Mammoth WVH is a band founded by Wolfgang Van Halen. While playing live there is a full band. However, in the studio all parts are written and recorded solely by Wolf. It is the way he is a multi-instrumentalist studio musician producing in a style close to mine that inspired me beyond anyone else.
I began my solo music project, Cadence Cycle, back in early 2020 as the Covid pandemic took effect. I was isolated, depressed, and used music to pull myself out of the funk. At the time, I couldn’t put my finger on anyone who was doing what I wanted to do. My inspiration came in chunks from people who were doing some things like me, but were heading in different directions. Nobody seemed to record all instruments themselves and write music in a modern rock style rooted in classic flavor. Then I watched the music video for Don’t Back Down by Mammoth WVH when it came out around March of 2021.
I loved everything about the video and music. The way each member of the band including audio techs was a clone of Wolf hit home for me. He is a single person doing everything. That’s what I do and his music sounds better than mine. “Finally”, I thought, “someone I can truly pull inspiration from. People are still making amazing music today.”. My creative inspiration hit and I had target to work towards. I wasn’t alone despite pandemic-era isolation.
I was born in 1992, and rock music seemed to be fizzling out as I joined the world. The mid 80s-90s had some cool rock music such as the stuff coming out of Seattle or the HORDE if your into jam bands. However, hip-hop and electronic styles started taking over the music industry and it didn’t seem like people cared about guitar solos or head banging. Not to take a jab at those styles - I enjoy all styles and they have their place - but rock was noticeably dying out.
Fast forward to 2020 and you seem to have a push to keep rock music alive. You have people who make modern rock with a classic flavor - people who don’t shy away from modern advances in technology but keep the rock feel at the front of what they do. These people aren’t recreating the past, but are keeping the energy of rock alive. This is what I want to do and I salute anyone who is onboard this ship. Wolf is one of these people.
“Dad would rather people not try and sound like him but sound like themselves. I’m being myself - I’m not sitting there doing covers of Panama” - Wolfgang Van Halen
Wolf has his own voice with Mammoth WVH. He isn’t recreating the past and relishes in his own musical vision.
I hope to take influence from Wolf in my own music. I love the drum grooves and tempo. The guitar tone has a nice rumble, probably from an overdriven tube, but it isn’t overly distorted to the point you can’t hear which note is being played. The riffs get my head bobbing up and down without thinking about doing so. Each song has unique lyrics that I relate to in different ways. Vocals have deep strength and power but don’t enter into the realm of over zealous falsetto arena rock. Everything connects to convey a unique vibe and artistic message.
This is the new era of rock music, and I’m loving it. Other bands/musicians I’ve noticed taking their music in a similar direction include Slash, Dirty Honey, Joyous Wolf, Foo Fighters, Pearl Jam, Alter Bridge, Goodbye June, The Winery Dogs, etc.. Maybe some shouldn’t be on that list and others should be added, but oh well. That’s what I came up with at the time of writing this blog post. The difference with Mammoth WVH is Wolf plays all instruments on studio recordings. I am also a multi-instrumentalist studio musician and hope one day my music can hang with his. One day, but there is much progress to be made until then.
Here is the music video for Don’t Back Down, which put Mammoth WVH on my radar. It hit home for me, and I hope it does for you too.