While there were a few prominent memorial sequences during the ‘In Memorium’ portion of the ceremony, like Bruno Mars’s tribute to Little Richard, the Recording Academy originally wanted a rendition of Eddie Van Halen’s famous instrumental song “Eruption” to be performed during the show by none other than his own kin, Wolfgang.
Wolfgang was never on board with the idea however, expressing his disinterest with the concept to Rolling Stone, “It just seemed like kind of a tone-deaf ask. It just didn’t feel right. And I think some people are, like, ‘Well, you should have just fucking done it anyway.’ And I don’t think they were really thinking about the emotional attachment to it. And just the fact that it isn’t the right thing to do and something I’m not comfortable with.”
Instead, the show opted for a simple archival video of Eddie playing “Eruption” himself when his name appeared during the ‘In Memorium’ segment. It should be noted that while many of the names shown only flashed for a moment, one after another, Eddie’s name lingered to make room for the video tribute.
“I’ll always be here to champion my father and to further his legacy to the ends of the Earth,” he continued. “I’m a little biased, but I think you cannot argue the impact that three guitar players had on the history of the instrument. And that’s Les Paul, Jimi Hendrix, and my dad. And so when something like this happens, you think he would be deserving of a bit more time.”
When legendary Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony left the group, Wolfgang stepped in and toured alongside his father. He wrote and recorded with Eddie for Van Halen’s last studio release A Different Kind of Truth in 2012. He was attached with heavy metal band Tremonti from 2012 to 2016, being the featured bass player on two of their albums, 2015’s Cauterize and 2016’s Dust. Today, he is fronting his own group, Mammoth WVH, and is planning on releasing the groups self-titled debut in June.