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“Don’t Back Down,” indeed: Wolfgang Van Halen talks “incredibly validating” success of “Distance” follow-up

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Credit: Bryan Beasley

Mammoth WVH had a, well, mammoth year on the Billboard charts.

After hitting the top spot on the Mainstream Rock Airplay tally early in 2021 with “Distance,” Wolfgang Van Halen‘s solo project earned a second number-one hit with the follow-up single “Don’t Back Down” over the fall. Given the emotional weight behind “Distance,” which was released in late 2020 as a tribute to Wolf’s late father, Eddie Van Halen, seeing “Don’t Back Down” stand on its own felt “incredibly validating” for the Mammoth frontman.

“I think with ‘Distance,’ to see the reaction was incredible,” Wolf tells ABC Audio. “But I think it could be argued by detractors that it be a bit of a fluke, considering the subject matter and everything kind of surrounding it.”

The success of “Don’t Back Down,” Wolf says, proved those detractors wrong.

“That people enjoyed [‘Don’t Back Down’] enough for it to go number one like that, I couldn’t believe it,” Wolf shares. “It was a incredibly validating thing that I really gave me a lot of confidence in my own personal career, that I’m on the right track.”

If you caught any of Mammoth’s run opening for Guns N’ Roses over the summer, you probably saw Mammoth begin their set with “Don’t Back Down,” which Wolf feels has a certain “arena vibe.”

“It’s something that everybody can kind of just feel the energy of, and it’s quick to pick up on,” Wolf says. “You don’t really have to pay immediate, searing attention to it to get all the nuances.”

“You can just have a beer and go nuts and scream and have a good time,” he laughs.

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to do just that on Mammoth’s co-headlining Young Guns tour with Dirty Honey, kicking off January 2022.

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