They say those who can't teach, do. And that was true of Eddie Van Halen, at least when it came to giving guitar lessons to his son.
Wolfgang Van Halen is often asked by Van Halen fans what kind of mind-blowing insight his legendary dad gave him about playing guitar. But unfortunately, according to Wolfie, his dad was never really capable of verbalizing his guitar mastery — or even slowing down his musical brain enough to relate to a beginner.
Beyond a few AC/DC riffs his dad showed him, Wolfie is almost completely self-taught on every instrument he plays.
"I'll ask him to play something and then he just proceeds to be Eddie Van Halen, and that's a very tough bar to reach as a beginner," Wolfgang told Howard Stern of his first guitar lesson. "He's like, 'Well do this!' And it's like, 'Well, f--k you! I can't do that. You're Eddie Van Halen! How the hell do I do that?!'"
While Eddie might not have been much of a teacher, Wolfie clearly understood from an early age that his dad was a wizard of a musician. The younger Van Halen kept his eyes and ears open when Eddie played music around him, and he absorbed as much as he could.
Over the last year, Woflgang has used his social media to show fans the proper way to play the keyboard intro to "Jump" and shared his admittedly limited knowledge of his dad's piano intro to "Right Now."
Having worked for several years to find his sound as a solo artist, Wolfgang says he was sometimes confronted with the idea that some of his music can tend to sound Van Halen-y. He told Rolling Stone that most of his music doesn't resemble Van Halen, but when it does, he has a simple equation for determining where the line is.
"It's pretty much just, 'Do I like this idea or not?'" he said. "I think there actually was an idea, or at least one melodic part on a song where [producer Michael 'Elvis' Baskette] said 'You know, that sounds very Van Halen-y.' I was like, 'Yeah, you're right.' I guess I can't avoid it. It's in my blood."
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