Grammy Producer Responds to Comments About Eddie Van Halen Tribute
After many have expressed disappointment about the Grammys' brief Eddie Van Halen 'In Memoriam' clip this past weekend, including his son Wolfgang Van Halen, Grammy executive producer Ben Winston has responded to the comments.
Wolfgang Van Halen shared a statement on social media earlier this week about the tribute, and how it "hurt" him because it didn't seem to fully respect the legacy of his father. He had been asked by the Recording Academy if he wanted to play "Eruption" in his dad's honor, but the Mammoth WVH leader declined.
"We had a call with Wolfgang's rep before the show, and I asked 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," Winston explained to Variety.
"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," he continued.
"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."
The guitar virtuoso and his signature Frankenstrat had a couple of seconds in the spotlight during the 'In Memoriam' segment, but Eddie Trunk and some rock musicians took to social media to voice their dismay with how it played out. Fozzy's Chris Jericho went as far as to threaten the academy to never nominate his band for an award.
Note: Variety originally quoted Ben Winston inaccurately stating he had spoken with Wolfgang Van Halen; he actually spoke with a rep for Wolfgang Van Halen. The quote has been corrected above.