Chris Difford and Wolfgang Van Halen

The American rocker joins Chris Difford for a chat about his musical family and career

Wolfgang Van Halen is the seventh guest on Series 4 of I Never Thought It Would Happen. Wolfgang grew up in a famous musical family, with his father Eddie and uncle Alex members of the acclaimed rock band Van Halen. Wolfgang would eventually join the group as a teenager and played bass until its disbandment in 2020.

Despite growing up in a family with a big reputation for rock music, as Wolfgang explains to Chris Difford, that wasn’t the only music he was interested in growing up. The first gig he went to that wasn’t associated with family was actually a Britney Spears concert — this anecdote is one of the podcast’s highlights.

Wolfgang’s main musical project is called Mammoth WVH, for which he writes all the music and records all the instruments. Although this sounds like quite a solitary endeavour, he has great relationships with the producers and engineers he works with — they are like the other half” of the band and he shares everything with them musically.

Mammoth are currently getting ready to go on tour and when the group are on the road, there are two main rules. Be on time and treat people with respect. Wolfgang opens up to Chris that since his father Eddie passed in 2020, he has missed him every day. He really wishes he could show his father what he is doing now with Mammoth – he thinks he would be proud.

Although Wolfgang has never really tried his hand at co-writing, when asked by Chris who he would most like to work with he namechecks Dave Grohl as someone he respects a great deal. Mammoth are opening for Foo Fighters in 2024 and he is still having to pinch himself that it is actually happening.

One really interesting recent collaboration however was when Wolfgang reveals he worked with Mark Ronson on the Barbie soundtrack. Mark asked him to play guitar on some songs and he loved the experience — at the moment Ryan Gosling gets his abs out, you hear a guitar solo – that is me.”

This week’s episode with Wolfgang Van Halen also features a contribution from a musician we have supported called Sid Goldsmith. Sid is a folk musician based in Oxford and a few years ago went through a really challenging period of poor mental health. Fortunately, he got in touch with our sister charity Music Minds Matter and was able to receive support which helped him to deal with the issues he had been battling.

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Series 4 and rest assured there are plenty more exciting episodes to come over the next few weeks. Make sure you listen and subscribe by following the links provided below.

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