Amid an outpouring of excitement over his upcoming solo debut, the usually private Wolfgang Van Halen is pulling the curtain back on the challenges of being in the second generation of one of rock's most iconic families.
Beyond his role as the bassist for Van Halen, Wolfgang is well known for eviscerating his many trolls online — and by god, there are a lot of them.
What Wolfgang did to these people no one knows.
What is clear is that Eddie Van Halen and Valerie Bertinelli seem to like Wolfgang a lot, and that just doesn't sit right with some folks.
While the 29-year-old's interactions with trolls are usually amusing, the frequency with which he bites back have some wondering if he spends too much time with the negativity.
Asked recently about why he's so intent on naming and shaming haters, Wolfie exchanged his sarcasm for insight.
"...I think after getting so much negative criticism my whole career from people who have already decided they don't like me, being able to turn people's negativity into sarcastic and funny jokes makes me happy and is almost therapeutic in a way," he wrote via Instagram. "So when people are like, 'Why do you give these [trolls] the time of day? Take the high road, don't do this to yourself, just ignore it!' or s--t like that, I feel like the comedy is just as much of a legit way of dealing with it, and it's the way I like to do it, so yeah. (And it's funny Instagram content. In my opinion, at least.) Thank you for coming to my TED talk."
Beyond being a quarter of one of the biggest bands in the world since he was a teenager, Wolfgang is a sought after session bassist, drummer and vocalist, having lent his talents to albums by Mark Tremonti and Clint Lowery, among others.
Wolfgang has been working on his solo album for at least five years.
Given all the hate he receives just for existing, it's understandable that he would be reluctant to put himself out there as a solo artist.
Replying to another question via Instagram, Wolfie explained that he grew over the past several years alongside his music. He stayed patient so he could be sure about how he was presenting himself as an artist in his own right.
"I discovered myself as an artist through the experience [of making the album]," he wrote. "A big part of why this has taken so long (other than recording way too many songs and working whenever my producer's busy schedule wasn't booked [Hurricane Irma actually got in the way of one session]) is that I was finding myself and figuring out how to operate as my own artist. I never went to college but this process certainly felt like it was my own personal version of college and I'm stronger for it."
While the state of the world has further complicated the release of his album, Wolfie's increased online activity suggests that something more substantial from his record is on the horizon.
He's added that he's prepared for a "wave of hate" when people realize his music doesn't sound like Van Halen, but he's used to it by now.
"I'm not trying to be my father," he said. "I'm trying to be me."
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