A father’s love never dies.
Wolfgang Van Halen, bassist for the band Van Halen and son of the late rock god Eddie Van Halen, released his first solo song and its accompanying music video Monday.
“No matter what the distance is, I will be with you,” Wolfgang Van Halen sings to his dad in ‘Distance.’ “No matter what the distance is, you’ll be OK.”
Van Halen wrote the track while his father was battling throat cancer and recorded the track under the name Mammoth WVH (a nod to the Van Halen band’s original name). Although he sings the raspy, emotional lead and plays all of the instruments, the song has the feel of a full band.
“I’m so happy you’ve found a place that’s better for you than this rock we’re living on,” Wolfgang Van Halen sings. “I’m so nervous. Don’t know my place. A life without you — I’m not ready to move on.”
The accompanying video was stitched together from tender home videos of a young Eddie Van Halen meeting, loving and raising his only son.
“As my pop continued to struggle with various health issues, I was imagining what my life would be like without him and how terribly I’d miss him,” Wolfgang, 29, wrote in a YouTube caption. “While the song is incredibly personal, I think anyone can relate to the idea of having a profound loss in their life.
“I never intended ‘Distance’ to be the very first piece of music people would hear from me, but I also thought my father would be here to celebrate its release,” he continued. “This is for him. I love and miss you, Pop.”
Eddie Van Halen died at 65 in early October. His son broke the news on social media, writing, “He was the best father I could ever ask for. Every moment I’ve shared with him on and offstage was a gift.”
All proceeds from ‘Distance’ will go to Eddie Van Halen’s favourite charity, the Mr Holland’s Opus Foundation, which donates instruments to underfunded school music programs.
Wolfgang went on Howard Stern’s radio show Monday morning to discuss the song, grieving his dad and what it was like to learn from “a technical virtuoso with a rock star’s natural flair.”
“I’ll ask him how to play something, and then he just proceeds to be Eddie Van Halen,” Wolfgang told Stern. “That’s a very tough bar to reach as a beginner.”
Valerie Bertinelli, Eddie’s second wife and Wolfgang’s mom, shared the heart-rending ‘Distance’ video on Twitter Monday morning. The actress appears in several clips — arriving home from the hospital with a bundled baby Wolfgang — and filmed many others.
In the video, Eddie is instantly infatuated with his newborn son, plopping him on his lap to “play” piano.
“Your father was truly joyous about you being on the planet,” Stern told Wolfgang on his radio show. “It was such a loving relationship that the two of you had.”
“That’s the gift and the curse of it: We had such a close connection,” Wolfgang replied. “And now for the rest of my life, there’s no way I’ll never be able to think about him, no matter what I do. Which is good — but it also hurts a lot.”