The Mammoth WVH leader also revisited his previous comments on his father’s failings as a guitar teacher, saying he’d never meant anything negative with his words.
Asked about the late guitar legend’s advice, Van Halen told Rock Sverige: “My favorite one – and it´s a bit tongue-in-cheek … was something his dad taught him: ‘If you ever make a mistake, do it twice so that everyone thinks you meant to do it.’”
He noted that a rare mistake by his dad can be heard in the Van Halen classic “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.” “It’s so part of the song that it doesn’t even seem like a mistake at that point,” he said. “It’s like he hit the B string twice by accident instead of hitting the E or something. If you listen to the beginning of it you can hear it.”
Last year, Van Halen said that his dad was “the worst guitar teacher,” explaining that “I’ll ask him how to play something, and then he just proceeds to be Eddie Van Halen, and that’s a very tough bar to reach as a beginner.” In the new interview, he clarified: “It’s more funny and endearing than anything. It’s the kind of thing where it’s like, you know, Einstein couldn’t tie his shoes. It’s just a funny quirk of it and fun to joke about.”
More seriously, Wolfgang reflected that Eddie Van’s reputation was “a crazy shadow to be under.” “You’re just gonna live behind all the people’s expectations instead of being able to stand on your own,” he noted. “I think that’s why I’m trying so hard to stand on my own as a musician. There are benefits and burdens to the whole thing. Sure, the name does help open some doors, but I don’t think it helps to keep them open. I think it’s one thing if you get opportunities because of your name, but it’s another thing to actually stay around and last.”