Wolf Van Halen Reacts After Steven Wilson Comments On EVH's 'Shred' Legacy
By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta
February 1, 2021
Wolfgang said his reverence for Wilson's work only made the producer/singer/guitarist's perspective on Eddie Van Halen's legacy that much more dismaying.
While defending Wilson from what he deemed a "clickbait-y" headline, Wolfgang tried to explain what a strange feeling it is to have a musical hero express ambivalence about his dad.
Wilson, who's latest album, Future Bites, came out on Friday, was asked by FaceCulture about how Eddie's death affected him this past fall.
"Honestly, it didn't, because I was never a fan," Wilson replied. "I know he's an extraordinary musician, and it's always sad when an extraordinary artist dies, but I was never a fan of the so-called shredder mentality. And I think in many ways, he was the father of that whole kind of movement.
"I never understood that 'playing as fast as you can' thing," Wilson continued. "And I know that wasn't all he did — I know he was a more flexible musician than that — but I think that the legacy that he has, Eddie Van Halen, is in creating the shredder phenomenon, which is something so vile to me. That kind of idea that you play music almost like you're playing an Olympic sport is king of anathema to my kind of ideas on creativity and music."
Wolfgang shared a link to one related headline via Twitter, writing, "Damn this bums me out hard. Been a huge fan of [Wilson's] for years. Deadwing is one of my favorite albums of all time. Although...the title is a little too clickbait-y, because what he said really wasn't that rude."
He followed up, regarding Wilson's comments on the shredder movement being sparked by Eddie.
"...[Wilson] seems to only view Pop as a 'shredder' when in my opinion he was anything but. Sure, he could shred, but Pop had melody and finesse like NO other 'shredder' that swam in his wake...and on top of that he was an incredible songwriter."
Wolfgang emphasized that he doesn't believe Wilson spoke out of turn, and the man is entitled to his opinion; he just wishes Wilson had more nuance to his views on Van Halen.
Eddie did inspire the 'shred' generation of guitar players with his numerous technical innovations, but he hated that aspect of his legacy. He famously referred to the soulless show-offs that came after him as "typewriter players," who tried to imitate his speed and techniques because they couldn't approximate his feel on the instrument.
"Hey, that’s not my fault," he said in one 1985 interview. "Maybe they cop the speed because they can’t cop my feel. Maybe they shouldn’t think so much. I don’t think when I play. It’s spontaneous, it’s feeling.”
Photo: Getty Images