Wolfgang Van Halen in The New Yorker Magazine
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    Default Wolfgang Van Halen in The New Yorker Magazine

    The New Yorker

    October 11, 2021 Issue

    Rachel, Joey, Monica, Phoebe, Chandler, Ross . . . and Wolfgang

    Wolfgang Van Halen, the front man of Mammoth WVH and the son of Eddie Van Halen, pays a visit, in between stadium shows with Guns N’ Roses, to his happy place: the Friends Experience, in Gramercy Park.

    By Mark Yarm

    October 4, 2021

    Wolfgang Van Halen, the front man of the band Mammoth WVH, settled into an armchair in a replica of Central Perk, the coffee shop on the sitcom “Friends.”

    He was about to embark on a private, off-hours tour of the Friends Experience, an “interactive celebration” of the show, in Gramercy Park. (Tickets usually start at forty-five dollars.)

    Van Halen was dressed all in black: shorts, T-shirt, a Mammoth hoodie, and two masks. Despite being the son of the late guitar god Eddie Van Halen, he is an unlikely rock star.

    A self-described “dork” who struggles with anxiety, he doesn’t drink or smoke or do drugs. “I do not have the personality type required for my job,” Van Halen said softly, hands tucked into his sweatshirt pockets.

    During downtime on the road—his band was opening stadium shows for Guns N’ Roses—he usually likes to play the video game Apex Legends with his band’s guitarist Frank Sidoris.

    For today’s outing, Van Halen was joined by Sidoris, Van Halen’s uncle and “consigliere” Patrick Bertinelli, and seven others.

    Growing up in Los Angeles, Van Halen would often watch “Friends” on DVD with his mom, the actress Valerie Bertinelli, after school. “I remember watching the finale live,” he said, flashing back to 2004. “That makes me feel so old.” Van Halen is thirty.

    The musician, who still lives in L.A., said that his favorite “Friends” character is Chandler Bing, played by Matthew Perry.

    “Chandler is one of the main reasons I’m a sarcastic person,” Van Halen said. He offered, as evidence of his sarcasm, his Twitter account, on which he enjoys sparring with trolls, such as JokersWild45, who questioned whether Eddie, who died in October, 2020, of cancer, was indeed Wolfgang’s father.

    (“I’m super curious how homeboy got a sample of my dna to test these ‘theories,’ ” Wolfgang tweeted.)

    Valerie Bertinelli, it turns out, had a chance at a role on “Friends,” as Carol, Ross’s pregnant ex-wife, but she didn’t take the meeting.

    “My reason was pathetic,” she wrote in her 2008 memoir. “I felt too fat to stand next to Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, and Lisa Kudrow.”

    Her son understands: “We could both really use a dose of confidence.” Van Halen has been performing professionally since he was fifteen, when he replaced Michael Anthony as the bassist in the band Van Halen, touring (and later recording) with his father, his uncle Alex, and David Lee Roth.

    More recently, he sang and played every instrument on Mammoth’s self-titled début LP, which went to No. 1 on Billboard’s Top Rock Albums and Hard Rock Albums charts.

    One thing Van Halen has confidence in: his “Friends” knowledge. “Nobody can beat me at ‘Friends’ trivia,” he said.

    Walking through the eighteen-room Friends Experience, a warren of Instagram ops, he expounded on the props and costumes on display.

    For instance: “Ross can’t find a Santa costume, so he gets an armadillo costume to try and teach his son about Hanukkah.”

    He gravitated toward a vitrine containing Phoebe’s acoustic guitar, on which she performed the ditty “Smelly Cat.” The headstock bore the Gibson logo, but Van Halen was doubtful. “It just looks like a stage prop,” he said.

    He recorded a couple of tracks on the Mammoth album with his dad’s red, white, and black Frankenstein guitar, a copy of which is in the National Museum of American History, in Washington, D.C.

    Van Halen moved on to the gift shop. Because the exhibition was technically closed, no one was there to work the register.

    Still, Van Halen eyed a cotton tote bearing the words “crap bag.” He explained the reference: it involved Paul Rudd’s character, Mike, adopting the name Crap Bag. Van Halen said that as soon as he got back to the tour bus he planned to go online and buy one.

