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Eddie Van Halen was one of the greatest guitarists to ever pick up the instrument, but he also might be one of the most fascinating figures in rock history.

Back in February 2015, EVH took part in the Smithsonian series “What It Means To Be American.” 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. Also, you’ll learn how and why he came up with certain playing techniques, which countless guitarists have imitated in years since.

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 who sadly passed away one year ago today (October 6) at the age of 65 following a bout with cancer.

Van Halen: Their 30 Best Songs, Ranked

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