Van Halen Fans ‘Got Three Extra Tours’ Because of Wolfgang
While the 30-year-old musician told The Washington Post that he believed he’d never stop receiving hate messages from people who resented him replacing Michael Anthony in 2007, his mom argued that there would have been no Van Halen at all without his addition to the lineup.
“In the beginning, when Ed and I were still together and Wolfie showed an aptitude for music, Ed would beam,” Valerie Bertinelli said. “That’s all he ever wanted. He wanted somebody to play with.” She recalled that Eddie watched his son’s band rehearsing in 2018 and asked her: “Can you believe this kid?”
Her brother Pat, who worked on the 2007 road trip, added: “The only person who could actually get through Ed’s head was Wolf.” The article noted a moment when, disgusted by Eddie’s drunkenness onstage, Wolfgang refused to take his hand at the final bow – an incident that led directly to Eddie going to rehab and giving up alcohol for good.
John Shanks, who coproduced Van Halen’s final album, A Different Kind of Truth, was present when Wolfgang pushed his father into revisiting songs and sounds he’d made in the ‘70s. “He knew where the pearls were buried,” Shanks noted. “Wolfie is the historian of their catalog. Sometimes it’s very helpful to have someone who’s in the club, but objective, to say, ‘Dad, you know what people really want to hear.’”
“Van Halen does not make a final record without Wolfie," Bertinelli added. "They got three extra tours out of Van Halen because of Wolf.”
Wolfgang admitted that he was suffering “really weird, almost like PTSD-esque” symptoms as a result of his dad’s death. He’d first become concerned about Eddie’s health when his coughing became uncontrollable in 2017; at that point, he put his own career on hold. “Now I feel like I can’t watch like an episode of Family Guy without, like, Peter, the dad ending up in a hospital," he said. "It just echoes back to everything, every little moment. Even sometimes if I just hear a cough, it’ll make me think of dad coughing and how bad those bad times were.”
Noting that he sometimes replied to angry comments from Van Halen fans online, Wolfgang said: “People are always like, ‘Why do you do that? If you ignore it, it’ll go away.’ … That is not true. I’ve been receiving this hate for 14 years now, and if you ignore it, it’s still there, which is why I’m just enjoying myself.”