Wolfgang Van Halen: ‘It’s an Honor’ to Open for Guns N’ Roses
For leader Wolfgang Van Halen, part of the upcoming live experience will be familiar territory. “I’m really nervous, as always," he tells UCR. "I’m a very anxious person. But in a funny way, it’s very similar to how I started out in Van Halen, where the first show I played was at an arena in Charlotte, N.C. This time, it’s at a stadium in Hershey, Penn. So it’s following in a really funny way - but definitely still terrifying. It’s an honor to be there ... and I’m going to do my best.”
Seeing Guns N’ Roses live for the first time is also part of the appeal for Van Halen. “I’m actually very excited, just as a fan, to be able to see them," he says. “I knew they were going out, and it just kind of fell together really nicely by the time our stuff came out. I’ve known Slash for a while. Over the years, he’d come up to the studio, since I was a little kid, so I can’t even remember the first time I met him."
Van Halen does remember when he was introduced to Guns N’ Roses via Appetite for Destruction. “I think that whole album is phenomenal," he says. “At the time when they came out, they were just that much-needed ‘fuck you’ vibe. I loved their vibe.”
While the upcoming shows will be Mammoth WVH's first, the band made its public debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in February, performing its first single, “Distance.” Van Halen recorded the band's self-titled debut album, which arrives this week, on his own, but he's looking forward to playing the songs with a real band.
“It’s really exciting to see how the material lives in a live space,” he notes. “It’s really fun being able to recreate it. It’s going to live differently, obviously, because it’s different people playing it, but I’m so confident in how badass all of my guys are that it’s going to be really fun.”