Wolfgang Van Halen told Entertainment Tonight that while he needs to figure out how to move on without his father, Van Halen fans also need to do the same when it comes to their favorite band.
“I think a message to the Van Halen fans [would be that] some things just really suck,” said Wolfgang. “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.”
Wolfgang spoke with ET‘s Kevin Frazier during what he described as the worst month of his life. He said he’s been overwhelmed by the “monumental” amount of support from fans of his father.
As he had revealed in his recent interview with Howard Stern, Wolfgang told ET his father was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer in 2017 and told he had six weeks to live. Treatment in Germany helped him live longer. Wolfgang says spending time with his Dad during his final days was a blessing, but “really rough.”
“It just seems like he never got a break,” he said. “Things just kept piling on and piling on. The second he would get a wind, it was one step forward, two steps back. But for the worst situation and experience of my life, it couldn’t have gone smoother. I was very happy I was able to spend every second with him that I could.”
While he’s still coming to terms with life without his father, he is also addressing the recently fabricated rumor that claimed Van Halen would continue with Wolfgang replacing his father on guitar.
“No way. That’ll never happen,” said Wolfgang. “My Dad would probably be really pissed off at me if I [took his place]. 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?’
As for the music he’s been working on, fans have already had the chance to hear his debut single “Distance”. Next up will be a full-length studio album due out in the spring under the name Mammoth WVH. Wolfgang said his father was able to hear all of his son’s music including “Distance”, which Wolfgang dedicated to him.
“I don’t know what I would do if I was never able to hear him react to my music,” said Wolfgang. “I’m really blessed that I was able to experience that.”
Wolfgang said that the family may eventually organize a tribute show in honor of Eddie, with proceeds going toward his favorite charity, Mr. Holland’s Opus, which helps underprivileged students access musical instruments. Proceeds from the “Distance” single are also benefiting Mr. Holland’s Opus.
As for the “Distance” video, which features home video of Wolfgang with his parents Valerie Bertinelli and Eddie from infant to adulthood, it’s an emotional viewing for both himself and his mother.
“I cried every time. It’s very hard to watch,” said Wolfgang. “All I had to do was walk into [my Mom’s] house and say, ‘Hey, I have the video,’ and she started crying before she even watched it. 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.”