After watching how his late father was honored at the 63rd annual awards show, Wolfgang Van Halen reveals that he was actually invited to play ‘Eruption’ for the special segment.
- Mar 16, 2021
Eddie Van Halen‘s son turned down the chance to play his dad’s most famous guitar track at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night, March 14. Wolfgang Van Halen was invited to play “Eruption” as part of the ceremony’s “In Memoriam” segment, but admits he didn’t think it was appropriate for him to play the guitar great’s rock anthem.
Instead, Eddie was honored with an archival clip at the 63rd annual Grammys, while John Prine, Little Richard, and Kenny Rogers received full tributes, prompting former Van Halen singer Gary Cherone to tweet, “Maybe an Artist that reimagined how one plays an instrument, who continues to influence generations of musicians and, literally changed the course of rock ‘n’ roll deserves more than fifteen seconds at the Grammys?”
On Monday, Wolfgang, who replaced Michael Anthony as Van Halen’s bass player in 2007, issued a statement criticising the way his father was saluted at the prizegiving, confirming he turned down the chance to honor him.
“The Grammys asked me to play ‘Eruption’ for the ‘In Memoriam’ section and I declined,” he wrote. “I don’t think anyone could have lived up to what my father did for music but himself.”
“It was my understanding that there would be an ‘In Memoriam’ section where bits of songs were performed for legendary artists that had passed. I didn’t realize that they would only show Pop for 15 seconds in the middle of 4 full performances for others we had lost.”
“What hurt the most was that he wasn’t even mentioned when they talked about artists we lost in the beginning of the show. I know rock isn’t the most popular genre right now, [and the academy does seem a bit out of touch] but I think it’s impossible to ignore the legacy my father left on the instrument, the world of rock, and music in general. There will never be another innovator like him.”
“I’m not looking to start some kind of hate parade here, I just wanted to explain my side. I know Pop would probably just laugh it off and say, ‘Ehh who gives a s**t?’ He was only about the music anyway. The rest didn’t matter.”
Wolfgang hopes the backlash linked to his father’s Grammys tribute will open lines of communication between himself and Grammy bosses about the future of rock music. “I’d love to get the opportunity to speak with The Recording Academy not only about the legacy of my father, but the legacy of the Rock genre moving forward,” he added.