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LAS VEGAS, NV - MAY 17: Guitarist Eddie Van Halen of Van Halen performs during the 2015 Billboard Music Awards at MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 17, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

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.

EVH took part in the Smithsonian series “What It Means To Be American” back in February 2015 where 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, not to mention you’ll learn how and why he came up with certain playing techniques, which countless guitarist after him are imitating to this day.

Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.

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