Inspiration doesn’t occur in a vacuum. Most musicians will not hesitate to express gratitude and reverence toward those who came before them, holding these elder statesmen of rock and roll in their rightfully deserved places of esteem.
Speaking as the featured guest on BBC’s The Rock Show With Johnnie Walker during the “Rock God” segment, featured guest Wolfgang Van Halen, the driving force behind Mammoth WVH, picked Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl, explaining (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I’ve chosen Dave Grohl because he just inspires me infinitely — in songwriting and capability as a musician. I really admire how he came from Nirvana, and then after that sadly ended, how he was able to build his own thing with Foo Fighters. It’s how I mirror a lot of my experience, so where I’ve come from and what I’ve tried to do myself. So he’s just everything I aspire to be.”
The rocker continued: “I first became aware of him, gosh, when I was… It was when [Foo Fighters’ fifth album] In Your Honor [came out] and [I heard] ‘Best Of You’. I remember that song would always get stuck in my head. It always stuck with me how he made everything better — his songwriting, singing. Yeah, I guess that’s why maybe I look up to him so much. He really is just everything I aspire to be, especially after getting to know him a little bit and spending a little bit of time with him… There’s nothing better than looking up to someone and realizing that they’re everything and more. And he is that.”
Having played all the instruments on the first two Mammoth WVH albums, Wolfgang acknowledged Grohl’s influence on his approach to songwriting in a 2021 interview with Bass Player magazine. “One of the biggest inspirations was Dave Grohl,” he said. “When he started the Foo Fighters, he did everything himself on their first album. I wanted to have a go at that, I guess, and I’ve always admired bands like Nine Inch Nails, where the project emanates from one person and grows from there. That’s kind of how I view it, even though it is still me. I view it more as a band than [a] solo project.”
Following Nirvana’s breakup on the heels of Kurt Cobain’s death, Grohl famously recorded all the instruments on Foo Fighters’ debut album in 1995.
Wolfgang and Grohl teamed up to perform several of his late father’s songs during last year’s Taylor Hawkins tribute concerts. Over the course of two shows in September, the son of legendary guitarist Eddie Van Halen played “On Fire”, “Hot For Teacher” and “Panama” alongside Grohl on bass, Josh Freese on drums and Justin Hawkins of rock band The Darkness on vocals.