The legendary rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen tragically passed away last month at the age of 65 after a battle with cancer. Now, his 29 year-old son Wolfgang is speaking out to open up about why he knows that it will be “impossible” to ever replace his late father in his band Van Halen.
“No way. That’ll never happen,” Wolfgang said when asked by Entertainment Tonight if he can ever replace his dad. He added that this has been “the worst month of my life” in the wake of his passing.
“I think a message to the Van Halen fans [would be that] some things just really suck,” Wolfgang said. “I don’t have a dad anymore and I have to figure out how to process that and deal with it. And, that’s the process that Van Halen fans need to go through and realize that you can’t have the band anymore without Eddie Van Halen. The music will live on forever, but you can’t have [the band] without him. Impossible.”
“My dad would probably be really pissed off at me if I [took his place,]” he added. “He’d probably be like, ‘What are you doing playing my stuff? Go do your stuff.’ He would’ve been really upset, like, ‘You have all this music you’re sitting on. Why wouldn’t you go forward with that?’”
This comes after Wolfgang released his new song “Distance,” which is dedicated to his dad. The music video for the song features home videos of his father, and it ends with a touching voicemail that Eddie once left for him.
“He used to leave me messages like that all the time,” Wolfgang said. “There wasn’t a specific occasion that warranted that voicemail — that’s just how loving and amazing he was. He said stuff like that all the time and luckily, going through my phone, I found a couple of voicemails that were wonderful.”
“I thought that one was a really great way to cap the video off, to really show people how loving of a father he was,” he continued.
Wolfgang said that watching the video was emotional for him and his mother, the actress Valerie Bertinelli.
“All I had to do was walk into her house and say, ‘Hey, I have the video,’ and she started crying before she even watched it,” he said. “She’s watched it countless times. She’s probably downstairs on the couch right now watching it. She has been my biggest supporter through all of this.”
In the end, Wolfgang believes that his father was “the Mozart of our generation.”
“I think the way we look back at people like Mozart and Beethoven — you put that amount of time ahead of us and I think people will still be looking back at him,” he explained. “[The way he played] was amazing. It rubbed off on me because that’s all I wanted to do. That’s all I’m going to do — play music.