Wolfgang Van Halen said his father Eddie Van Halen was brought to tears the first time he heard his son’s song “Distance”.
“I remember when I showed it to dad for the first time, maybe it was out of pride or also just the song in general, he cried when he heard it,” Wolfgang told HardDrive Radio‘s Lou Brutus in a recent interview. “I don’t think he was aware of the significance of it for me; he just understood it as a song about loss.”
Wolfgang said “Distance” was written during the time his father was struggling with cancer. After he passed Wolfgang decided it was more important than ever to complete the song.
“That song was just kind of an expression of where I was in the moment and imagining what….whenever the awful thing does happen what I’d feel like without him in my life and it turns out I hit the nail on the head pretty much,” said Wolfgang. “When I listen to the song after everything happened it had hit me in a completely different way.
“And that song wasn’t done yet,” he continued. “So it was like, ‘I think I need to finish this and put it out for him as a tribute and have the proceeds go to his favorite charity [Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation] and it can be just like this last little gift for him.'”
Mammoth WVH – “Distance”:
Wolfgang added that dedicating “Distance” to his father was a fitting way of saying goodbye to the man who, himself, dedicated a song to his son in 30 years ago. Eddie titled the instrumental “316” from Van Halen’s 1991 album ‘For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge’ after the birth date of Wolfgang – March 16th, 1991.
Wolfgang said, “I saw a comment somewhere where it’s almost poetic in a way where when I was born he dedicated ‘316’ to me and when he left us I dedicated ‘Distance’ to him.”
Van Halen – “316”: