VAN HALEN bassist Wolfgang Van Halen made his first two appearances as part of CREED/ALTER BRIDGE guitarist Mark Tremonti‘s solo band on Tuesday (September 11) and Wednesday (September 12) as Tremonti kicked off his headlining stint on the annual HardDrive Live tour, presented by HardDrive Radio. Tuesday night’s gig took place at Rock Junction in West Greenwich, Rhode Island, while Wednesday night found the group at Highline Ballroom in New York City.
Tremonti introduced Van Halen to the New York crowd by saying, “48 hours ago, he had no idea he was going to do this show. In 24 hours he picked up the entire album.” In a statement released on Thursday (September 13) confirming that he’ll be on the entire tour, Van Halen said, “I am excited to be joining the band and playing this incredible music with some of my best friends in the business.”
Van Halen is replacing Tremonti‘s bandmate from CREED and ALTER BRIDGE, Brian Marshall, who is sitting out the Tremonti trek for undisclosed personal reasons.
Speaking to Artisan News prior to the New York City gig (see video below), Tremonti said about how Van Halen came to be involved with the tour, “It was an amazing turn of events. We had no time to rehearse for this tour. We were just gonna roll right into it. We were gonna get together at our buddies’… EVE TO ADAM was another band that was on tour with us with CREED, and they were nice enough to say, ‘You can use our rehearsal pad.’ So we rushed into the rehearsal pad. And that day, Brian had something personal come up and he was, like, ‘Man, I’m really sorry, I can’t do the tour.’ And we were just kind of like, ‘Ahh… I love you, man, but, man, this is really bad timing.’ And these guys kind of whispered to me, ‘Wolfgang is in town with the SEVENDUST guys, just rocking in the studio with them.’ So I immediately called him and he was, like, ‘Hey, how’re you doing, buddy?’ I was, like, ‘Not so good.’ [laughs] So I said, ‘Brian can’t do the tour and I heard you’re around. What do you think?’ And he’s, like, ‘Are you kidding me?'”
Added Wolfgang, “It was just so perfect the way this mysteriously worked out. I just happened to have all of my bass equipment — like, everything — just ready to go.”
Tremonti contined, “He already knew a handful of the songs, knew the record from listening to it, but picked them up, like… He learns ten times faster than I can learn.”
Said Wolfgang, “We rehearsed at midnight the day before the first show [laughs] — just ran through every song once, and that was it.”
Mark added, “Our first show last night, I introduced everybody and I said, ‘Wolfgang Van Halen,’ and I told them the story about how 24 hours prior to this, he had no idea this was happening and we are on stage together right now, and the crowd immediately started [chanting] ‘Wolfgang! Wolfgang!'”
Tremonti played every cut from his debut solo album, “All I Was”, and did not air any material from either of his other acts.
Wolfgang Van Halen‘s dad, Eddie Van Halen, is currently recuperating from emergency intestinal surgery, which will keep the VAN HALEN band off the road until early 2013.
TREMONTI will begin the major portion of the tour on September 20 in Flint, Michigan.