“Distance”, the first music from Wolfgang Van Halen‘s solo band MAMMOTH WVH, has topped Billboard‘s Hot Hard Rock Songs chart. The track also entered the Hot Rock & Alternative Songs chart at No. 9 and at Nos. 1 and 2 on the Hard Rock Digital Song Sales and Rock Digital Song Sales charts, respectively.
“Distance” had 826,000 U.S. streams and had 13,000 downloads sold in the week ending November 19, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.
“I am beyond humbled by the response to ‘Distance’,” Wolfgang told Billboard. “I can’t believe that it’s appearing on all of these charts so soon after release. The fact that so many have embraced the song and video shows how much we have in common in the love and respect we have for my father. I just wish he was here to see it. Thank you so much to everyone who’s listening and also to my whole team who has worked so hard to make this a reality.”
Wolfgang had been preparing to release music from his solo band MAMMOTH WVH for some time. That plan was altered when his father and guitar icon Eddie Van Halen called him and told him his cancer had returned. Wolfgang decided to put everything on hold to be with his father through his battle. During that time, Wolfgang was writing material for his upcoming solo album, for which the first single “Distance” would be born.
“As my pop continued to struggle with various health issues, I was imagining what my life would be like without him and how terribly I’d miss him. While the song is incredibly personal, I think anyone can relate to the idea of having a profound loss in their life,” Wolfgang explained.
Writing the song and performing all of the instrumentation and vocals for MAMMOTH WVH, “Distance” is an open letter to his father — one Wolfgang was fortunate to play for his dad and would become a favorite of Eddie‘s — declaring “no matter what the distance is, I will be with you.” The video for the song is created from a collection of family home movies through the years and offers an inside look in to one of music’s most notable personalities. Chronicling the family through the years, the video ends with a touching voicemail left from Eddie to his son.
“I never intended ‘Distance’ to be the very first piece of music people would hear from me, but I also thought my father would be here to celebrate its release,” Wolfgang said. “This is for him. I love and miss you, Pop.”
An organization that is very close to the Van Halen family is the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. Eddie was very supportive of the organization via numerous donations throughout his lifetime. Following in his father’s footsteps in another way, Wolfgang is donating his portion of all proceeds from “Distance” to the foundation.
MAMMOTH WVH‘s debut album is scheduled for release in 2021 via Explorer1 Music Group/EX1 Records. Wolfgang played every instrument and sang each and every note on the LP.
Photo credit: Travis Shinn