Today (January 26) is Eddie Van Halen’s birthday, and while he’s one of the greatest guitarists to ever pick up the instrument, he also might be one of the most fascinating figures in rock history.

Eddie Van Halen took part in the Smithsonian series “What It Means To Be American” back in February 2015. He sat down for an interview for nearly an hour discussing how he came to America as a young boy and the obstacles he and his brother, Alex, had to overcome as immigrants.

The entire interview is embedded below, and if you haven’t seen it yet, it will likely give you a whole new appreciation for the legendary guitarist.  Also, you’ll learn how and why he came up with certain playing techniques, which countless guitarists have imitated over the years.


Van Halen and Other Band Origin Stories

Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well-versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice. #TransRightsAreHumanRights