Wolfgang Van Halen

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Wolfgang Van Halen
Wolfgang Van Halen Different Kind of Truth 2012.jpg
Wolfgang Van Halen in 2012
Background information
Also known as Wolfie, Wolf
Born (1991-03-16) March 16, 1991 (age 24)
Santa Monica, California[1]
Genres Hard rock, heavy metal
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Bass guitar, vocals, guitar, drums, keyboards
Years active 2004–present
Associated acts Van Halen, Tremonti
Website van-halen.com
Notable instruments
EVH Wolfgang Stealth Bass Prototype

Wolfgang William Van Halen (born March 16, 1991), is an American musician. He is the bassist for Van Halen, having replaced Michael Anthony in 2006. On September 11, 2012, he joined Tremonti as bassist for their first tour.

Personal life[edit]

Named for the classical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, he is the son of Van Halen guitarist Eddie Van Halen and actress Valerie Bertinelli, and the nephew of Van Halen drummer Alex Van Halen. Wolfgang declared he did not know his father was a famous musician "until I started picking up CDs and saw his picture on them."[2]

Following the completion of the 2007/2008 Van Halen tour, Wolfgang headed back to school, hoping to graduate in the summer of 2009. Wolfgang appears as the bassist for Van Halen on Guitar Hero: Van Halen.[3]


Wolfgang had an indirect impact on his father's career from the very beginning of his life. The instrumental "316" was named in his honor, after Wolfgang's birthday. For a 13-year period ending in 2004, Eddie Van Halen collaborated with Peavey on a line of guitars, the Wolfgang series, named after his son.[4] In 2008, his father named a custom guitar after him, the Fender EVH Wolfgang.[5][6]

He always watched the rehearsals of Eddie, and at times would try to play his uncle's drum kit. Wolfgang started playing drums at the age of nine, and then his father gave him a set of drums for his tenth birthday. Some time later he moved on to guitar and bass. He can also play keyboards and "figure things out by ear".[2] Wolfgang later began actively participating in the band. He also made guest appearances during some dates of Van Halen's 2004 tour, appearing during his father's extended guitar solo spot and playing "316" with him.

In late 2006, in an interview with Guitar World, Eddie Van Halen confirmed that Wolfgang would replace Michael Anthony as Van Halen's bassist.[7] Wolfgang first toured with Van Halen in his new capacity in 2007.[8] In August 2010, Van Halen announced that they would reform for a new album, but with Wolfgang playing bass instead of original bassist Michael Anthony.

Wolfgang made headlines in early 2008 by appearing on the cover of the April issue of Guitar World with his father, in the magazine's very first father-son issue.

Wolfgang recorded his first full-length album, A Different Kind of Truth, with Van Halen in 2011. The album was released on February 7, 2012.[9]

On September 10, 2012, Alter Bridge and Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti announced that Wolfgang would be filling for Brian Marshall as bassist for the first tour of Mark's solo band.[10] Mark released his debut solo album All I Was on July 17. Wolfgang's participation with Tremonti continued into 2013, now permanently replacing Brian Marshall.[11]

Musical style[edit]

Wolfgang started playing the bass as his father started asking if he wanted to play with him. Wolfgang first viewed bass as "an easier version of guitar, but as soon as I started playing it I realized how wrong that was", but stated that his experience with a guitar made it easier for him to deal with the instrument. His style was described by Eddie as a "rhythm bassist, like I’m a rhythm guitarist and a bassist put together." His favorite bassists are Les Claypool from Primus and Justin Chancellor from Tool, while he also enjoys Chris Wolstenholme from Muse, John Entwistle of The Who, Jack Bruce of Cream "and all of the classic players".[2]


Most of Wolfgang's basses are custom-made to be similar to his father's Frankenstrats and EVH Wolfgangs by Fender Master Builder and EVH engineer Chip Ellis. Two of them, one red like Eddie's guitar, and one blue as it is Wolfgang's favorite color, have Fender Jazz Bass shaped bodies and are loaded with active EMG pickups and electronics. These were used for the Van Halen 2007–2008 North American Tour. For the A Different Kind of Truth Tour, Ellis built Wolfgang 3 more basses, another Jazz bass based on his father's black-and-white Frankenstrat, and two based on his fathers EVH Wolfgang guitar. Both are satin black, while one has silver stripes and one has yellow stripes similar to his father's "Bumblebee" Frankenstrat. All 3 of these are loaded with Fender N3 Noiseless pickups.

For amplification, he uses EVH 5150s and Fender Super Bassmans. He uses one Super Bassman on the clean channel to provide a clean low end, while another Super Bassman and the 5150, both on channel 2, provide an over-driven sound on top of the clean Bassman. For effects, Wolfgang uses an MXR EVH signature Flanger and Phase 90, MXR Fullbore distortion, Strymon TimeLine delay, Electro-Harmonix POG, and Way Huge Pork Loin overdrive, and a Dunlop Cry Baby bass wah.


With Van Halen
With Tremonti


  1. ^ "Van Halen names son Wolfgang". Rome News-Tribune. Associated Press. 1991-03-18. 
  2. ^ a b c "Interview: Wolfgang Van Halen Talks Bass, 'A Different Kind Of Truth' and More". Guitar World. 2012-07-30. Retrieved 2014-07-17. 
  3. ^ Eddie Van Halen considering New Tunes with David Lee Roth, 2009-02-02, www.spinner.com.
  4. ^ Mix Editors (2004-12-29). "Peavey Parts With Edward Van Halen". Mix. 
  5. ^ "Eddie Van Halen launches the all-new EVH Wolfgang Guitar". International Business Times. 2008-12-16. 
  6. ^ della Cava, Marco R. (2009-01-09). "This hand-crafted guitar is Eddie Van Halen's baby". USA TODAY. 
  7. ^ Bradley, Simon (2006-12-12). "Van Halen: Anthony Out, Wolfgang In…". Music Radar. 
  8. ^ Rodriguez, Brenda (2007-08-13). "Valerie Bertinelli a 'Proud Momma' at Van Halen Reunion". People. 
  9. ^ "Van Halen Announce Album Release, Tour Dates". rollingstone.com. 2012-01-06. 
  10. ^ Whitaker, Sterling (2012-09-12). "Wolfgang Van Halen Joins Mark Tremonti as Touring Bassist". Ultimate Classic Rock. 
  11. ^ Graff, Gary (2013-03-06). "Wolfgang Van Halen Joins Tremonti, Says Van Halen Working on New Music". Billboard. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Michael Anthony
Bassist for Van Halen
Succeeded by