Eddie Van Halen’s son Wolfgang Van Halen has turned down the chance to play his dad’s most famous guitar track at the Grammy Awards on Sunday night.
Wolfgang Van Halen was invited to play Eruption as part of the ceremony’s In Memoriam segment but he didn’t think it was appropriate for him to play the guitar great’s rock anthem.
Instead, Eddie, who died in October, was honoured with an archival clip at the 63rd annual Grammys, while John Prine, Little Richard, and Kenny Rogers received full tributes.
On Monday, Wolfgang, who replaced Michael Anthony as Van Halen’s bass player in 2007, issued a statement on Twitter criticising the way his father was saluted at the prizegiving, confirming he turned down the chance to honour him.
“The Grammys asked me to play ‘Eruption’ for the ‘In Memoriam’ section and I declined,” he wrote. “I don’t think anyone could have lived up to what my father did for music but himself.
“It was my understanding that there would be an ‘In Memoriam’ section where bits of songs were performed for legendary artists that had passed,” Wolfgang noted. “I didn’t realize that they would only show Pop for 15 seconds in the middle of 4 full performances for others we had lost.”
He continued: “What hurt the most was that he wasn’t even mentioned when they talked about artists we lost in the beginning of the show.”
Confessing that he is aware that rock “isn’t the most popular genre right now”, Wolfgang remarked: “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.
“I’m not looking to start some kind of hate parade here, I just wanted to explain my side. I know Pop would probably just laugh it off and say, ‘Ehh who gives a s**t?’ He was only about the music anyway. The rest didn’t matter.”
Wolfgang hopes the backlash linked to his father’s Grammys tribute will open lines of communication between himself and Grammy bosses about the future of rock music.
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