Eddie Van Halen's son wishes his father would have been remembered with more than just "15 seconds" during the 2021 GRAMMYs on Sunday night. In a message on Instagram on Monday, Wolfgang Van Halen expressed his disappointment over how his father was honored during the show.
"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," he wrote.
As Wolfgang explained, he was under the impression that "bits of songs" would be performed during the "In Memoriam" segment in honor of legendary artists who had died. "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," he said.
"What hurt the most was that he wasn’t even mentioned when they talked about artists we lost in the beginning of the show," he continued. "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," he shared. "I know Pop would probably just laugh it off and say 'Ehh who gives a sh*t?' He was only about the music anyway. The rest didn’t matter."
Wolfgang concluded his message by sharing his hope to speak with the Recording Academy about the legacy of his father and rock music moving forward.
Eddie died on Oct. 6, following a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 65.
In a November interview with ET, Wolfgang, 29, said it would be "impossible" to step into his father's shoes. Wolfgang previously played bass for Van Halen.
“No way. That’ll never happen,” Wolfgang said. “I think a message to the Van Halen fans [would be that] some things just really suck. I don't have a dad anymore and I have to figure out how to process that and deal with it. And, that's the process that Van Halen fans need to go through and realize that you can't have the band anymore without Eddie Van Halen. The music will live on forever, but you can't have [the band] without him. Impossible.”
"My dad would probably be really pissed off at me if I [took his place,]" Wolfgang added. "He'd probably be like, ‘What are you doing playing my stuff? Go do your stuff.’ He would've been really upset, like, ‘You have all this music you're sitting on. Why wouldn't you go forward with that?'"
Reflecting on his father’s incredible career, Wolfgang said he believed his legacy will be as "the Mozart of our generation."
"I think the way we look back at people like Mozart and Beethoven -- you put that amount of time ahead of us and I think people will still be looking back at him," he shared. "[The way he played] was amazing. It rubbed off on me because that's all I wanted to do. That's all I'm going to do -- play music."