I was waiting for a blow out from The Grammys to ignite and overnight it happened with Eddie Van Halen‘s son Wolfgang sending a message about the ceremony’s insulting tribute of his father’s legacy in Van Halen, you know, that internationally recognised band who inspired thousands to pick up a guitar and start their own bands.
Eddie, who passed away in October 2020 (age 65), was featured for only 15 seconds during the ceremony’s ‘In Memoriam’ tribute, which, when you think about it, is a massive slap in the face for someone who left behind a legacy like he did. It turns out not only did we feel the same way, but Eddie’s son had some choice, yet professional words to say about the snub.
In a post on his Instagram, Wolf explained what a lot of us feel (in terms of not giving a shit about something that doesn’t give a shit about us), but also he expressed his interested in opening a conversation about rock music and why it’s important to mentions and not shy away from because it’s “not as big” as they say it is:
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.
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.
This year, we finally saw a heavy musician perform on stage for the world when Poppy debuted her new song ‘EAT‘. Body Count won the Grammy for Best Metal Performance too, but hopefully, this is just the start of a worldwide movement to include heavier music (not just rock) in mainstream celebrations moving forward, especially when they claim to support ALL genres of music (like the ARIAs).
You might remember, when we spoke with Parkway Drive‘s Winston McCall at Good Things Festival 2019, he explained to us that he wishes one day, heavy music would be considered on an equal platform for Album of the Year categories, alongside genres like pop, country and folk:
My dream… in that regard would be when like ‘Best Album in Australia’ (category) comes around, something that sounds like we sound is now considered on equal platform to pop (and) that you don’t even have to have a Hard Rock and Metal Category, it’s just like ‘this Australian band put out a great album and so did this country band and so did this folk band, so did this pop band..’.”
Back in 2018, we penned this op:ed piece about the ARIAs’ lack of inclusion for all music (in particular heavy metal) which was allocated a mere 6 seconds of airtime when announcing who had won the award that night (FYI it was Parkway’s Reverence who took out the gong). Parkway Drive drummer Ben Gordon‘s touched on this subject during his speech (which didn’t air on tv, just via social media) revealing:
“Thank you ARIA for including this category because it deserves to be here. Australian metal bands and heavy metal is killing it at the moment overseas, bands are selling out venues all over Europe and headlining festivals, there’s many [Australian] bands killing it. So it should be acknowledged and recognised.”
We truly hope this is the start of something…
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