Eddie Van Halen on Reinvention in Rock 'n' Roll

February 12, 2015

Eddie Van Halen on stageWhat makes rock 'n' roll quintessentially American? The answer may lie in our talent for innovation and reinvention—two subjects no one knows better than Eddie Van Halen. A Dutch immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen, Van Halen created an iconic American band—and kept it relevant for five decades by continually reinventing it. As a performer, songwriter, and inventor of instruments that allow musicians to make sound in new ways, he redefined how the guitar is played and designed. Is reinvention the definitive quality of the art of rock 'n' roll? Rock icon Van Halen discusses his American journey, and how he's reinvented himself, his band, and the way the guitar is played.

Panelist: Eddie Van Halen

Moderator: Denise Quan, music journalist with Rolling Stone

This event took place at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., produced in collaboration with Zócalo Public Square as part of the What It Means to Be American series.

View the archived webcast.