Eddie Van Halen’s Son Wolfgang Declined Invite to Perform Tribute at Grammys

Even so, the late guitarist's son was disappointed with the resulting tribute to his father

Wolfgang and Eddie Van Halen Grammy tribute
Wolfgang and Eddie Van Halen, photo by Philip Cosores

Many viewers came away from Sunday’s Grammy Awards disappointed with the very brief tribute to the late Eddie Van Halen. On Monday, his son Wolfgang revealed that he was invited to perform Van Halen’s “Eruption” but declined. Even so, he was one of the ones who was underwhelmed by the salute to his father.

While such artists as John Prine, Little Richard, and Kenny Rogers were toasted with full musical performances, Eddie Van Halen’s legacy was observed with one of his guitars sitting on a stage for 15 seconds during the “In Memoriam” segment, as a few videos played behind it.

In a tweet, Wolfgang explained that he didn’t want play his father’s iconic Van Halen instrumental track “Eruption” because he felt he wouldn’t do it justice. That said, he was hoping the Grammys would do a little more to honor his dad:

“The Grammys asked me to play ‘Eruption’ for the ‘In Memoriam’ section and I declined. I don’t think anyone could have lived up to what my father did for music but himself.

It was my understanding that there would be an ‘In Memoriam’ section where bits of songs were performed for legendary artists that had passed. I didn’t realize that they would only show Pop for 15 seconds in the middle of 4 full performances for others we had

What hurt the most was that he wasn’t even mentioned when they talked about artists we lost in the beginning of the show. I know rock isn’t the most popular genre right now, (and the academy does seem a bit out of touch) but I think it’s impossible to ignore the legacy my father left on the instrument, the world of rock, and music in general. There will never be another innovator like him.

I’m not looking to start some kind of hate parade here, I just wanted to explain my side. I know Pop would probably just laugh it off and say ‘Ehh who gives a shit?’ He was only about the music anyway. The rest didn’t matter.

I’d love to get the opportunity to speak with The Recording Academy not only about the legacy of my father, but the legacy of the Rock genre moving forward.”

Wolfgang disappointment in the tribute was understated compared to others. Pro wrestler and rock frontman Chris Jericho ripped the Recording Academy, tweeting, “Hey @RecordingAcad …no tribute to @eddievanhalen tonight? You and your bullshit awards can GO F**K YOUR ASS!! And don’t ever try to give my band [Fozzy] a nomination. I’d rather win a @RazzieAwards.”

Meanwhile, Wolfgang recently hit No. 1 on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart with his debut solo single, “Distance”, which he released as a dedication to his father. The younger Van Halen’s first solo album, which he’s releasing under the moniker Mammoth WVH, arrives June 11th.

See Wolfgang’s tweet regarding the Grammy tribute to his dad below.