Wolfgang Van Halen of MAMMOTH WVH discusses TOOL’s influence on him as a musician
Wolfgang Van Halen recently spoke to RawMusicTV at last month’s Sweden Rock Festival in Sölvesborg, Sweden and discussed some of his early influences as a musician. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “When I started playing drums, when I was nine years old, the two albums I played most to were VAN HALEN ‘Best Of – Volume I‘ and ‘Enema Of The State‘ by BLINK-182. [Laughs]
“So I think BLINK were an early influence for me. I think [BLINK-182 drummer] Travis Barker was a big influence on drums for me starting out, that I was, like, ‘Ooh, I really enjoy this.’ … But [TOOL‘s] Danny Carey really was a huge… When I started listening to TOOL, I noticed a big jump up in my own skills.
“Trying to learn how to play ‘Ænima‘ and learning how to play ‘Forty Six & 2‘ and ‘The Grudge‘ and ‘Ticks & Leeches‘ and stuff like that, and noticing, like, ‘Wow, I’m becoming a better drummer just because I’m trying — and failing — to play all of this TOOL stuff.’ But, yeah, listening to TOOL really upped my game in terms of understanding music and learning how to play it and developing more skill… And that led into my adoration of MESHUGGAH. That’s like math. As a drummer, there’s nothing more fun than listening to MESHUGGAH and trying to figure out the rhythm, the polyrhythm that’s happening and stuff like that. I really — I don’t know — I just enjoy that a lot.”
You can check out the full interview in the video below.
“Mammoth II“, the second album from MAMMOTH WVH, will be released on August 4 via BMG. The 10-track LP was recorded at the legendary 5150 studio and was produced by Wolfgang‘s friend and collaborator Michael “Elvis” Baskette.
Continuing the tradition of writing all of the songs and performing all of the instrumentation and vocals himself, Wolfgang set out to challenge himself to expand his sound beyond what people had already come to know him for. From the rocking opener “Right?” to BEATLES-esque fade on closer “Better Than You”, “Mammoth II” showcases the growth of Wolfgang as a songwriter, musician and especially vocalist. Songs like “Like A Pastime”, “Take A Bow” and “Waiting” are all sonically different from each other but unique to what mastermind Wolfgang Van Halen and MAMMOTH WVH is.
The debut single from “Mammoth II” was the upbeat rocker “Another Celebration At The End Of The World”. The music video for “Another Celebration At The End Of The World” is an 8:25 introduction to the MAMMOTH WVH live band. Picking up where the No. 1 single “Don’t Back Down” music video left off, the video showcases a frustrated Wolfgang firing the other Wolfgangs from that video and replacing them with his live band featuring Frank Sidoris (guitars),Jon Jourdan (guitars),Ronnie Ficarro (bass) and Garrett Whitlock (drums). The video was directed by Gordy De St. Jeor and can be seen below.
Wolfgang said: “I knew that I wanted the new album to contain elements of what people heard on the debut, but also giving me a chance to branch out a bit. ‘Another Celebration At The End Of the World’ is definitely a song that showcases what people can expect from the new album. It is a high-energy rocker with some fun guitar moments on it. I also pushed myself vocally and it is a song I can’t wait to get out and play live. I can see it being a fixture in our live set moving forward.”