Wolfgang Van Halen Returned Lost Element to Guns N’ Roses Song
When Wolfgang Van Halen was invited to guest with Guns N’ Roses on tour in October, he spent as much time as he could rehearsing on his tour bus – and wound up returning a lost element to “Paradise City.”
He’d been asked to take part in the closing song at two shows as Axl Rose’s group ended their road trip with Van Halen’s band Mammoth WVH. As a result, he found himself focusing intently on the guitar part played by Izzy Stradlin on the original recording.
“I just holed up on the bus in any free time, and I learned just perfectly,” he told Consequence in a recent interview (video below). “There were moments where I only listened to the right side of the headphones to hear Izzy’s part, so I could play it literally perfect.”
He said he’d aimed to have the part “so ingrained” because they’d only have “one little soundcheck” to rehearse before the first performance. “I didn't know that they wanted me to do backing vocals too,” he continued. “[A]s we did it, I just started singing the high harmony that I always hear at the beginning of the song – I didn't realize that they hadn't been doing that the whole time.” He added: “Afterward, Duff [McKagan] was like, ‘Oh, yeah, there’s harmony there, isn’t there? That sounds great, man!’ It was like, ‘Okay, I think this will be alright!’”
Van Halen has previously discussed how he’s frequently criticized after being compared to his late father, Eddie. In the interview he cited another example – that of the fact that he took several years to complete his debut album, while bands like Van Halen seemed to churn records out in their early years. “People like to harken back to that era and compare it to today, but there's no comparison,” he said.
“I was taking my time and living life and figuring out who I was making the first album. People love to throw that in my face. It’s like, ‘Well, when your dad was your age, he had already done three albums.’ … We're completely different fucking people; we operate differently.” He continued: “And also, that was lightning in a bottle. Look at the Beatles: they only were around for that small amount of time, and they got all that shit done. That's because they're fucking legends – that's not normal!"
Watch Wolfgang Van Halen’s Consequence Interview