With a new Van Halen album out, everyone has an opinion. Fine by me, because I have mine. But one writer has taken his displeasure over bassist Wolfgang Van Halen to levels that earn him a smack to the back of the head.
When you question quality of the songwriting and musicianship, it’s all well and good. If you’re a music critic, that’s your job.
But Martin Cizmar, former music critic at Phoenix New Times (he’s now at the Willamette Week in Portland, Oregon) makes personal attacks, specifically against Wolfgang, son of Edward Van Halen. Maybe I shouldn’t care because Cizmar wrote this article in 2010. His argument was that Wolfgang represents everything wrong with Millennials. Sarcasm is Cizmar’s thing, and I get that when reading this. But good sarcasm need not look like this:
First, let me say that, like most right-thinking people who’ve successfully avoided consuming any Chernobly Energy Drink in the vicinity of a hot tub, I don’t really give a shit whether the Van Halen brothers team up with their old singer David Lee Roth or not. I mean, seriously, is anyone expecting this to rock at all? The dudes are too old for Spandex and too proud to reinvent themselves as a bluegrass-y acoustic outfit, a la Robert Plant. So whatevs.
However, as both a taxpaying American citizen and professional critic of popular music, I am outraged by the band’s decision to fire original bassist Michael Anthony so that Eddie’s 19-year-old son, Wolfgang, can take his spot in the lineup.
Okay, look, I don’t know how to put this delicately, so I won’t try: “Wolfie,” the son of Eddie and his ex-wife, actress Valerie Bertinelli, is a fat little pig with bad skin who has no business being on stage with Van Halen. Letting him “play rock star” on huge stages is a travesty of embarrassing proportions. If VH wasn’t already in rock’s hall of fame I’d suggest they be banned, Pete Rose-style.
Can Wolfie play bass? Who cares? I’m sure he’s competent. Because, really, who can’t play bass? Fact: There are several trained apes playing bass in circus bands touring the country. They get way more chicks than Wolfie and they party way harder.
So why is Wolfie taking the place of a guy who was in the band for nearly 40 years? Because his daddy wants to pretend his special little son is talented or gifted or cool or whatever. Like those parents who sued their kids’ school for suspending them after they were busted with booze, Eddie wants to teach his son to have no respect for anyone or anything.
They call this the Age of Entitlement. I’m not sure The Bubonic Plague II would be worse. It seems that when you’re a Baby Boomer with money or power, your goal is to teach your asshat children to show nothing but utter contempt for your fellow man and the rules and standards that govern polite society. It’s a horrible thing to see.
What a jerk.
I don’t know Wolfgang, but neither does this guy. I don’t care what he looks like, but it apparently means a lot to Cizmar, who has written a how-to-lose-weight book called “Chubster.”
I agree when he says a lot of parents today are out of control, spoiling their children and not teaching them responsibility and respect. But that’s always been a problem. He writes about this like it’s some new crack in America’s superior armor. There are good parents and bad parents. It’s always been that way and always will be.
I haven’t seen much from Wolfgang in terms of quotes in articles. Since he comes across as quiet, how would Cizmar know if Wolfgang lacked respect for his fellow man? And how could he possibly know what Edward Van Halen’s parental motivations are?
My uninformed opinion is that Wolfgang’s addition to the band is what probably saved it — the younger Van Halen inspiring his dad to put the bottle down and get back to work.
Whatever the case may be, I think Cizmar is the real “asshat” of this tale.