‘Eddie Van Halen’s son looks like Peppermint Patty. There’s no getting around it. I wish things could be different. As do, presumably, fans of Van Halen. This week, the long-beleaguered pop-metal behemoth disembalms original singer David Lee Roth for what is surely the Chinese Democracy of reunion tours, a long-threatened and oft-aborted rehash of those early-’80s glory years, before jovial, tequila-hawking asshat Sammy Hagar took over and turned the band into wusstastic chart-toppers. The Rothian diehards are (cautiously) elated. But the thorn on this particular rose lies in the absence of beloved bassist Michael Anthony, the bearlike dude with the Mickey Mouse watch collection and (lasciviously) angelic harmonies, kicked to the curb for I’m sure just totally rational reasons and replaced by . . . Eddie Van Halen’s son. His name is Wolfgang. He is 16 years old. And in fascinating rehearsal pics released last week, choogling merrily behind the pleasantly emaciated Roth and his own terrifyingly emaciated father, Wolfgang looks well-fed, looks content, looks beatific, looks like Peppermint Patty.
‘This is far from the most ludicrous and offensive bullshit reunion maneuver a rock band has ever foisted on its horrified fans. No iconic, dead frontmen replaced via reality show, etc. Doesn’t even make the Top 20. Yet Wolfgang’s promotion has the distinct, surrealist, forehead- slapping ring of Van Halen and Van Halen alone, a band that for nearly 30 years has mingled thrilling debauchery (the libidinous Roth years), wild success (Hagar’s lucrative but frequently banal string of four straight No. 1 albums), and breathtaking innovation (Eddie’s violent six-string virtuosity throughout). Unfortunately, just as resonant lately are the bitterly acrimonious disasters