The wait for the second Mammoth WVH album may be over soon. Wolfgang Van Halen says his second effort is near completion.
In a recent interview with Total Guitar, Wolfgang gave an update on the album, including what we’ll expect to hear and what it’s like using his father’s famous Frankenstein guitar on a few tracks.
Here is what Wolfgang had to tell Total Guitar‘s Amit Sharma:
Let’s get to the new music. It sounds like you’re almost finished and once again you played everything on the album…
“Yeah, I’ve almost finished it! Some people try to turn me playing everything into a negative thing, which surprises me! 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. 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.”
So what can we expect? Is there anything different in terms of style?
“It will always sound a bit similar, I guess, because the same dude is writing it! But I think on this current material, you can hear me challenging myself a bit more. I’ve gotten more confident and I know what the project is now, rather than trying to figure out what it was from the start, like on the first one.
“On the debut there was this width of what the project was – on the left you had songs like Distance and Circles, those softer vibes, and on the right you had tracks like Stone and The Big Picture. In the middle, there were songs like Mammoth or Epiphany and stuff like that. What I want to do with this album is widen what that breadth is.
“Further left, for example, there’s a song that’s all on piano… so it has more of a softer vibe. But on the right, there’s some really heavy sh*t in comparison to the debut! That’s what I find really exciting, it’s fun to stretch the definition of Mammoth on both sides.”
When we last spoke, you mentioned you’d used the Frankenstein on two tracks: Mammoth and Feel. Obviously it’s a guitar that’s kept very safely under lock and key, and rightly so. Very few people will ever get to see it, let alone play it, so could you tell us how it feels to hold in your hands in terms of weight, action and neck profile?
“Well, if anyone’s ever played the EVH Bumblebee reissue, it’s very similar to the Frankenstein profile. Dad was developing that neck at the same time, and hell, with the Frankenstein reissue it’s pretty much one-for-one. It’s very faithful to the original, which is obviously a lot older.
“You can feel the history sort of emanating out of the Frankenstein. Picking up that guitar is almost a religious experience, even if you’re not a religious person. You just kinda hold it and feel the history right there in your hands.
“It’s funny, when I started recording with it back in 2015, we pulled it out and Dad picked it up, played it for a second and then sorta just tossed it on the couch. Everybody in the room gasped! Because to us, it’s quite literally the most famous guitar in the existence of music, where to him it was this little piece of junk he put together. So that divide in opinion over it was funny to see!”
Well, he certainly got a lot of mileage out of it, and we’re guessing it’s been refretted a lot over the years!
“Oh yeah! He was constantly tinkering with it – that’s why it was called the Frankenstein! He was never satisfied.”
Mammoth WVH Performing “Mammoth” and “Mr. Ed” In Toronto (2/11/23)