Wolfgang Van Halen’s solo band Mammoth WVH and fellow rising rockers Dirty Honey recently announced a co-headlining North American tour that kicks off in late January. In advance of the highly anticipated outing, Wolfgang and Dirty Honey singer Marc LaBelle caught up with Heavy Consequence via video Zoom to discuss the tour and much more.
The joint outing kicks off January 18th in Philadelphia, and runs through a March 5th show in Indio, California, with tickets available now via Ticketmaster.
Both acts released their self-titled debut albums earlier this year, and are coming off high-profile support slots. Mammoth WVH opened for Guns N’ Roses on their recently wrapped US tour, while Dirty Honey got things rolling for The Black Crowes during their stateside trek.
As Wolfgang tells us, it was a daunting task performing before the legendary GN’R. While he’s played big gigs before as a member of Van Halen, he explains, “It was sort of a trial by fire. You’re being thrown to the lions every night because the Guns audience, at least when we were on there, they would tell us they were notoriously not very receptive to openers. So when it started going really well, it was like, “Oh shit, we’re actually doing it!” Wolfgang also had the honor of performing “Paradise City” with GN’R at the last two shows of the tour, which he describes as “absolutely insane.”
LaBelle, meanwhile, admits it took a little while to feel comfortable opening for The Black Crowes. “The first show for me was just really uncomfortable … We came off a headlining tour where anywhere from a 1,000 people would come into a club knowing every song and singing every word, and then going to an amphitheater that’s maybe a quarter full … so that initial surge of energy that you normally feel walking out just isn’t there, and you have to figure out a way to fight through it. … Got some good advice after that first night about going out there and doing your thing and having fun. That little advice changed my mindset for the rest of the tour, and I wound up having a blast.”
For Wolfgang, the past year has been bittersweet. While he’s achieved great success with the release of the debut Mammoth WVH album, he’s been mourning the loss of his legendary father, Eddie Van Halen, who passed away in October 2020. As he tells us, it’s been a “mixed bag” of emotions. “While it’s overall an unbelievably humbling and incredible experience, it’ll never be where it could have been had my dad been here to witness it. But with everything going on, he’d be so f**king proud. He would just be so jazzed.”
With Dirty Honey highly influenced by ’70s classic rock, LaBelle weighs in on his love of Van Halen, telling us, “It’s one of my favorite bands. I had every one of the Van Halen records. I had two bands where I had their entire catalog: Aerosmith was one and Van Halen was the other. Van Halen I is one of my favorite records of all time.”
As a member of Van Halen, Wolfgang was bandmates with David Lee Roth, who recently announced that he would retire after his upcoming Las Vegas residency. Both Wolfgang and LaBelle weigh in on the Van Halen singer’s legacy, with Wolf remarking, “He’s f**king David Lee Roth. I’m so happy for him and everything he’s accomplished … He’ll always be one of the best.”
Elsewhere in the interview, Wolfgang and LaBelle tell us whether the wheels are turning on new music, as they each look to follow up their respective debut albums. And finally, they sign off with a message for Gene Simmons regarding his oft-claimed statement that “rock is dead.”
Watch our interview with Mammoth WVH’s Wolfgang Van Halen and Dirty Honey’s Marc LaBelle above, and pick up tickets to their co-headlining tour here.
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