Wolfgang Van Halen has revealed that his father Eddie was moved to tears upon first hearing Distance, the song VH Jr. subsequently released as the debut single from his solo band Mammoth WVH.
The emotional Distance was written while Wolfgang observed his ailing father’s battle with cancer, with lyrics centred around “imagining what my life would be without him, and how terribly I’d miss him,” as Wolfgang explained.
Speaking about the song to Lou Brutus of HardDrive Radio, Wolfgang said, “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. And I don’t think he was aware of the significance of it for me; he just understood it as a song about loss.”
Edward Van Halen passed away on October 6 last year, with his son Wolfgang and his wife Janie by his side. Wolfgang Van Halen subsequently broke the news of his passing on social media.
Wolfgang confesses that he was rather surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response to Distance.
“I think it allowed a sense of closure for many people, in a way, which was something I wasn’t expecting,” he said. “It was just kind of a thing for me to put out there and be, like, ‘Hey, this is for dad.’ But to see not only such a huge amount of people get closure for my father’s life, in a way, but to have so many people relate to it in general with a loss of their own, because this year has just been so awful.
“I tend to write my lyrics from a perspective where it’s, like, I may be drawing from a personal experience, but I like to write it in a way where somebody can derive their own meaning from it. And it was nice to see that happen to a certain extent, because I think anybody can relate to a monumental loss in their life.”
The debut album from Mammoth WVH is scheduled for release in 2021 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records.