if he sees MAMMOTH WVH as a solo project or as a band, especially since he plays all instruments and handles lead vocals on MAMMOTH WVH‘s albums. “What would you call NINE INCH NAILS?” the ex-bassist of the band VAN HALEN and son of the late guitarist Eddie Van Halen asked Wyatt, to which Wendels replied, “A band.” Van Halen continued: “Then, yeah, I call it a band. Trent kind of goes in, does his thing, has a band [playing with him live]… I guess I see it as a band, even though I guess some could argue it’s a solo thing. I don’t know. It’s kind of both. [Laughs]”

In December 2022, Wolfgang defended his decision to once again play all instruments on MAMMOTH WVH‘s second album, “II”, telling Ireland’s Overdrive: “I know it may come across as selfish [laughs], but that’s just the way that it works for me. I like to completely immersive myself in the music — in all aspects of it. I think a lot of people have tried to turn it into something else, saying things like, ‘Oh it’s because he doesn’t want to pay other musicians,’ and it’s not that at all. This is just something for me. It’s a sacred experience for me. It’s my project, and an artistic outlet for me and my mental well-being. I’m so luck that I have this incredible live band that just slays live, so I get to bring this creation to life on stage. I suppose, it’s kind of like NINE INCH NAILS, in the way that Trent Reznor creates all the music, records it, produces it, et cetera, and then he has this band that can bring it to life when needed. I’m not comparing myself to Trent, but it’s more the interesting duality to this approach, which is so much fun, and deeply satisfying.”

Wolfgang made similar comments in March 2023 in an interview with U.K.’s Total Guitar magazine. “Some people try to turn me playing everything into a negative thing, which surprises me,” he said. “It’s like they think I won’t let other people play on it or something like that. But really this is what MAMMOTH is and always has been; it’s my artistic expression.

“I’ve been in bands before where you collaborate and that’s not what this is,” he explained. “I have a live band, but in the studio I do everything and have a fun time doing it. I enjoy being able to express myself musically in every avenue.”

In November 2020, 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 Van Halen and Alex Van Halen‘s band was called MAMMOTH when singer David Lee Roth first joined it in 1974.

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