Wolfgang Van Halen remembered being shocked when his father, Eddie Van Halen, threw his famous hand-built Frankenstrat guitar across a room, showing that he didn’t think as much of it as everyone else did.
The moment came after Wolfgang decided to use the custom-built instrument on two tracks for his debut solo album, which was then under production.
“I played the original Frankenstein on the solo on ‘Mammoth’ and on ‘Feel,’” he told Guitar World in a recent interview. “You feel the history. It’s kind of terrifying holding it, just because arguably it is the most famous guitar in musical history. It’s definitely quite the thing to hold it.”
He noted that “when we were pulling it out of its safe, Dad picked it up and he was just noodling with it for a second. He’s like, ‘’Yeah, feels about the same,’ and he tossed it onto the couch. Everyone just gasped when he did that. To Dad, it’s just a little piece of junk that he built himself, but to us, it’s the most famous thing in the world.”
Despite playing the Frankenstrat, Wolfgang said he tried not to sound too much like his late father as he recorded. “That was probably the one area that we made a collective effort to not replicate Pop,” he explained. “We did use a bunch of 5150 [amps] mostly, but there were also Marshalls – a red early ’70s 100-watt Super Lead, and a ’72 Super Lead metal-panel 1959 model. … We used a lot of cabinet variations … just to contrast the sound.”
Wolfgang Van Halen’s debut LP, named after his band Mammoth WVH, will be released on June 11.
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