Whether or not you listen to Van Halen (the band), whether or not you like or appreciate their music, I think it is not debatable that Eddie Van Halen is one of the most influential guitarists in the past 40 years. His innovations run the space from playing techniques to innovations on the electric guitar itself.
His band has had its ups and downs and the recent reunion concerts with David Lee Roth (who never could sing very well) haven’t sounded that good but I always, always love to watch Eddie play. He has a huge grin on his face when he plays – you just know by watching that he loves playing and he loves performing more than anything. The fun he has is infectious!
Anyway, through happenstance I stumbled upon this interview with Eddie. It is an hour long talk at the Smithsonian and he spends a bunch of time talking about his background, growing up, immigrating to the US and being unable to understand English, his father, his work ethic, his friendship with Les Paul, etc. It’s really a fascinating talk, which includes some demos of his “style”.