Wolfgang Van Halen has responded to criticism of this year’s Grammy Awards ceremony, after The Recording Academy’s tribute to his late father Eddie Van Halen fell short of many fans’ expectations.
In the ceremony, hosted by Daily Show presenter Trevor Noah, a short clip of Eddie Van Halen performing Eruption was played while a spotlight shone on one of his familiar striped guitars.
The segment was greeted with dismay by many fans, with broadcaster Eddie Trunk tweeting, “So in a more than three hour show, with five months to prepare, this is all Grammy could muster for one of the most iconic impactful artists in music history. They reached new levels of shame and disrespect. I am beside myself. Fuck the Grammys.”
Now Wolfgang has revealed that he was invited to perform at the event, posting a message on social media to say, “The Grammys asked me to play Eruption for the ‘In Memoriam’ section and I declined. I don’t think anyone could have lived up to what my father did for music but himself.”
However, Wolfgang went on to convey his own disappointment at the coverage, saying, “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 realise that they would only show pop for 15 seconds in the middle of four 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.”
Wolfgang ended on a conciliatory note, saying, “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.”
In November, Wolfgang told the Howard Stern Show, “I’m not my dad. I’m not going to replace him. I’ve spent my life making sure I’m not like him and I’m my own person.”
He went on to explain how Eddie would have encouraged him to pursue his own path instead of following in his father’s footsteps: “He’d be like, ‘What the fuck are you doing? Go do your own shit!’”
At the awards themselves, Body Count won the best metal performance award, for Bum-Rush, while Best Rock Album went to The Strokes for The New Abnormal.