“Distance” is the first single by Mammoth WVH, the solo project from Wolfgang Van Halen. Wolfgang did not intend this song to be the first single off his upcoming album. However, it’s a song he wrote about his father. More specifically he wrote it as a way to come to terms with Edward Van Halen’s increasingly imminent passing. It’s an amazing song, instrumentally, lyrically, and emotionally. Ed got to hear it, albeit in incomplete form, before he passed. I can only imagine the pride he felt at the incredible musician his son is.
MAMMOTH WVH – Distance
First off, this is not a Van Halen song, nor should it be. Sure, you can hear a little VH in spots, from the solo to the harmonies and a few other nooks and crannies. That’s really where the similarities end. If anything, I hear more Tremonti than Van Halen, where Wolfgang handled the bass duties when not touring with Van Halen. I applaud Wolfie for finding his voice and striking out on his own, without a net. He handles all of the instruments and vocals on “Distance”.
Any musician would be fortunate to release a song like “Distance” as their debut. It’s mature, emotional, and works exceptionally well as a whole. My first thought on hearing the song was who’s singing this? It’s Wolf. He handles the drums, bass, guitar – both electric and acoustic, and even the backing vocals. In fact, he more than handles it, he excels. The drum playing on the track is fantastic. The solo absolutely rips and is accompanied by an equally impressive acoustic rhythm guitar.
As a song about loss, it’s beautiful. It’s a loss that Wolf shares on some level with so many rock fans, especially Van Halen fans. “Distance” is unique in how the raw emotions that led to the song can be so relatable by millions. “It’s very important to watch the video for it,” Wolf said in an interview with Howard Stern on November 16, 2020. I couldn’t agree more. The video is a story about the love between a father and his son told through home videos and concert footage. There’s a final nugget at the very end that most likely requires a tissue box in close proximity. Take a look below.
If the rest of the upcoming Mammoth WVH album is remotely as good as this song, we’re in for a treat. He is an extraordinary musician, clearly taught by an absolute master. I cannot wait to hear it.
Don’t just stream this track either. Proceeds from “Distance” go to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation to help underprivileged students get access to instruments. Not that long ago access to musical instruments helped, a poor, underprivileged immigrant start the long journey to becoming the greatest guitarist on the planet. I’m sure he’d love to see a kid helped by a charity he supported go on to do amazing things like he did.
Also, find more of my CGCM reviews here: Dave Wilks