After many fans took to social media to complain about how brief the Grammys’ “In Memoriam” tribute to Eddie Van Halen was, the late guitarist’s son Wolfgang Van Halen issued a statement revealing that the Recording Academy initially asked him to perform “Eruption” during the segment.
Van Halen says he declined the invitation to play because “I don’t think anyone could have lived up to what my father did for music but himself.” Despite that, he added that he was surprised by how short the tribute to his father wound up being.
“It was my understanding that there would be an ‘In Memoriam’ section where bits of songs were performed for legendary artists that had passed,” he wrote. “I didn’t realize they would only show Pop for 15 seconds in the middle of four full performances for others we had lost.”
“What hurt the most was that he wasn’t even mentioned when they talked about artists we lost in the beginning of the show,” he continued. “I know rock isn’t the most popular genre right now (and the academy does seem a bit out of touch) but I think it’s impossible to ignore the legacy my father left on the instrument, the world of rock, and music in general. There will never be another innovator like him.”
He concluded by admitting that Eddie Van Halen “would probably just laugh it off and say, ‘Eh, who gives a shit?’ He was only about the music anyway. The rest didn’t matter.” But nonetheless, he extended an offer to speak to the Recording Academy “not just about the legacy of my father, but the legacy of the rock genre moving forward.” No word yet on whether they’ll take him up on that offer.
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