Mammoth WVH‘s band leader Wolfgang Van Halen and Dirty Honey‘s frontman Marc LaBelle have shared the lessons they learned while touring, which included a rule they both share.
During a Zoom interview with Ultimate Classic Rock, LaBelle said, “The number one thing for me—and this is just a motto about life as a musician—is just be great every night, and do your best every night, because people are spending their hard-earned cash to see you not suck, and even more than not suck, be amazing. People don’t have time for mediocre anymore, and if you are mediocre, then they’re going to trash you everywhere. But if you’re great, they’re gonna tell you, and they’re gonna tell all their friends that you’re great.”
He continued, “And from touring with guys like Slash and Myles Kennedy and the Black Crowes, they bring it every single night, and it’s really impressive to see that, and it’s something I want to take into my older age. Thirty years from now, hopefully we’re still doing this, and hopefully we’re still great at it. I think that’s important, and that’s the only thing you can really do as a musician, is leave a legacy of great songs, but also great performances.”
Van Halen chimed in and said, “You took the words out of my mouth. I think as a musician, you kind of cynically go, ‘Oh, we’re playing these songs over and over and over again.’ And personally, I’ve listened to this music so much for years before anybody has even heard it, so I was sick of it before it was even released. But the important thing to keep in perspective is that when you’re playing every night, it’s guaranteed to be somebody’s first time seeing that. And even though it’s your 500th time playing it, you have to make it like it’s the first time.”
He added, “So that really just kind of rolls off what Marc said. You really need to give your all. I think something I can improve on is I need to stop doubting myself so much. I’m hard on myself, and I feel like every single performance is awful. But then you see people going like, ‘Oh, man, that was great!’ So it’s like, ‘Okay, I guess that was good.’ So I just need to keep doing what I’m doing.”