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My Opinion of Wolfgang Van Halen Just Got a Big Bump

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by OldFenderPlayer, Dec 3, 2019.

  1. A few years back, Bass Player Magazine interviewed Wolfgang Van Halen. I don't recall much from the interview because it was one of the few that I didn't read more than once, and I was not able to find it online today.

    I was ambivalent about the band politics of Michael Anthony out and a third member of the Van Halen family in. What turned me off was a comment Wolfgang made about not needing to know theory. Yeah, I know it was a teenager being interviewed, but I took offense to what I thought was a flippant response (yes, all Peter Cetera wants to know "is it a major or minor key" but even this shows far more interest and knowledge than Mr. Van Halen expressed). Since the interview I've been dismissive of the band Van Halen.

    Fast-forward to December 2019 and the controversy over 17-year-old singer-song writer Billie Eilish not knowing anything about the band Van Halen. While some on social media expressed outrage, Wolfgang showed wisdom and maturity when he tweeted:

    "If you haven’t heard of @billieeilish, go check her out. She’s cool. If you haven’t heard of @VanHalen, go check them out. They’re cool too. Music is supposed to bring us together, not divide us. Listen to what you want and don’t shame others for not knowing what you like."

    I think I'll see if Van Halen has a new CD out. Update: they don't.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2019
  2. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Now that VH is more or less on permanent hiatus, is Wolfie subbing in Eilish’s band?
    OldFenderPlayer likes this.
  3. crankypants


    Aug 12, 2019
    OldFenderPlayer likes this.
  4. My cat's breath smells like catfood.
  5. Clark Dark

    Clark Dark

    Mar 3, 2005

    5StringBlues and OldFenderPlayer like this.
  6. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Why should Billie know/care about Van Halen? I would imagine that the band is even irrelevant to her parents. On the other hand, I’ve been dismissive of the band since the late ‘80s. And that was 30 years ago.
    Bassdirty, MCF, Mr_Moo and 6 others like this.
  7. pigsonthewing


    Jul 7, 2009
    New Yawwk
    I think the reason people are taken aback is because she often wears band merch that is much more obscure than Van Halen (stuff like Type O Negative and Cradle of Filth), but I think it’s obvious that it’s just a fashion thing and she probably doesn’t even choose those outfits for herself.
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2019
    Mike Whitfield likes this.
  8. biguglyman


    Jul 27, 2017
    Rochester, NY
    I don't listen to REM for a similar reason. In an interview years ago when the interviewer asked (I think) Stipe about comparisons being made of their music to The Beatles, he said: "The Beatles? Who are they?" Needless to say this turned me right off REM. To each his own and I admire Wolfie's answer.
  9. GregC

    GregC Johnny and Joe Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 19, 2007
    Seems like different situations to me.
    I'm sure that was Stipe just messing with the interviewer. REM has acknowledged its debt to '60s music many times. They were doing Velvet Underground covers from the beginning. And I watched a 1984 concert recently where they did encores with both Roger McGuinn and John Sebastian.

    Also, for perspective: Stipe was born in 1960, so he certainly knew of the Beatles. Billie was born in 2001--Van Halen has released one album since then, and it still hasn't gone gold, never mind platinum. I think it's very realistic that she truly has not heard of VH.
  10. Michedelic

    Michedelic MId-Century Modern

    Yeah, I’d say that was a rhetorical “Beatles? Who are they?” out of Stipe. Keep in mind he was just the singer/lyricist. If born in ‘60, the Beatles were not going to be the ‘soundtrack of his life’; sure, he heard them growing up but it wouldn’t be as meaningful of an impact as whatever was going on in the early 70’s, Bowie or whoever. Guitarist Peter Buck, who is older and closer to my age, exhibits influences from The Byrds and Velvet Underground, and “South Central Rain” always sounded like a CCR song to me. They once cited English art/punk band Wire as an influence, which left me scratching my head, even though I love that band. Just didn’t hear it, but overall, I can see where the whole Punk revolution that happened before they formed would be more important to them. I was hearing Andy Williams in grade school(because of my mother), and I can’t say he’s any kind of influence(in other words, who is he to me?) although I always got a kick out of the English Beat covering “Can’t Get Used To Loosing You”.
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2019
    MCF, Guzzi Toad, Mr_Moo and 3 others like this.
  11. higain617


    Sep 12, 2013
    I can’t believe Billie Eilish wasn’t born in the 70’s. Outrageous! Why would a 17-year-old know Van Halen? Their peak came almost 20 years prior to her birth.

    My dad was a big Phil Collins fan, but let’s just say that I’m requiring a jacket.
  12. My dogs breath smells like catfood. He eats the cat's food.
  13. MCF


    Sep 1, 2014
    His mother raised him right. She was always the brains in that family.
  14. Wolfy can play. Billie can write. Put them together in Billie’s brother’s room (where her first record was recorded in case you didn’t know) Keep Billie’s Bro on acoustic guitar ( that’s how they wrote the songs for her debut). Dang - we may be on to something HUGE

    I’d buy that before I’d shell out to see Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Joan Jett and uhhhh... the other band with them....
    Mr_Moo and OldFenderPlayer like this.
  15. MotorCityMinion


    Jun 15, 2017
    uGGHH. My wife just entered a contest for tickets in Detroit. Now I gotta figure out how to weasel out of that one.
    The other band, never gonna happen.
    Joan Jett, perhaps in a small club.
    Def Leppard. Just burned out on the radio play.
    Motley, I like Tommy and Mick 's playing. Enough said.
    richntiff likes this.
  16. happygilmour

    happygilmour Supporting Member

    Feb 22, 2009
    Wilbraham, MA
    Have you seen the video of David Lee popping into a party at hotel room where he's staying. Van Halen is playing on the stereo. He thinks he's going to get a starry eyed rock star response. The kids just look at him like he's a creepy old man. lol
    bobba66, Bassdirty, higain617 and 2 others like this.
  17. Wolfie's just looking to score. Billie turns 18 this month. Don't ask me why I know that. o_O
    rufus.K likes this.
  18. mwbassace


    Jul 26, 2010
    N.W. Ohio
    I just listened to several of Billie's tunes & I don't hate it, but don't love it either. And the biggest reason is the heavily auto-tuned vocal effects & half-techno/clubish music. I would like to hear her (probably rather) with her brother on acoustic all stripped down. And as far as Wolfie, well can you say nepotism?
    Mr_Moo, IamGroot and OldFenderPlayer like this.
  19. mwbassace


    Jul 26, 2010
    N.W. Ohio
    I prefer this over what I've heard on the album.

    DrPieZon, Tommy V and OldFenderPlayer like this.
  20. iammr2


    Jun 10, 2002
    Agreed, but Billie Eilish is happened right now. I still don't know who she is.

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