Almost a year later, Wolfgang Van Halen still looks back on his Taylor Hawkins Tribute Concert appearances fondly.
In a recent conversation with Ultimate Classic Rock‘s Matt Wardlaw, Wolfgang opened up about his experience joining the Foo Fighters on stage at Wembley Stadium in London on September 3rd and the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California on September 27th to perform the Van Halen classics “Panama”, “Hot For Teacher” and “On Fire”. Below is an excerpt from that interview:
What was it like at the Taylor Hawkins tribute? You worked with the Darkness frontman Justin Hawkins.
Justin is a pro. We had only played it the day before the show together. Prior to going over to London, [drummer] Josh Freese, Dave [Grohl] and I had played a bunch at the Foos’ studio. But other than that, Justin came to a rehearsal space at Wembley and we played [our set] two or three times. Then we went to the stage for the dress rehearsal, played it once, and that was it. We came in the next day and did the show. Realistically, we played it together maybe five or six times and then we went right into it. I had practiced a lot at home. Because I knew, at least in my mind, mistakes were so dire that if I were to ruin it or not play it perfectly, my life would be over. [Laughs]
Why did you decide to perform those two Van Halen songs?
It just seemed like the right thing at the time. One, I felt like I could handle them. Two, I just really love those songs. They felt like the right epic sort of [songs]. Going back and looking at it, maybe subconsciously I picked “On Fire” for a reason because that was the very first song I ever played with Van Halen in December of 2006 when I was 15. That was the first song we played when Dave [David Lee Roth] came back. And then “Hot for Teacher.” Everybody knows and loves “Hot for Teacher,” and the ending is just so epic. It’s got a really iconic solo and intro. It just seemed like the right thing to do. I know Taylor would have loved it, and I know Dad would have been really proud.
Read Wardlaw’s entire UCR interview with Wolfgang HERE.
Watch Wolfgang Van Halen & Foo Fighters Performing “Hot For Teacher” (9/27/23)