After every performance, Wolfgang Van Halen can be found pointing to the sky. He says that's a salute to his late father, Eddie Van Halen – and he has an emotional reason for continuing this tradition.

The younger Van Halen now fronts his own solo project, dubbed Mammoth WVH, after a stint in Van Halen with his dad from 2006-2020. Eddie Van Halen died that year after a battle with cancer.

Regularly paying tribute to him, even if it's only through a simple gesture, remains vitally important to Wolfgang.

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"The reason I do what I do is because of my dad," Van Halen tells People magazine. "So if I didn't or at least think about him throughout the process, I'd be doing a disservice to my existence. So, I think it's very important to establish that to thank my dad every night, every time I'm on stage – just to thank my father and to know that he's always there with me every night."

These tributes don't extend to regularly covering the songs he played with Eddie as part of Van Halen. Instead, he's forged his own path with Mammoth WVH.

"I'm happy to be able to prove myself," Van Halen said on the Talk Is Jericho. "The important key distinction is that I'm not doing what my dad did. I'm my own person; I'm my own musician. … It's why I don’t play any Van Halen music or have a plan to play Van Halen music during my sets."

Why Mammoth WVH Doesn't Cover Van Halen

Van Halen memorably covered "You Really Got Me," "(Oh) Pretty Woman," "Where Have All the Good Times," and "Dancing in the Street," but that wasn't necessarily Eddie's idea. "It kind of bummed me out that [producer] Ted [Templeman] wanted our first single to be someone else's tune," he admitted to Guitar World in 1982.

He passed that reluctance onto Wolfgang.

"Even my dad hated doing covers back in the day," Van Halen said. "His quote resonates with me all the time, where he says: 'I'd rather bomb with my own music than succeed with somebody else's' – and that’s exactly how I feel about playing Van Halen music. I'd much rather fail on my own than succeed heartlessly by playing 'Panama.'"

A notable exception happened last year when Wolfgang performed a trio of Van Halen songs – including "Hot for Teacher," "On Fire" and, yes, "Panama" – during tribute concerts for Taylor Hawkins. But Van Halen said the timing was right.

"It was wonderful. It was the exception where it was like, this would be the time to do it," Van Halen later admitted. "Taylor was such a huge fan, and to get my own satisfaction of doing a direct Van Halen tribute for dad, it felt like the right thing to do in that moment. I'm really proud of it."

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