Mammoth

Album: Mammoth WVH (2021)
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Songfacts®:

  • A mammoth is a prehistoric creature much like an elephant, but with bigger tusks. The word is also used to describe something really big. It's significant in Van Halen lore because that was their original band name.

    When Wolfgang Van Halen, son of the guitar god Eddie Van Halen, started working on his first solo project in 2015, he called it "Mammoth WVH" in tribute. This song ties into that theme, but the word "mammoth" shows up just once in the lyric:

    You've found the way
    A mammoth weight
    right off our shoulders


    In a Songfacts interview with Wolfgang Van Halen, he explained: "'Mammoth' was one of the first ideas written for the project in mind. The demo title was 'Mammoth 1.' So, I cheekily squeezed the word 'mammoth' into the bridge so I felt comfortable enough calling the song 'Mammoth.'"
  • The song is not about an actual mammoth. "It's about anxiety and depression," Wolfgang told Songfacts. The chorus is very encouraging:

    Anything is possible
    You're not the only one
    Let 'em think you're unremarkable
    And prove them wrong


    "I guess it's some sort of mantra to convince myself to keep going and convince anybody else to keep going when they're doubting themselves," he said. "It was really the song that defined the core sound of what the project was moving forward. So, it was an important one in the writing process."
  • The Mammoth WVH album was produced by Michael "Elvis" Baskette. They first worked together when Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti brought them both in for his band Tremonti - Baskette handled production and Van Halen bass. It was during these sessions that Baskette learned Van Halen could do more than play bass: He saw Wolfgang hit the drums and play the guitar like a boss. And, he could sing.

    Indeed, on Mammoth WVH Wolfgang played all the instruments and did all the vocals. When he toured to support it as opening act for Guns N' Roses, he put this band together:

    Ronnie Ficarro: bass
    Jon Jourdan: guitar
    Frank Sidoris: guitars
    Garret Whitlock: drums

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