    “It’s just funny: a bag with the word ‘crap’ on it—simple,” he said. “I’ll carry my groceries in there.” ♦

    Published in the print edition of the October 11, 2021, issue, with the headline “Among Friends.”

    Mark Yarm is the author of “Everybody Loves Our Town: An Oral History of Grunge.”
    Beauty is life when life unveils
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    Okay, then.
    Little Dreamer

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    WVHNY.PNG
    Wolfgang Van Halen Illustration by João Fazenda




    ... yawn!

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    I didn't see this coming...lol

    nothing wrong with it, I like the show.

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    "The One Where Wolfgang Tours The Friends Experience"

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    One thing Van Halen has confidence in: his “Friends” knowledge. “Nobody can beat me at ‘Friends’ trivia,” he said.
    Yeah.

    It's Friends....

    Not something I'd brag about but to each their own.
    My man, when you are fantasizing, don't go for attainable, you can get attainable at the local Applebee's. - Dave's Dreidel

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    I hated that show with a passion
    If you have nothing nice to say about Eddie Van Halen, you're at the right website. - Me (A few years ago)

    "People take Van Halen much more seriously than we do" - David Lee Roth (1980's)

    "I don't sit on the end of your bed while you're trying to make a living" - David Lee Roth (1988)

    "For some reason people love to complain about everything. The internet has made it easy for people to do that. Shut the fuck up and get a life, or show me how good you can do it."- Edward Van Halen

    "A lot of people ask me which Van Halen singer was better. You can't compare them. It's like asking which guitarist is better. Nobody is better than anybody. Every player is their own person."-Edward Van Halen

    "I do like Eddie Van Halen as a player. He gets it right quite often." -Paul McCartney

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    Why does the New Yorker illustration resemble Chum Lee more than Wolfgang? lol

    I gotta say I'm very happy for Wolf and Valerie. He seems like a well grounded dude and super talented. He grew up as a kid born from cultural icons and had to deal with his own share of family things, and the pressure of touring with VH at a young age despite the protest of many fans. Like his music or not, he created a great album of music, hooks and all. Multi instrumentalist with genuine talent and a passion for it. How awesome. Humble and caught here visiting a goofy comfort zone for him, a show he watched with his mom coming up. Sure the Van Halen name has helped propel him but there is a lot of substance in his talent and creativity. He's made good use of his open doors.

    I'm sure EVH was very proud of the man/son Wolfgang became.

    Thanks for posting James. As a Dad, idk, I liked reading that little pointless story about Wolfgang.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dutchie5150 View Post
    I hated that show with a passion
    Same here. It was tolerable for the first couple of seasons, and then
    "It's so lonely at the top because it's so crowded at the bottom" - Diamond David Lee Roth

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    I remember a FB post asking what order you'd kill the friends in..Ross was by far number one
    Dealing with it.

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    It's good Wolfie doesn’t drink or smoke or do drugs.

    I never liked Friends though.
    Right Now you're reading my post!


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    Well, as he describes himself, he’s a dork…no different then 50-somethings obsessing over Star Wars.


















    Think about it.
    "Always hopeful, yet discontent,
    He knows changes aren't permanent
    But change is!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by rchop84 View Post
    I remember a FB post asking what order you'd kill the friends in..Ross was by far number one
    Ross was such a wussy boots. I cringe just thinking about him.
    "It's so lonely at the top because it's so crowded at the bottom" - Diamond David Lee Roth

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    Didn't know Wolf was a big fan of the show. My daughter LOVES the show.

    And yeah, get rid of Ross first.
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    I like Friends. Kinda surprised at the recent surge in interest in the show among younger people cause it is a VERY standard sitcom, not ground breaking or trail blazing.

    But it's like comfort food and I have my own versions of that in Parks and Rec and 30 Rock. The Office. I'll watch over and over

    I remember the quote from Valerie about that show and I think she did well to pass. That part was beneath her level of fame and I don't think she would have been cast anyway. I CANNOT imagine her playing against Schwimmer as Ross. Granted, I find it hard to pair him up with Anniston either, but I wouldn't imagine any chemistry at all between Schwimmer and Valerie

    But career wise it wouldn't have hurt to have a part on such a juggernaut.

    As far as the article goes, that caricature is plain awful. I wouldn't have guessed Wolfgang if I it hadn't accompanied the article

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