Eddie Van Halen's son has confirmed that he was asked to pay musical tribute to his father at this year's Grammy Awards but that he declined.
The legendary VAN HALEN axeman was included in Sunday night's "In Memoriam" segment at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards, where The Recording Academy paid tribute to musicians who died in the past year. At one point in the segment, Eddie Van Halen's name flashed across the screen over a 20-second archival clip of the virtuoso playing a live "Eruption" solo while a spotlight shone on his iconic Frankenstrat.
Not long after the section aired, a number of fellow musicians blasted The Recording Academy for its subdued treatment of Van Halen, with former VAN HALEN singer Gary Cherone tweeting: "Maybe an Artist that reimagined how one plays an instrument, who continues to influence generations of musicians and, literally changed the course of rock 'n' roll deserves more than fifteen seconds at the Grammys?"
Earlier today, Wolfgang Van Halen, who replaced Michael Anthony as VAN HALEN's bassist in 2007, issued a statement criticizing the way his father was honored at the event and explaining why he decided against participating in the tribute. He wrote: "The Grammys asked me to play 'Eruption' for the 'In Memoriam' section and I declined. I don't think anyone could have lived up to what my father did for music but himself.
"It was my understanding that there would be an 'In Memoriam' section where bits of songs were performed for legendary artists that had passed. I didn't realize that they would only show Pop for 15 seconds in the middle of 4 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. 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.
"I'm not looking to start some kind of hate parade here, I just wanted to explain my side. I know Pop would probably just laugh it off and say 'Ehh who gives a shit?' He was only about the music anyway. The rest didn't matter.
"I'd love to get the opportunity to speak with The Recording Academy not only about the legacy of my father, but the legacy of the Rock genre moving forward.
The Recording Academy regularly comes under fire for failing to include musicians who died in the past year, largely due to the time limitations of the broadcast. More than 800 names were considered for inclusion this year, according to Variety. On its web site, The Recording Academy included all of those names on a more comprehensive list, noting that the televised "In Memoriam" segment is meant to only highlight some of the artists who died this year, not necessarily all.
Eddie passed away in October at the age of 65.
VAN HALEN was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 2007.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked Eddie Van Halen No. 8 in its list of the 100 greatest guitarists.
— Wolf Van Halen (@WolfVanHalen) March 15, 2021
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