The legendary Eddie Van Halen will appear at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History on Thursday, Feb. 12, in Washington D.C., to headline an event as part of the national “What It Means to Br American” program.
The three-year initiative is aimed at engaging leading public thinkers and Americans in all walks of life to explore how the nation has become what it is today.
Van Halen, a Dutch immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen, will discuss his career and even donate some of the instruments he innovated over the years.
In light of the program, Van Halen sat down with The Associated Press and looked back on his family’s determination once landing in America and his career.
“We showed up here with the equivalent of $50 and a piano,” Van Halen said. “We came halfway around the world without money, without a set job, no place to live and couldn’t even speak the language.
“What saved us was my father being a musician and slowly meeting other musicians and gigging on weekends, everything from weddings to you name it to make money.”
The rest is history, as Van Halen became once of the most influential musicians in history and continues to create groundbreaking music and instruments.
“What more could you ask for to be recognized as being part of having contributed to change, you know? … All I can say is only in America,” he added.
To read the full interview, click here.