Wolf Van Halen Reflects on Emotional Song Written for His Father

by Jennifer Shea
Scott Legato/Getty Images

Over a year since his father’s passing, Wolf Van Halen still has plenty to say about his dad. And the young rocker is putting his feelings out there on Instagram as he commemorates the anniversary of his song “Distance,” the lead single off his debut album Mammoth WVH.

“‘Distance’ released a year ago today,” Van Halen wrote. “It’s a special song for two very important reasons. A song commemorating my Pop and our bond, as well as being the very first Mammoth release. It marks the beginning of a new chapter in my life in more ways than one.”

“I never could’ve imagined the overwhelming outpour of responses from something so close to my heart. It blew me away,” he added. “I just wanted to take this moment to thank you all for listening and for the amazing support you’ve given me and Mammoth this past year. You have no idea how much it means to me. Thank you 🙏 . I hope you’re watching and I hope you’re still proud, Pop. I love and miss you more than you could ever know ❤️.”

Wolf Van Halen Said His Father Keeps Him Going

It hasn’t been easy to deal with his father’s cancer and then death, Van Halen admitted in an interview with People this June. But he knows that his father wouldn’t want him to ever give up.

“It’s really tough,” he told People. “I guess I’m a good actor when it comes to pretending that everything is okay. But it’s really not.”

“What really helps me keep going is my dad, because if I just gave up and stopped and crawled in a hole, which I feel like doing every day, I know he’d be really pissed off at me,” he added. “He’s the only thing that keeps me going.”

Van Halen remains somewhat in awe of his father, describing him as the “Mozart of our generation.” He said he expects people will remember his father centuries from now, as we know of Mozart today. As for himself? He always tries to follow his father’s advice, in music and in life.

“I’m an extension of him and I’m just happy to be here to spread the good word of who he was and how he should be remembered,” Van Halen said.

‘Distance’ Is Van Halen’s Attempt to Process His Father’s Death

Van Halen wrote “Distance” while his father’s health was declining and the end was growing near. In a state of dread, the younger Van Halen began imagining life without his father and what it would be like to miss him every day.

In “Distance,” Van Halen plays all the instruments and sings lead, per Rolling Stone. He cobbled together the music video from home movies, many shot by his mother Valerie Bertinelli.

The video ends on a poignant note, with a voicemail from his dad. “I’m just so happy to have you as my son, man,” the elder Van Halen says. “I’m so proud of you. I love you so much. Call me if you get a chance. I just want to hear your voice.”

Watch the music video for “Distance” here: