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GRAMMY Producer Defends VAN HALEN Tribute As "Appropriate"

"I would have loved for it to be longer than it was."


The GRAMMYs came and went this year without doing the rock and metal world justice as usual, though the lack of tribute to Eddie Van Halen really set a lot of people off. Eddie's son Wolfgang then revealed that GRAMMYs did ask him to perform the "Eruption" guitar solo to honor his father, but Wolfgang didn't think he would have lived up to the expectation.

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Now in an interview with Variety, GRAMMY executive producer Ben Winston has defended the tribute given to Eddie as totally appropriate.

"We had a call with [a rep for] Wolfgang before the show, and I asked him if he'd be willing to come on and play. He felt he didn't really want to do that, and I offered up eight or nine guitarists who maybe could. But instead, he felt like we should play a video of Eddie himself, because nobody could play like him, so that's what we did."

"I would have loved for it to be longer than it was, but Eddie was the only person in the whole 'In Memoriam' to play their own music, with no other faces being seen. I felt that was an appropriate tribute to him, but if Wolfgang didn't, I'm sorry about that, of course.

"It's such a horrific thing to lose a parent. We did the best that we felt we could."

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Previously, Wolfgang commented:

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.

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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.

Thank you.

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