Van Halen's first album came out when I was at BGSU, indelibly fused into my brain by the Harmon Kardon speakers I was babysitting for a friend who didn't want to cart them all the way back to Pennsylvania for the Summer. It was the first pair of 'real' speakers I had to myself and I put those woofers through their paces with those first throbbing bass notes from Micheal Anthony to the harmonics of Eddie Van Halen's pick drawn across his strings in the volcanic buildup to Eruption. That song that summer was just the sort of molten rock n' roll that inspired me to find a job delivering it to others. Not as an artist, of course, but as a fan who just so happened to decide then and there that radio was where I wanted to be.
Now the future of Van Halen remains uncertain with David Lee Roth popping off that it's never gonna happen live again, Eddie remaining silent about it's future and the only Van Halen stepping up to the plate is ..uhm...Wolfie. Yup Wolfgang Van Halen, at age 29, has arrived. He infamously stepped into the shoes vacated by Micheal Anthony in 2007 when his dad needed to get his kid a gig. And now, he's got a solo project. Though he's come out in advance of that album to say he's ready for the 'haters', fans who will seize on the famous name and expect it to sound 'Van Haleney' as Wolfie puts it.
I admit he's got a point, and maybe he's a phenomenal bassist, but it's hard to get past how Micheal Anthony had to get kicked to the curb for Wolfgang Van Halen to lament how his famous DNA may get in the way of his future greatness. That said, although I'm no scholar of DNA, it doesn't escape me that the other half of his DNA is Valerie Bertinellii, and if he's truly worried of being judged on the merits of his Van Halenism, he could've chosen to release the solo project as Wolfgang Bertinelli and then he could be sure that fans embrace him for himself.