During a recent appearance on Rolling Stone Music Now, Wolfgang Van Halen talked about his musical journey and how it all started with him playing drums.
When asked how did he get from drums to where is he now, Wolfgang responded: At a certain point, it’s just that 10,000-hours road, that’s the thing I’ve done the longest. I started out from there. I would just listen to VAN HALEN, Best Of, Vol I, and Enema of the State by BLINK-182, and try to emulate that.
“I’d play ‘All the Small Things’ and that first fill that Travis [Barker, drums] does in the first verse, and just try to nail that stuff perfectly. I never learned how to read, I never learned how to read music, I know how to read words and stuff. [Laughs] I noticed a big step up in my skills as a musician, as a drummer — when I started listening to TOOL because I really started to try and mimic everything that Danny Carey was doing.
“It’s like — I don’t know how to count any of that stuff, but I know how to play it, because it’s just like a muscle memory type of thing, and so that’s where I really noticed my improvement as a musician — when I started playing TOOL on the drums, he added. “And once I could do that, I felt like I could nail everything I tried to.”
When asked if he ever had any formal lessons on any instrument, Wolfgang responded: “Nothing. I wish I took piano lessons as a kid, I wish my parents forced me to do that, but they did not.”
“Your father studied piano really intensely, and I think his mom was really intense about it, and is that one of those things, ‘I’m not gonna inflict that on my kid…’? Yeah, well he still didn’t even learn how to read it, like, during piano recitals, he would memorize it, and they never knew. “