Van Halen ended as a band with the 2020 passing of guitarist Eddie Van Halen, but tensions between the surviving members appear to be very much alive.
Singer David Lee Roth launched a broadside on YouTube Wednesday (Jan. 24) against Eddie’s son, Wolfgang Van Halen, who played bass with the band from 2007 to 2015 and is currently finding success with his own band, Wolfgang WVH. In his video, Roth repeatedly calls Wolfgang “this fuckin’ kid,” as well as a “schlemiel” (“fool” in Yiddish), mocks him for benefiting from nepotism, and gripes about Wolfgang allegedly ordering the removal of an accountant from a backstage area after supposedly mistaking her for Roth’s girlfriend. A representative for Wolfgang Van Halen wasn’t immediately available for comment.
The video begins with a vicious mock interview that paints Wolfgang — who replaced original Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony — as “Jesus Christ.”
“Bro, I want people to know I got this job because of my talent,” faux-Wolfgang says. “I would have this job anyway, even if my dad wasn’t God. I just want people to know I got this job because of my talent.” A rep for David Lee Roth didn’t have any additional comment.
Roth then mocks Wolfgang for supposedly claiming the singer didn’t pay enough attention to him onstage and then embarks on an anecdote about Wolfgang supposedly taking revenge on Roth by having a woman watching the band from the side of the stage thrown out of two concerts. As Roth tells it, Wolfgang believed the woman was Roth’s girlfriend, but she was, in fact, the accountant in charge of payroll for the whole tour, and the Van Halen family had allegedly failed to get her free tickets.
Wolfgang has avoided direct criticism of Roth, though he did imply in a 2022 Rolling Stone interview that the singer was the reason a planned tribute concert for Eddie Van Halen didn’t happen. “There are some people that make it very difficult to do anything when it comes to Van Halen,” Wolfgang said. “From my time in Van Halen, there was always some stuff that gets in the way from just making music and having a good time. And, I think that’s what happened…. The fact that in my tenure, in Van Halen, we managed to do three tours, put an album of original material and a live album out is a fucking miracle… Apparently, some people are too full of themselves to let other people have a good time.”
Wolfgang’s one-man band, Mammoth WVH (which has a touring line-up, and released its second album, Mammoth II, last year) is playing Jimmy Kimmel Live tonight. Friday (Jan. 26) would’ve been Eddie Van Halen’s 69th birthday.