Eddie Van Halen spoke on Thursday, February 12 at L.A.'s Smithsonian's National Museum Of American History and Zocalo Public Square as part of the ongoing "What It Means To Be American" program. The Dutch-born Van Halen discussed his American journey, "his role in creating one of the biggest American rock bands of all time, how he has reinvented the way the guitar is played and designed, and he answered the question, "Is rock 'n' roll about reinvention?" Entertainment journalist Denise Quan moderated the sold-out event, video footage of which can now be seen below.
According to the event's press release for the event, Van Halen and Fender donated a master-built replica of Van Halen's infamous white-with-black-stripe Stratocaster. This is the guitar that changed the guitar world in 1978 when Van Halen cross-pollinated Gibson electronics with Fender body and neck designs. To represent the path of progressions in his instrument designs, a Stealth finished EVH Brand Wolfgang was also included to represent his modern-day workhorse.
In addition to the guitars, Van Halen and Fender Musical Instruments Corp. also donated an EVH Brand 5150-III amplifier and speaker cabinet to showcase Van Halen's electronic growth and musical gear over the decades.
Eddie Van Halen told The Pulse Of Radio a while back that most of VAN HALEN's music stems from jam sessions with drummer and brother Alex. "What I do on any record is I basically lock myself up in the studio with my brother, and we jam, and whatever comes out is what we [laughs] use," he said. "And a lot of the stuff we, we don't use, 'cause it's not good [laughs]. But the good stuff we keep, and we just carry on from there."
VAN HALEN will release its first live album with singer David Lee Roth on March 31. "Tokyo Dome Live In Concert" was recorded on June 21, 2013 at the Tokyo Dome in Japan and features 23 songs taken from all seven albums the band has recorded with Roth on the mic, including 2012's reunion effort, "A Different Kind Of Truth". The set will be available digitally, as well as in double-CD and four-LP formats.
VAN HALEN's only previous live offering, "Live: Right Here, Right Now", was released in 1993 and featured vocalist Sammy Hagar, who replaced Roth in the band after the latter first left in 1985.
VAN HALEN reinvented the sound of hard rock in 1978 with its influential and wildly successful eponymous debut album and then achieved ever greater success six years later with 1984. Both albums would define a generation while selling more than 10 million copies each in the U.S. alone to earn diamond-certification from the RIAA. The band recently went back to the original analog tapes and remastered both of these landmark albums — "Van Halen" and "1984" — which are now also set for release on March 31 through Warner Bros..